The quality of football improved, the goals scored were something to write home about, the foreign signings were a fabulous addition and the entertainment factor was palpable from start to finish
Instrumental in much of this was Melbourne City.
Their introduction to the league saw the top division of women’s football in Australia rewarded with a side that had the professional support and resources to showcase just what the W-League was capable of.
The City Football Group must be commended for their investment in this W-League side and it’s precisely why captain and assistant coach, Jessica Fishlock elected to thank owner Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan in her post-match speech.
Just days ago, Melbourne City chief executive Scott Munn also announced that the club will extend their $15m facility at their Latrobe University, Bundoora base to provide for the women – a truly fabulous initiative.
Speaking to the Daily Football Show, coach Joe Montemurro revealed, “we went about it giving professional athletes what they deserve, professional female players what they deserve, and that’s high standards and good conditions where they can ply their trade.”
The proof of that was most certainly in the pudding and it begs the question, just how much more could the W-League achieve if the remaining eight clubs dedicated the same amount of resources to their teams?
It’s a football utopia we can dare to dream of but in the wake of the season’s success, now is the time to start considering the true heights the women’s game can reach in Australia, well beyond the W-League.
The inaugural season of the Women’s Big Bash League proved to be a raging success both in television viewership and in crowd attendance.
The model incorporated eight teams from across Australia which saw them compete in 59 matches in 51 days and it was a pure delight to watch.
Going forward, it wouldn’t be all that bold to suggest that much of the same blueprint for the women’s cricket T20 tournament could be replicated for women’s football in Australia.
The format could encompass teams from the W-League, England’s FA Women’s Super League and the hugely successful National Women’s Soccer League – with both the English and United States competitions due to kick-off in March and April respectively.
Not only would it prolong the excitement of the W-League but it would provide Australian audiences with a chance to view some of the world’s best players, and teams, compete on our soil.
W-League players without overseas playing contracts would also be given the chance to showcase their skills in front of opposing sides which are well into their pre-season preparations.
(Sydney FC line up against Chelsea Ladies in the IWCC in 2013)
To maximise costs, several games could be played on the same day, across the space of four weeks, with only a select few teams from each league competing in the tournament, at the same stadiums A-League matches were being played.
As I said earlier, this may be bold but is it foolish or unachievable? No.
This could be just what Australia needs to put the women’s domestic football league on the map.