Football 2 years ago

Melbourne City raise W-League standards

  • Melbourne City raise W-League standards

W-League players, coaches and administrators agree on two things about Melbourne City's remarkable premiership success in their debut year.

Firstly, that their entry has been good for the overall health of the league.

And secondly, they can be beaten in next month's grand final.

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City claimed the premier's plate on the Gold Coast on Monday with a 1-0 victory over Brisbane Roar; their 10th-successive win since joining the league in October.

The new girls on the block weren't embraced by all on their arrival to the competition.

Accusations of player-poaching or talent-sucking were levelled, most notably from cross-town rivals Melbourne Victory.

Victory lost Matildas captain Lisa de Vanna, club captain Steph Catley and Welsh international Jess Fishlock to Joe Montemurro's team on the promise of better pay and conditions.

But Matildas boss Alen Stajcic led the praise of City in the aftermath of their premiership win, saying they were welcome additions.

"It's great to see a team that's had the resources put into it," he said.

"Not just money, but training facilities, catering for overseas and interstate players, good coaching.

"They're basically the first team to really put together a good package for their W-League players.

"I really congratulate them and applaud their professionalism."

Stajcic said there wasn't an insurmountable gap to catch up.

"They've probably spent a touch more than some others but but not a lot more."

"The salary cap is $150,000. Other clubs are spending 60, 70 (thousand), so if they wanted to spend it all it's not a lot more."

Matildas midfielder Kat Gorry was on the losing side on Monday but was a firm supporter of City's arrival.

"I don't think they're too good for the league, they push other teams to be better," she said.

"I think that's exactly what happened (against us).

"To have such incredible players over here like Kim Little and Jess Fishlock, it helps the standards."

W-League head Damien de Bohun agreed.

"That the City Group has come in and invested in women's football is fantastic," he said after handing the premiership trophy to coach Montemurro and stand-in captain Fishlock.

"Across the board it will raise the standard and I think it already has."

All three agreed that the winner of the January 31 grand final wouldn't necessarily be wearing white and sky blue.

"They're the best team in the comp but there's teams on the day that have given them a good run," Stajcic said.

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