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Nov 18, 2022   |  9:51AM AET

What not to miss – R1 v Western United

What not to miss – R1 v Western United

There will be plenty to keep an eye on in this Saturday’s A-League Women’s season opener against Western United…

The Dub is back!

The A-League Women’s competition is back with a bang this weekend, kicking off with a triple-header of simultaneous games on Saturday afternoon.

The game between Melbourne Victory and Western United is the pick of the bunch, although there is plenty on offer across the board to satisfy the cravings of fans who have waited almost eight months for their beloved competition to return.

This season of the Liberty A-League is perhaps the most important in history, coming just before the 2023 World Cup to be staged in Australia and New Zealand.

International calibre players are scattered throughout the competition, including several Australians hoping to stake their claim for a spot in Tony Gustavsson’s Matildas squad.

This weekend’s contest at City Vista Recreation Reserve is no exception, with the likes of Alex Chidiac and Elise Kellond-Knight ready to play their part for Victory just days after representing the Matildas against Thailand.

The Champions return to the pitch

Victory will play their first competitive fixture since winning last season’s grand final 2-1 against Sydney FC back in March.

The win secured a second consecutive Championship win for Jeff Hopkins’ side, becoming just the second team in A-League Women’s history to achieve the feat.

Last season’s Championship defence kicked off with a thrilling 5-1 win over Adelaide United, setting a high standard for this Saturday’s contest to replicate.

The birth of a new rivalry

Victory’s opening game will see Western United take to the field in the Liberty A-League for the first time in their history.

Building on the strong foundations laid by Victorian NPLW powerhouse Calder United, Western have everything to play for as they look to make their mark against one of their local rivals.

Victory though will be intent on asserting their dominance and reaffirming their status as the team to beat in Victoria.

The first game of what may prove to be a fierce rivalry will carry more weight than most with both sides desperate to start off on the right foot.

Some new (and old) faces

Despite their Championship success last season, Victory will bring a revitalised playing group into season 2022/23.

New players have been brought in to fill positions across the park, including Gema Simon at the back, Kellond-Knight in midfield, and Beattie Goad up top.

The new recruits are accompanied by the return of club captain Kayla Morrison, who cruelly missed out on nearly all of last season following a ruptured ACL in the first game of the campaign.

The quality of players added to the Victory squad is an intimidating prospect for opposition teams considering last season’s success.

The only questions remaining are who Jeff Hopkins will bring into the starting XI and how he will integrate his recruits and returnees into an already successful team?