The Most Important Signings of the A-League Women's Season

With each club looking to improve on last season, there has been some interesting and surprising player movement across the competition. Every fan base has a reason to be excited about season 2023/24.

Adelaide United: Alana Jancevski

Following the departure of Fiona Worts and with Chelsie Dawber finishing her season off in Sweden, the Adelaide United attack will look noticeably different in 2023/24.

Dawber and Worts were both strikers who enjoyed drifting wide and creating attacks as much as finishing them. In former Perth Glory striker Alana Jancevski, Adrian Stenta has signed an ideal replacement.

Jancevski’s long-range distribution and thunderous shot will add firepower to Adelaide, while her comfort on either flank will give the Reds tactical flexibility and the capacity to adapt to injuries.

Jancevski is an exciting talent who is deadly from set pieces. She arrives in South Australia coming off a spectacular season with Bulleen Lions in the Victorian NPLW. One of the most impressive attributes is her willingness to stay calm under pressure. Jancevski is cool from the penalty spot and composed with the game on the line.

The potential of an attack featuring Alana Jancevski, Emilia Murray and Emily Condon should excite all fans of Australian football.

Brisbane Roar: Tameka Yallop

The only problem with signing a player like Tameka Yallop is where to play her. The Matildas star can play almost any role across midfield or operate as a second striker behind the likes of Ash Brodigan and brings some star power as well as firepower to The Roar in 2023/24.

At her best, Yallop is a dynamic goalscoring midfielder, adept at late runs into the box or powerful strikes from the edge of 18 yards. She has joined Brisbane on a multi-year deal and with Katrina Gorry unlikely to return this season, she could be the team’s new talisman in midfield.

Yallop returns to Brisbane following stints with West Ham United and Brann. Her previous seasons with The Roar yielded 49 goals in 108 appearances from 2008 to 2018, and another six in 21 games from 2019 to 2021.

She will add international experience, work rate and flair to a Brisbane side that is still based heavily on QNPL talent. She is a legend of the national team and the domestic league and has been one of the most exciting arrivals of the pre-season.

Canberra United: Maria Rojas

Not content with having two players who define the phrase X-Factor in Michelle Heyman and Vesna Milivojevic, Canberra United has added the returning Chilean international to the side.

Rojas is a tricky, creative attacker who loves assists almost as much as scoring. She joins the capital side following an impressive season with Melbourne City where she was voted by the fans as player of the year.

Rojas can be guilty of slowing down attacks with her style of play. She likes to put her foot on the ball and beat defenders with a shimmy rather than rely on lightning pace, but she creates space for teammates by drawing multiple defenders and then leaving them behind.

She completes a well-rounded set of options for Njegosh Popovic in attack. He can draw on the craft of Heyman, the power of Milivojevic, the pace of Nikki Flannery or the trickery of Rojas.

With Rojas in the squad, Canberra United are a must-watch team for any neutrals.

Central Coast Mariners: Kyah Simon

The return of one of the league's original teams brings the return of one of its biggest stars.

After three years in Europe with PSV Eindhoven and Tottenham Hotspur, Kyah Simon is back at the club where it all began for her.

The Matildas veteran brings experience and quality to a team that needs publicity and goals. This iteration of The Mariners is essentially a new club, and if the record of the last two entrants is anything to go by, she will be vital to their ability to compete.

When Wellington Phoenix made their debut, they had a talented squad that struggled to score or even threaten. Western United avoided this by signing Hannah Keane and Jess McDonald.

Central Coast may be inconsistent in 2023/2024, but they will be reliably dangerous if Simon can stay fit.

She has had persistent injury troubles since leaving Australia in 2020, and this kept her from the field during the World Cup, but Australia is where she has always found her best form. If she can come close to shining as brightly for The Mariners as she did for Sydney FC and Melbourne City, she could propel Central Coast to a strong first season.

Melbourne Victory: Jamilla Rankin

Victory has recruited well this season. They have signed NPLW Golden Boot winner Kurea Okino, Matildas winger Emily Gielnik and a legend of the game in Lydia Williams. But the announcement that gave the fans the most encouragement was that of Jamilla Rankin.

Victory fans love a good left-back, and Rankin follows in the footsteps of fellow capped Matildas Angie Beard and Courtney Nevin.

It was an area of the pitch that Jeff Hopkins had the most trouble with last season. Natalie Tathem, Emily Kos, Beattie Goad and Gema Simon were all tried in the position at various times, and Rankin seems like the perfect solution.

The former Brisbane Roar prodigy can play in the centre of defence or in a back three if needed but is probably best utilised as a fullback with a license to go forward and combine with Goad or Gielnik on the wing.

Melbourne Victory has simply signed one of the best young talents in Australian Football.

Melbourne City: Laura Hughes

In the past couple of seasons, Melbourne City has had a strong defensive midfielder in Leah Davidson, and brilliant attacking midfielders in Leticia Mckenna and Rhianna Pollicina. With the acquisition of Laura Hughes from Canberra United, they have a player who is both.

Hughes can do a bit of everything. She possesses a powerful shot and an enviable passing range. She is not a physically imposing player but excels at winning the ball back or at least disrupting the opposition midfield,  and can be another link between defence and attack.

City lacked depth in the centre of the pitch last season, with the likes of Hughes, alongside Davidson and Tijan Mckenna they have a trio of players who can help them control a game. In Hughes, they also have a player capable of winning one with a moment of magic.

Embed from Getty Images

Newcastle Jets: Libby Copus Brown

Returning to Australia after a season with Lewes FC in England, Libby Copus-Brown could be crucial for The Jets. The former Western Sydney Wanderer can play in a variety of roles but should form a strong midfield partnership alongside Cass Davis.

Copus-Brown is a clever, technically gifted midfielder who can knit play from deep or provide the final pass in attack. Jets fans can expect a similar sort of player to Emily van Egmond when she donned the Newcastle colours, and Copus-Brown is likely to help bring the best out of the likes of Melina Ayres and Milan Hammond in attack.

This is a clever signing by The Jets. Copus-Brown may not be the biggest name in the A-League Women’s but she will improve this team. She is exactly what they need.

Perth Glory: Grace Jale

Fresh from a World Cup and after scoring three times while notching up seven assists for Canberra United, Grace Jale has headed west to join the Glory.

Jale is a powerful wide player who has developed a knack for arriving at the right moment in attack. Her height and pace add something different to the Glory attack to complement the craft of Susan Phonsongkham and Sofia Sakalis.

The Glory attack is still relatively young, and although she will also be joined by fellow new arrival Quinley Quezada, Jale has crucial senior experience in this league.

She gives Alex Epakis a different sort of weapon and will also help bring the best out of his other options. At Canberra United, she was able to rotate positions with fullback Sasha Grove. Either player would rest in defence while the other bombed forward.

At Glory, with Tash Rigby a lock at right-back, this is less likely. Jale will have more opportunities to make the most of her significant attacking talents.

Sydney FC: Shea Connors

As usual, Sydney FC has had a strong off-season. Following the departures of Madison Hayley Rachel Lowe, and Mackenzie Hawkesby, they have added Fiona Worts, Sienna Saveska and Shea Connors.

The former Roar attacker won the Golden Boot in the 2022 NSW NPLW and will reteam with Princess Ibini in Sydney FC’s attack. A switch to centre forward in the second half of last season saw her quickly evolve into one of the league's most dangerous and unpredictable strikers.

Connors is best known for her pace, but is also a deadly finisher, and can hold up the ball or occupy defenders. Her ability with her back to goal is an underrated feature of her game and can quickly turn to put defenders on the retreat.

At Sydney FC, she will likely rotate with Ibini, Cortnee Vine and Worts. All four of these attackers can be effective in any role across the front three, and on paper, it looks like the fastest, most versatile attack in the league.

Wellington Phoenix: Annalie Longo

The New Zealand international has not been seen in the A-League Women's since winning the 2020/21 Grand Final with Melbourne Victory. Many observers guessed that she would sign with Wellington in its inaugural season but has contributed to the league in a commentary role in the years since.

Now back in “the Dub”, Longo will be a welcome sight for Phoenix fans - and will lead the team as captain. Wellington has boasted some exceptional wide players in its first two campaigns and some prodigious playmakers such as Alyssa Whinham and Millie Clegg but have needed some experience and consistency in midfield.

With the departure of Clegg, Longo’s signing should alleviate some of the immediate fears among Phoenix support. She is a player with winning experience at this level and is a classy, inventive central player.

There are always a lot of players who give hope for the future in the Wellington squads, Longo is the type of player who can give them confidence right now.

Western Sydney Wanderers: Millie Clegg

The young Football Ferns playmaker is one of the most exciting prospects in the A-League Women. Clegg went from an unknown squad player last season to a World Cup squad member all before turning 18.

Clegg is inventive, expressive and creative in the final third. She scored four goals for Wellington in 2022/23 and was the team's most dangerous forward over her 16 appearances for the club.

Now at the Wanderers, her arrival could have a positive ripple effect throughout the side. Clegg could occupy the attacking role that Amy Harrison was used in last season, allowing the experienced midfielder to drop a little deeper alongside the likes of Beth Gordon.

Western Sydney’s midfield suddenly looks more flexible, and if Clegg can link up well with speedster Sophie Harding, the Wanderers could be a dangerous proposition for most sides.

Western United: Grace Maher

Last season’s runners-up have shown the same ambition this season as they did before their first. If the year one arrival of World Cup winner Jessica McDonald was a surprise to the league’s fans, the move of Grace Maher from Canberra United was a welcome shock to the Victorian supporters.

Maher is one of the most highly regarded players of her generation. She is s classy and spectacular midfielder who can also be used in the centre of defence.

Maher is likely to be used in defence at some point this season with coach Mark Torcaso highlighting her ability to play the ball out from the back in the announcement of her arrival, but wherever she is used, she signals a slight shift in the balance of power among the Victorian clubs.

Maher is a former captain of Canberra United and one of the club's most popular players, for her to make the move south signals that Western United may be becoming one of the league’s destination clubs for ambitious players.

She is also in keeping with Western’s habit of signing players with trophy-winning experience, she won the Championship with Canberra United in her first season as a 15-year-old and won the premiership with Melbourne Victory before turning 20.

Maher is a star of the competition, and Western United will be stronger in all aspects of their play with her on the pitch.

Before you move on, why not give our Facebook page a like here? Or follow our X account to keep up with our work here.