ALW Match Preview: Sydney Derby

The biggest match of our Wander Women’s season comes this Saturday as we host the Sydney Derby at CommBank Stadium.

Get your tickets to the Sydney Derby double header here.

It is a momentous occasion as it is the first A-Legue Women’s derby held in Parramatta since 2021, and also the first Sydney Derby doubleheader since 2017.

The Wanderers, who are looking for their first win in the derby since 2019, will also be motivated to get back to winning ways after a tough result in their last match before the international break.

Travelling to face fourth placed Melbourne Victory, three goals conceded in 11 second half minutes condemned them to a 4-0 loss, their heaviest of the season so far.

The Wanderers created their fair share of chances, particularly in the first half, but had no response to a Melbourne onslaught in the second period, spearheaded by Emily Gielnik and McKenzie Weinert.

The side has had plenty of time to learn from the defeat thanks to the international break, and will look to spring into action against their fierce rivals, who currently sit just four points ahead of them on the A-League Women table.

The Wanderers sit just outside the top six on goals scored, though they have played a game less than the three teams above them, and would climb to fifth if they were to win that game.

It has still been a strong season for the Wanderers, as they have recorded their equal most wins as well as the most points in their history, and are in a fantastic spot to qualify for the finals for the first time since 2019-20, when they were led by current Matildas stars Courtney Nevin and Kyra Cooney-Cross.

This year, they are being led by brand new Matilda Sophie Harding, who earned her first call up to the side in the recent window; the speedy striker has had a breakout year, scoring nine goals as she has led the Wanderers attack alongside Holly Caspers, who has six goals and three assists.

The Wanderers have also been boosted by the recent return of Melissa Caceres from injury, as she has played a key role off the bench with her energy and intensity.

The Wanderers also recently confirmed the signing of youngster Ella Buchanan as an injury replacement for Bethany Gordon, and she made her debut in the match against the Victory.

Our opponents for the weekend have been tested this season, as they were disrupted by their participation in the Women’s Asian Champions League.

Whilst they sit in third, they have drawn six games this season, and their attack has struggled to fire with only 19 goals scored, two less than the Wanderers in the same amount of games.

Their defence has been far and away the best in the league, with just 12 goals conceded in 16 games, and the Wanderers will need Harding to be at her best if they are to breach the defence.

Our crosstown rivals have only won two of their last five games, with two draws and a defeat against Central Coast at home included in that run.

Their last match against Canberra United before the international break had to be abandoned due to severe weather conditions making the pitch unplayable.

The opening derby of the season came in Round one in front of a league record crowd of 11,471 at Allianz Stadium.

The Wanderers – who only appointed coach Robbie Hooker days before the match – fought hard and created good goalscoring opportunities, but ultimately fell to a 2-0 defeat.

They will take comfort that their last Sydney Derby win also came at CommBank Stadium, and it was a thrashing as the Red and Black won 5-0 in what was arguably their finest ever performance and victory; a repeat on Saturday could potentially be even more important in the context of the season.