ALW R2 Talking Points: Coach’s promise comes true as TikTok sensation arrives in the A-Leagues

Watch EVERY the goals from an action packed round two of the Liberty A-League.

These are the key talking points from Round 2 in the Liberty A-League.

Melbourne City continued their perfect start to the season and their star attacker pushed her case for Matildas selection going forward.

Further north, Brisbane Roar claimed yet another impressive scalp, while Western United and Wellington Phoenix came away with solid wins on Sunday evening.

Meanwhile, a Western Sydney Wanderers teenager made A-Leagues history.

With a lot to dissect, here are the key talking points from Round 2 of the Liberty A-League.



Wellington may be the league’s new box office side

Small ball has arrived in the A-Leagues.

Wellington Phoenix put Western Sydney Wanderers to the sword on Sunday evening, coming away with an impressive 3-0 victory at CommBank Stadium.

They blew the home side away with a brilliant finish to the contest, where they scored all three goals from the 68th minute onwards.

“It was a tough game for 65-70 minutes. It wasn’t pretty at times. A war of attrition,” coach Paul Temple said.

“But eventually we got the breakthrough and once we got the first goal we really relaxed. We kept the ball and absolutely dominated the last 20 minutes.”

Temple – who claimed his first win since taking over this off-season – promised an “exciting” brand of football and so far, he’s living up to the promise.

The Phoenix played with freedom, speed and class, carving their way through the Wanderers back-line, particularly in the final 20 minutes or so. Although they failed to beat Melbourne City a week prior, there were many of the same signs on show that were evident in their three-goal thrashing of the Wanderers.

MATCH REPORT: Temple era off the mark at Wellington as Phoenix see off Wanderers with second-half flurry

21-year-old New Zealand youth international Macey Fraser stood out yet again in only her second-ever league game, scoring a brilliant long range goal and coming close to another in the first stanza which was denied by the crossbar.

Fraser’s skill videos have also gone viral on TikTok, where she has over 60,000 followers, with multiple clips boasting over one million views.

“There were some real signs of her quality today,” Temple said.

Just beating players, two really good efforts in the first half, one I was convinced was going in that tipped the top of the bar, then that finish from the edge of the box.

“I’ve seen that so many times in training. I’ve seen that so many times in the academy. I’m just over the moon for her that she was able to bring it out in the A-League and show everybody what she’s capable of.

“It was an awesome moment for her and her family.”


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Fellow new arrivals Manaia Elliott and Mariana Speckmaier also found the net and impressed enormously.

The signs of improvement are there early doors for the Phoenix, who are looking to avoid the unwanted title of wooden spooners for the third successive season of the club’s existence.

With two home games to come after the international break, the ‘Nix are in a good position to build off the promise of their first win of the new campaign.

Holly McNamara builds Matildas case

Things are on the up early for Melbourne City.

Dario Vidosic’s side are off to a perfect start through two games into the new Liberty A-League season after defeating Canberra United 2-1 on Saturday afternoon, despite legendary striker Michelle Heyman threatening a comeback with her 96th league goal.

Rhianna Pollicina fired home a double, but City could have easily been further ahead had it not been for wayward finishing, which in turn kept the door ajar for Canberra.

“The last two seasons (Pollicina) has starting to put herself in very dangerous positions,” said City head coach Dario Vidosic.

“And with her quality, how she can hold the ball up, I go ‘just go in the box’.

“That’s where we want to play our football as much as we can: in the opposition’s box, and hopefully the goals will start coming as well.”

A player central to City’s hot start to the new season has been Holly McNamara, who once again stood out. The 20-year-old attacker continues to go from strength to strength after returning from an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury earlier this year.

MATCH REPORT: City stay perfect thanks to Pollicina brace, despite Heyman moving closer to century milestone

McNamara was a thorn in Canberra’s side all game on the left-flank, winning the penalty for Pollicina’s second goal and could have easily had a number of assists had it not been for some wayward finishing from Hannah Wilkinson.

She even put in a lovely dinked pass to Kaitlyn Torpey, who was denied by a desperate Chloe Lincoln before she could get the shot away.

McNamara was left out of the Matildas squad for the upcoming Paris Olympic qualifiers in Perth, despite continually banging down the door of a return to the senior national team.

Kyah Simon was left out of the most recent Matildas squad, with Charlize Rule – who is a full-back by trade – selected as an attacker, but only as a train-on player, meaning there was no replacement announced for the Central Coast Mariners forward.

McNamara was selected for the friendlies in April against Scotland and England, but featured in neither game, before being sent home ahead of City’s Elimination Final against Melbourne Victory.

Since then, she’s been on the outside looking in, despite calls from pundits – including Network 10 commentators Teo Pellizzeri and Pokuah Frimpong – to recall McNamara given her current form and what she brings to the table in comparison to other options.

With Simon still building her match fitness and Emily Gielnik yet to debut for Melbourne Victory, McNamara is certainly one of the next attackers in line to earn a place in the national team.

If there’s one thing for certain, though, more performances like this and the harder it will be to leave McNamara out of the national team setup.

Brisbane claim yet another scalp in eight-year first

Another week and another big win for Brisbane Roar.

After taking down Melbourne Victory, this time it was defending champions Sydney FC to fall to defeat against the high-flying Roar on Saturday.

Chelsea Blissett’s stunning first-half goal not only secured a 1-0 win in front of a record standalone crowd for Brisbane, it also preserved the club’s perfect start to the season heading into the international break.

MATCH REPORT: Roar celebrate eight-year first thanks to upset win over Sydney in front of record crowd

For the first time since 2015-16, Brisbane have won two consecutive games to begin a season. It is the third time in the Roar’s history that they have opened a campaign with back-to-back victories, having also achieved the feat in 2009.

With Matildas star Tameka Yallop back in Roar colours in front of 3,679 fans at Ballymore Stadium, Brisbane did not disappoint as they took the game to the Sky Blues.

Sydney tasted defeat for the first time this season, while they were also condemned to their first loss at the hands of Brisbane since February 2021.

Wanderers youngster shatters records

Step aside Matildas superstar Sam Kerr… there’s a new record-holder in the Liberty A-League.

Aged 14 years, 11 months and 26 days, Western Sydney Wanderers youngster Talia Younis became the youngest player in A-Leagues history, breaking a record set by Kerr in 2008 during Sunday’s 3-0 loss to Wellington Phoenix at CommBank Stadium.

MATCH REPORT: Temple era off the mark at Wellington as Phoenix see off Wanderers with second-half flurry

Younis signed for the Wanderers in July after training with the Wanderers Academy boys squads for four seasons and it took until just Round 2 for the 14-year-old sensation to claim a special slice of A-Leagues history, coming off the bench to replace Melissa Caceres in the 54th minute against Wellington.

The teenager is a promising young talent and a regular in Junior Matildas squads; a Liberty A-League debut just days out from her 15th birthday makes Younis the youngest-ever player in the competition by 49 days, beating Kerr’s record set on October 25, 2008 at 15 years and 45 days.

Incredibly, her date of birth makes Younis the competition’s first player to be born after the league started.

Promising signs for Mariners as they end the drought

It was a win 14 years in the making.

Central Coast Mariners recorded their first win since 2009 after re-joining the Liberty A-League for the 2023-24 Liberty A-League season, defeating Adelaide United 2-1 on Friday evening.

MATCH REPORT: Captain’s goal makes history as Mariners beat Reds to end 14-year wait for Liberty A-League win

Emily Husband’s side were much improved on their promising Round 1 showing, particularly looking sharp in attack, having 17 shots to Adelaide’s 11 – with nine of those on target.

The addition of Chinese international Wurigumula to the starting lineup paid enormous dividends and she was an enormous threat from the get go. She ended up firing home her first goal in Mariners colours to double their lead and could have easily had more to her name, capping off an impressive starting debut.

And her strong start can only be a positive for the Mariners, whose attack will only be bolstered when Kyah Simon is deemed fit enough to take the field once more.

Never say die Western is back for a second season

If we learned anything last season, it was that Western United are never out of a contest.

Mark Torcaso’s side came from a goal behind to defeat Melbourne Victory on Sunday afternoon, continuing their perfect record against both their state rivals (four wins from four games against Victory and Melbourne City) along with yet another comeback win.

MATCH REPORT: Super sub’s first A-Leagues goal fires Western to dramatic comeback win over Victory

Last season, Western claimed 14 points from losing or drawing positions in the final 30 minutes of contests, scoring a whopping 11 goals in those matches from the 60th minute onwards.

Both of the goals in their come-from-behind 2-1 win over Victory came in the final 30 minutes, with Melissa Taranto and Keiwa Hieda finding the net in the 66th and 90th minute respectively.

And now, instead of going into the break with zero points to their name, Western’s late flurry ensured they have plenty of wind in their sails.

Breakout star fires home again as Glory remain top

Susan Phonsongkham is going to be must watch this season.

The attacker fired Perth Glory to a second win from two games, scoring the solitary goal in their 1-0 win against Newcastle Jets.

Phonsongkham came into the season with plenty of momentum off the back of her exploits in NPLW NSW with Bankstown City and has carried the good form into the start of the campaign.

MATCH REPORT: Phonsongkham strikes again as Glory return to Liberty A-League summit in win over Jets

The 22-year-old took her goal brilliantly, firing home with inch-perfect precision into the bottom corner off a standing start.

“I said last week after the match that she’s in the form that she’s in because of the work she put in the off-season,” coach Alex Epakis said.

“That’s not by accident. She’s completely focused on her job and being the best footballer she can and we as a team are reaping those rewards, but I’m very pleased for her.”

She now has two goals in two games to start the season, leading all players along with Rhianna Pollicina, Michelle Heyman and Vesna Milivojevic.

Her new partnership with Millie Farrow, Grace Jale and Sofia Sakalis looks set to be a hit this season, and they’re only going to be more dangerous once Quinley Quezada is integrated into the side, having made her debut off the bench against the Jets.