The eighth season of the W-League, the top tier of women’s football in Australia, will kick off on Saturday and one thinks that there is an attractive ante-post title punt.
Australian W-League betting markets are hard to find but Sportsbet, which is part of the Paddy Power group, has gone up with championship odds and one think that it has got the wrong favourite because it has nominated Canberra as the most likely team to take out the Grand Final in January.
Canberra has won two Australian W-League titles in its five seasons as a member of the competition and it is sure to be a contender for this term’s title having not only retained most of its championship-winning squad but also recruited a couple of high-profile players, Veronica Perez and Jodie Taylor. Perez has made almost 80 appearances for Mexico, while Taylor is an England international forward who has been a prolific scorer all around the world, including in the Australian W-League for one of her previous sides, Melbourne Victory. Taylor is on to her third Australian W-League team having represented Sydney also.
However, the Australian W-League side in which one is interested is the newcomer to the tournament, Melbourne City, which Sportsbet is listing as the +350 second favourite to win the Grand Final. The City Football Group that owns Manchester City, New York City and Yokohama has invested a small fortune in Melbourne City and it intends for the Australian W-League team to be every bit as competitive as the Australian A-League team – the Citizens look like one of the big improvers in the men’s competition.
Melbourne City has had to start from scratch but one cannot fail to be impressed at the talent that Citizens coach Joe Montemurro has assembled, albeit with the help of a rather large chequebook. Melbourne City’s first signing was Lisa De Vanna, captain of Australia’s Matildas and the scorer of six FIFA Women’s World Cup goals in her glittering career. Soon afterwards, Melbourne City acquired the services of several more Australia internationals, none bigger than Steph Catley – the first woman to appear on the cover of a FIFA computer game. Melbourne City was not finished with Catley, either.
Seattle is the National Women’s Soccer League champion in the United States of America and two of its most influential players last term were British midfielders Jess Fishlock and Kim Little. Fishlock returns to the Australian W-League that she lit up in the colours of Melbourne Victory two seasons ago, earning a stack of individual honours to go along with the Grand Final trophy. Little’s reputation is even greater than that of Fishlock because she has won the Most Valuable Player Award in the American National Women’s Soccer League and collected the Golden Boot Award as well. Melbourne City would have been hard pushed to recruit two finer imports.
Neither Fishlock nor Little will be available for Melbourne City’s first two Australian W-League matches but, even if the Citizens make a slow start, one is betting on them making the top four, winning a semi-final and winning the Grand Final. There are only nine sides in the Australian W-League and, for one’s ante-post bet to be alive by the middle of January, all that Melbourne City’s star-studded squad has to do is finish in one of the first four spots.
Melbourne City will play 12 games during the Australian W-League regular season, lining up twice against every fellow competitor except Adelaide, Canberra, Newcastle and Western Sydney. Not having to face the Australian W-League title favourite twice is a positive for Melbourne City.
Melbourne City to win W-League
17th October 05:00 GMT
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