The time has finally come for the eagerly-anticipated tenth instalment of the Westfield W-League to commence. And fittingly, Glory will open the new season with an absolute blockbuster match-up against last season's champions, Melbourne City, at nib Stadium.
Both sides have bolstered their squads with a number of high-profile signings, Perth adding Costa Rican midfielder Raquel 'Rocky' Rodriguez and City welcoming Matildas star Kyah Simon from Sydney FC.
With February's Grand Final heartbreak still well and truly fresh in the memory bank, Bobby Despotovski's talented side will be hoping to take the first step towards a maiden title with a win over one of their main rivals in front of the Glory faithful.
Key Match-Up: Sam Kerr v Alanna Kennedy
It’s sure to be another intense battle between our star striker and Matildas defender, Kennedy.
Having been teammates on numerous occasions for Glory, Sydney and the national side, it’s always an intriguing clash when they face each other, with the match-up coinciding with Kennedy’s first appearance for her new club having moved from rivals Sydney FC.
Both players enjoyed stellar campaigns abroad in the NWSL, with Kerr being named the league’s MVP, while Kennedy’s Orlando Pride made the finals.
The last time these two faced-off it was in last season’s semi-final, with Kerr running riot to help claim a home Grand Final for Perth and the superstar will be targeting a repeat performance tonight.
One-to-Watch: Raquel Rodriguez
Popularly known as ‘Rocky’, Rodriguez is the first Central American to play in the Westfield W-League and is fresh from a superb season in the US with her NWSL club, Sky Blue FC.
The Costa Rican was asked to train with the national team aged just 11 and scored her country's first ever goal at a World Cup in 2015.
The powerful and dynamic central midfielder also claimed the 2016 NWSL Rookie of the Year award.
Last Time We Met: 2017 Grand Final - Perth Glory 0-2 Melbourne City
After stunning the reigning champs in Round 8 with a 3-2 win at AAMI Park, City took revenge by claiming their second title in a row in front of a W-League Grand Final record crowd of 4,591 at nib Stadium.
It was a clinical display from the visitors, with Jess Fishlock and Beverly Yanez both netting in the first-half to clinch a 2-0 win.
"City are a great team, but it’s a new season, so I’m assuming the first ten minutes will be a bit hectic, but after that, it’ll settle. They’re a footballing team, we’re a footballing team and I honestly think whoever shows up on the night will win. I don’t think there’s much between us."
"Like Sam said, they’re a great team, they’re the benchmark as they’ve won the Championship two years in a row. We won’t be taking them lightly, but we’re going to do everything we can to win our home games, that’s the priority for us and that’s the goal the team have set for themselves."
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Friday, 27 October 2017
Perth Glory v Melbourne City FC
nib Stadium, Perth
Kick-Off: 7.00pm (WST)
Referee: Rachel Mitchenson
Assistant Referee 1: Arvin Shanmuganathan
Assistant Referee 2: Adrien Liechti
Fourth Official: Matthew Southern
Perth Glory squad: 1.Gabby DAL BUSCO (GK), 2.Sarah CARROLL, 3.Kim CARROLL, 4.Natasha RIGBY, 5.Patricia CHARALAMBOUS, 6.Danielle BROGAN, 7.Nicole STANTON, 8.Shawn BILLAM, 9.Rachel HILL, 10.Raquel RODRIGUEZ, 11.Nicola BOLGER, 12.Shannon MAY, 13.Jaymee GIBBONS, 16.Amanda FRISBIE, 17.Marianna TABAIN, 18.Melissa MAIZELS (GK), 20.Samantha KERR (c) **two to be omitted**
Melbourne City FC squad: 2.Yukari KINGA, 3.Lauren BARNES, 4.Ashley HATCH, 5.Lia MULDEARY, 7.Steph CATLEY (c), 9.Larissa CRUMMER, 10.Jess FISHLOCK, 11.Rhali DOBSON, 13.Rebekah STOTT, 14.Alanna KENNEDY, 15.Amy JACKSON, 16.Sofia SAKALIS, 17.Kyah SIMON, 18.Hayley RICHMOND, 19.Tyla-JAY VLAJNIC, 20.Emily SHIELDS (GK), 30.Emily KENSHOLE (GK)
**two to be omitted**
Unavailable: 1.Lydia WILLIAMS (unavailable)