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Opinion

Wander women team of the decade

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Roar Guru
4th October, 2021
13

With the Western Sydney Wanderers embarking on season X in 2021-22, as part of the celebrations, the club has asked for fans to vote for their A-League Men’s Team of the Decade.

While names like Shinji Ono, Ante Covic, Tomi Juric and Youseff Hersi are all part of Wanderer folklore, and will likely feature in the Men’s Team of the Decade, it is worthwhile remembering the A-League Women have also been around for ten years.

In fact, former Matilda and dual Best and Fairest Winner Servet Uzunlar had the distinction of scoring the club’s first two goals ever. This feat came against Adelaide United on 20 October 2012 in the Wander Women’s first ever match at Burton Park. Mark Bridge scored the men’s first goal a week later in Brisbane, in a Round 4 A-League Men’s clash.

While the Wander Women haven’t tasted a lot of success – only one finals appearance in 2019-20 – there have been a number of players who have donned the Red and Black, who have distinguished themselves in the women’s game.

Picking the best women’s team over the past ten years is no easy feat and is very much a subjective exercise.

However, to ensure we pay due respects to the fabulous group of women who have represented the club, it’s only fair we consider a Wander Women’s Team of the Decade.

This is the opinion of but one fan, and hopefully the club runs a vote to allow the wider fan-base to have their say.

Goalkeeper
Jada Whyman – A popular figure among Wanderer’s fans, Whyman won the Member’s Player of the Year twice in a row in 2017-18 and 2018-19.

She won the Wanderers Medal in 2017-18 as well after an excellent season.

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Whyman was at Wanderland for five years and played 35 games. She was rewarded for excellence with spots in the Junior Matildas and Young Matildas squad.

Although she ventured into enemy territory last season, still an outstanding player and person the Wanderers should be proud they helped develop.

Defenders
Courtney Nevin
A local girl with a lethal left foot.

Nevin can run all day and is known for her well timed tackles. She earned her nickname ‘Lethal’ thanks to her devastating left foot which can deliver bombs into the penalty area.

Nevin played three seasons at Wanderland and earned herself her first Matildas cap this year. She featured at the recent Tokyo Olympics albeit in a limited capacity. She will be a prominent member though of the 2023 World Cup squad on home soil.

Nevin won the Wanderers Medal for Player of the Year in 2019-20, and as mentioned, it was the only season the club made finals.

Caitlin Cooper
Cooper is the Wander Women’s games records holder with 69.

Cooper has been a stalwart in defence and is known for her bravery when taking on opponents. She can also bob up for a goal now and then.

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The former Matilda led from the front last season and won the Wanderers Medal. She will prove vital in season 10 as she guides the future generations.

Servet Uzunlar
Captain Servet only played 24 games for the Wander Women but boy did she make them count.

A tough defender who had an uncanny knack for reading the opposition and making uncompromising tackles.

She won the club’s first ever Wanderers Medal before clinching her second in her final season in 2018-19.

Her two goals in Adelaide will ensure she is always part of club folklore.

Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Serves Uzunlar

Western Sydney Wanderers midfielder Servet Uzunlar (Photo by Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Ellie Carpenter
Carpenter started her career as a 14-year-old for the Wanderers.

A speedy defender who can turn defence into attack very quickly.

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Despite being a teenager still, Carpenter has already won 50 caps for Australia, playing in a World Cup and two Olympics.

Carpenter has gone on to play in Europe for Olympique Lyonnais and is set for a spectacular career.

Midfielders
Erica Halloway – The fiercely loyal Halloway is one of the fan favourites.

Seeing her fly down the wings is a sight to behold. A player that always tracks back in defence as well as provides a key link to attack.

Her chaos balls into the box can cause plenty of problems for opposition defences.

Has had her fair share of injuries the past two seasons but it shouldn’t take away from what she has done over the course of 50 plus W-League games in the Red and Black.

Halloway won the Wanderers Medal in 2015-16 in her debut season. She will be important in season 10.

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Heather Garriock
A Matilda legend and local girl.

Born and raised in Campbelltown, Garriock was the perfect choice to be inaugural captain.

She missed a big chunk of the Wanderer’s maiden season with injury but came back in the second half of the year.

Blessed with a sweet left foot and a determination to win, Garriock led from the front in the club’s infancy years as they tried it build and identity.

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Wanderer’s fans only saw her towards the end of her career, and she only played eight games for the club, but her experience on and off the field was key in building the foundations.

Ella Mastrantonio
Only played one season but the ‘Maestro’ was outstanding.

Labelled by then coach Dean Heffernan as one of the most technically gifted players in Australia, Mastrantonio added some much needed class to the Wanderers midfield in 2019-20.

Her experience and work rate, as well as the knack to find the right pass, helped feed the likes of Lynn Williams and Kristen Hamilton and went a long way to the Wander Women securing their first ever finals appearance.

Denise O’Sullivan
Only played seven games but they were perhaps the best seven games ever played by a Wander Woman.

Her guest appearance in 2019-20 was unfortunately short, and when she left, the Wanderers struggled before eventually stumbling into the Finals.

The Irish international was simply superb that season and despite playing only seven games, is probably the best player to ever pull on the Wanderer’s jersey.

An aggressive player who can win the ball, has the temperament to control the play, the intelligence to make a good decision and the technique to execute the right move.

O’Sullivan is the complete package and it was a great shame she didn’t play more games in the Red andamp; Black.

She did promise she’d be back one day though…

Forwards
Kristen Hamilton

The Wanderer’s first ever League Golden Boot winner and Dolan Medallist.

Hamilton was outstanding in her sole season in 2019-20 with seven goals in 12 games.

Along with Lynn Williams, she was dangerous up forward throughout, working well with Ella Mastrantonio and Denise O’Sullivan in the middle.

Had the ability to score from long range as well as position herself to get easier opportunities.

Lynn Williams
A beautiful player to watch.

She always glides on the pitch and the ball seems to stick to her boot like a magnet.

We only saw her play five games and net four goals, but she always looked dangerous and likely to score when she got the ball.

Her ability to teach youngsters like Cortnee Vine and Kyra Cooney-Cross was vital in the 2019-20 season.

Just like O’Sullivan, Hamilton and Mastrantonio, we didn’t get to see Williams in a Red andamp; Black jersey anywhere near long enough.

Subs
Teigan Allen – The former Matilda is back for season 10.

Catherine Cannuli – Our all time leading goalscorer with eight.

Sarah Walsh – Another local girl from Campbelltown.

Linda O’Neill – Was our record games holder until Caitlin Cooper broke it.

Abby Smith – A quality goalkeeper who was part of our maiden finals campaign.

Linda O'Neill of the Wanderers competes for the ball with Ella Mastrantonio of the Victory

(Photo by Renee McKay/Getty Images)

Coach
Dean Heffernan
Took us to our only finals campaign and helped develop some quality youngsters in his two seasons.

It’s fair to say the first decade of the Wander Women has had its share of ups and downs. But with the sheer weight of talent in the local region, and with a club legend in Catherine Cannuli at the helm, the future is bright.

The likes of Danika Matos, Bryleeh Henry, Libby Copus-Brown and Teigan Collister are going to be exciting players in the coming years.

Wanderer’s fans have a lot to be excited about heading into season X.

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