NPLW Preview & Analysis: Heidelberg vs Bayside

The 2022 Women’s NPL season is finally upon us, with Round 1 kicking off this week.

Heidelberg United will take on Bayside United on Saturday, at our home of Olympic Park in what is set to be an exciting season opener for the ‘Bergers.

After an interrupted season in 2021 – which saw the NPLW season suspended without resumption in Round 17 – the 2022 season is shaping up to be the best yet, with an eager NPLW league rife with competition.

The Warriors welcomed plenty of new faces to Catalina St, with the squad boosted by the signings of A-League Women stars Grace Jale and Isabelle Wallhead each coming over from Wellington Phoenix and Perth Glory respectively.

The Bergers added depth to the midfield with the signings of New Zealand’s Rebecca Burrows and seasoned NPLW star Emily Roach.

Captain of the side, Steph Galea, believes the new signings have helped set a high benchmark for the squad.

“When you’ve got quality around you it really brings out the best in everyone else as well. It’s a real positive effect in the consistency with training,” she said.

The determined squad focussed much of their pre-season on team cohesion, with a pre-season camp at Ocean Grove allowing the team to bond and set their sights on the upcoming season.

The Warriors have been a strong force in their pre-season games, led by spirited duo Steph Galea and head coach John Clemente.

“We’ve got a couple new signings with A-League Women & international experience so that will really strengthen our squad,” shared Steph.

Heidelberg will come up against a tough opponent in Bayside United who kicked off their 2022 campaign with a powerful 7-0 win over Bundoora United in the Nike F.C Cup.

Bayside welcomed the re-signing of 2019 goalkeeper of the year Lauren Farrugia, citing her leadership as significant for a Bayside outfit that is bursting with youth.

They also welcomed back Francesca Brand to the fold after a season in the NT, as well as the additions of midfielder Maryam Anvari and striker Julia Budiongo, both of whom previously at South Melbourne. Suzan Tong joins from Geelong Galaxy, Erin Riordan arrives from Port Melbourne, while Amy Kane is a forward that played for Preston Lions and Alamein.

The season will kick off for the ‘Bergers at 3:00pm, Saturday April 2, at Olympic Park!

Written by Hannah Hammoud