The biggest question surrounding Western United’s inaugural Liberty A-League Women side was the readiness of players transitioning from Calder United in NPLW Victoria to the professional game.
Eleven of the 25 players that have been involved in Western United’s squad this season came straight from Calder United’s 2022 treble-winning team. Six of those 11 had never played a professional game before, and the remaining five had only 66 appearances between them.
But the young squad dispelled any of concerns in the regular season and offered a statement of intent in the Semi-Final two weeks ago, securing a memorable 1-0 win over the Sydney FC.
Now, Western United will face the Sky Blues in the Grand Final and once again, the Green and Black’s Calder United contingent will be fearing nothing ahead of the big occasion.
Since its inception in NPLW Victoria in 2016, Calder has won three Championships with Mark Torcaso at the helm on each occasion.
On top of that, Torcaso guided Calder to five NIKE F.C. Cup titles, maintaining a perfect record in all cup finals during his time at the club.
With this experience and the excitement of the new challenge in the Liberty A-League, Torcaso will hope to add another honour to his resume.
And it’s not just the head coach that has this experience of playing on the biggest stages in Victorian football already.
In 2022, Alana Cerne burst onto the scene in senior football and made a major impact in the biggest matches, scoring in both the NPLW Grand Final and the NIKE F.C. Cup Final.
The youngster went on to win the NPLW Victoria Media Player of the Season, capping off a stunning first full season in senior football as a teenager at the time before elevating her game further in the Liberty A-League this season.
Melissa Taranto also scored in both of those finals and was awarded the Theresa Deas Medal for the player of the match in the NIKE F.C. Cup decider.
Melissa and twin sister Adriana played together in those finals and in the 2019 editions, neither being much past their 20th birthday when they graced AAMI Park for the NPLW Grand Final against Bulleen Lions.
Julia Sardo was awarded player of the match honours in the 2022 NPLW Grand Final, Aleksandra Sinclair has scored in countless cup finals while the likes of Stacey Papadopoulos and Emma Robers have both won multiple trophies with Calder over a number of years.
While the Liberty A-League Grand Final will bring with it entirely different challenges, the collective experience among this new Western United side will prove invaluable in preparations for the big occasion.
Torcaso and his players will know the routine and know what to expect on the big stage, and they will be hoping to replicate all those clinical performances over the years.
All eyes will be on a huge match of football as Western United takes on Sydney FC for Liberty A-League glory. Tickets are now on sale, and you can be part of the action with your Green and Black peers in a number of different ways. Click here to find out more.