Returning to training like the first day of school – Adriana Taranto

Adriana Taranto Western United

Adriana Taranto could not hide her excitement as Western United’s Liberty A-League Women squad returned to pre-season training over the weekend.

After a superb debut season in 2022/23, the Green and Black will be eager to pick things back up immediately in search of more success.

Reuniting with her teammates for the first time in almost five months, Taranto was over the moon to get back in action.

“It’s so nice. We all came together for our induction and it felt like it was the first day of school again. It was really nice to see everyone, good to get out on the park and everyone is looking really sharp,” she said.

For Taranto and for a number of the inaugural squad members, this season will bring slightly different expectations and feelings heading into it.

Having approached last season after a six-year absence from the professional game, Taranto is coming into this campaign as a regular in United’s midfield and a leader within the group.

The No.15 will now be looking to carry that confidence into the Club’s follow-up campaign in 2023/24.

“I think it’s a bit of the same. We were so successful last season, so most of the things we do are probably going to be very similar,” she said.

“For myself, I’m a lot more confident. I feel a lot more ready this season, a lot more confident and I have that experience.”

Often playing as the most attacking of Western United’s midfield trio, Taranto scored once and added four assists throughout the season, a joint team-high with Hannah Keane.

Adriana Taranto scored her first Western United goal in Round 5 last season against Melbourne City

With that campaign under her belt, Taranto is setting herself a target to impact the opposition net more often this season, though it won’t be her sole focus.

“100%, that’s one of my biggest goals this season, to add to the scoresheet a bit more,” she said.

“If I can add some goals this season that would be amazing, but it’s not going to be my full focus. Just helping the team in any way I can whether it’s scoring, assisting, or just being out there is what I’m going to be focusing on.”

The midfield is the only area of the pitch where Western United’s depth chart looks entirely identical to last season.

Taranto and her sister Melissa, Chloe Logarzo, Jaclyn Sawicki and Emma Robers will all be vying for minutes in the middle of the pitch, with the competition for places and strong relationships set to drive the group forwards.

“We are all really, really close so it’s really nice to have my best friends playing in the midfield with me. We know each other really well so our chemistry on the field is great,” Taranto said.

“We want to push each other every session and we want each other to do well, but I think it’s nice that for some reason, if someone doesn’t play one week, the next person coming in is just as strong.

“No matter who goes out on the field, we know we’re going to have a strong midfield. It’s always a battle and I love them all, it’s really nice.”

Looking ahead to the Club’s second season in the Liberty A-League, the goal across the group is pretty common.

“We always want to do one better than we did last season. Obviously we had a very successful season, but it wasn’t enough,” Taranto said.

“That’s what I love about this team, we want to be No.1 and second isn’t good enough for us. Our goal is to get the Premier’s Plate, play in another Grand Final, win games, play well, score goals.”

Mark Torcaso will continue to put the team through its paces in pre-season, building towards the Round 1 clash against Perth Glory on Saturday 14 October.