Experts’ U23 stars to watch in this year’s Liberty A-League, inc. GK tipped to be a Matilda

Both Grace Gill and Cath Cannuli have picked Daniela Galic as one of their best players under-23 that will be ply their trade in the Liberty A-League this season.

Dub Zone experts Cath Cannuli and Grace Gill choose the Under-23 player from each club that they’re most excited to see make a splash this season.

Adelaide United

Cath Cannuli: Ella Tonkin
Previously a midfielder, Tonkin has become a centre-back of the sort you don’t mess with. She keeps things simple but is a natural leader for someone still very young.

Grace Gill: Emilia Murray
With pace and good movement she can play as a winger or a midfielder, and has a mature head for an 18-year-old – helped by her experience with the Young Matildas.

Brisbane Roar

Cath Cannuli: Hollie Palmer
A tidy midfielder who gets herself in good positions to get on the ball and progress the move forward. She can create plenty and also has the ability to score a cracking goal.

Grace Gill: Holly McQueen
We’ve seen the quality she has, now she needs the game time to polish that quality after recovering from a dreaded ACL injury. She can learn from the experienced heads around her at Brisbane.

Canberra United

Cath Cannuli: Vesna Milivojevic
There aren’t many players who can boast experience of the UEFA Women’s Champions League, still less at 21, but that’s testament to Milivojevic’s midfield elegance.

Grace Gill: Chloe Lincoln
I’m a big fan of the goalkeeper, who I think has the potential to head all the way to the Matildas. Her leadership both for club and the Young Matildas is exemplary and will only get better still.

Central Coast Mariners

Cath Cannuli: Shae Evans
We know Shae is quick and strong with an eye for goal but for whatever reason hasn’t managed to get much game time. Maybe away from the spotlight of Sydney FC she can shine.

Grace Gill: Maya Lobo
Smart Young Matilda who reads the play well and is composed for a young player. I’m excited to see her step up into a higher level environment playing against more experienced players.

Melbourne City

Cath Cannuli: Daniela Galic
Such a smart footballer, controls the midfield because technically she’s very, very good. She gets involved in the build-up and sees things that a lot of other players don’t see.

Grace Gill: Daniela Galic
Excellent with both feet and reads the game really well, Galic is competing for a spot in a strong City squad but she needs meaningful minutes to turn potential into output.

Melbourne Victory

Cath Cannuli: Jessika Nash
She’s versatile in that she can play fullback or centre-back and she’s had a little taste of the national team as well; with her engine she can push forward and recover.

Grace Gill: Rachel Lowe
Played regularly at Sydney FC but often out of position and it’s a big move for a young player to make in leaving the champions. As a midfielder has excellent vision and is tidy on the ball.

Jessika Nash crosses the ball against Melbourne City in a semifinal in April.

Newcastle Jets

Cath Cannuli: Claudia Cicco
She can play fullback or winger and technically is very good – Cicco can cross from all different areas. She’s strong with the ball too and has deserved Young Matildas exposure.

Grace Gill: Claudia Cicco
Her pace sets her apart and she had some game time at Phoenix. Now needs proper minutes and to start performing week in, week out to prove what an influential player she can be.

Claudia Cicco playing for Wellington against Adelaide’s Melindaj Barbier in March.

Perth Glory

Cath Cannuli: Susan Phonsngkham
Great 1 v 1 skills, lovely on the ball and can strike it from anywhere. Works well with the top three to combine, loves to get on the ball – occasionally too much!

Grace Gill: Hana Lowry
A technical attacking talent, Hana is due her best season yet – she’s still young but an experienced player in a youthful Perth squad. Has ability to pull big moments out as needed.

Sydney FC

Cath Cannuli: Sienna Saveska
Has a deadly left foot and has shown an ability to score goals from anywhere. Composed in front of goal and can be very creative and unpredictable once she’s on the ball.

Grace Gill: Zara Kruger
A genuine attacking midfielder with flair, and also the determination to recover from an ACL injury. It’s a huge jump from Brisbane to title-winning Sydney and she will have to continue that hard work.

Wellington Phoenix

Cath Cannuli: Mackenzie Barry
The absolute rock of Phoenix’s defence line, even at a young age, and excellent in 1 v 1 situations. Wins her 50:50s and is super strong in the tackle.

Grace Gill: Brianna Edwards
Really stepped up last year as goalkeeper in Lily Aldred’s absence and she’s in a great position to push on. She’s a confident character and the arrival of Rylee Foster from the UK will be good competition.

Western Sydney Wanderers

Cath Cannuli: Alexia Apostolakis
Just so calm on the ball, she can play centre-back or play fullback and brings quality in defence. Very, very strong with a good passing range. Just generally very smart.

Grace Gill: Cushla Rue
A versatile wingback or winger who’s growing in confidence. Previously she relied on speed but has had to finesse her game to keep making an impact.

Western United

Cath Cannuli: Kahli Johnson
I like the way she can take players on to cross and can play centrally or out on the wing as well. A Sydney girl, she got out of her comfort zone to get her opportunity.

Grace Gill: Alana Cerne
Had a breakout season last year and was rewarded by time in a Matildas talent ID camp which was well deserved. She played beyond her years last season for United and can be proud of that.