In most key indicators, Season Four was a good first season for David Edmondson in charge of Adelaide United. A club that had been down on morale, and wins, for so long finally found some verve and that long awaited victory. But as the 2012/13 season looms the question is can Adelaide United take that next step?
Last season the squad was more than competitive. For long spells Edmondson’s side troubled the big names including Brisbane and Sydney but there were games in which the they displayed some of the worst traits of previous seasons. That is Edmondson’s big task; to get the Lady Reds playing good football consistently. Although he has added more depth to the squad from last season, Edmondson has also rewarded players who performed well.
Abby Erceg is back as the captain after a stellar 2011/12 season, as well as a number of the United standouts including defensive teammate Emma Checker, striker Marijana Rajcic (looking to capitalise on her breakthrough season), the dependable Racheal Quigley and Ruth Wallace. Kristi Harvey steps up as their shot stopper after the loss of long time keeper Sian McLaren (Sydney FC) and SA locals Cassandra Tsoumbris and Elise Whorlow get their shot on the national stage.
Interstate and international talent has also been sought with Erceg’s Football Ferns teammates Sarah McLaughlin and Holly Patterson following her to South Australia.
“It’s a much more well-rounded squad than last year,” said Edmondson. “There are more options all round the field and a couple more exciting players further up the field this season.”
The Lady Reds attempted to play that fast transition possession football in the W-League and while it worked for most of the first half, a lack of base fitness cost them late in matches. It has been one of many areas the squad has aimed to improve in the off-season.
“One of the major goals is to play the style and kind of football that we want to and that we have been training to play for the last year with the NTC and for the last couple of months with the W-League squad.”
“That is, we want to play an exciting style of football based on bravery in possession and attacking flair.”
For the excitement of the competition, let’s hope the hard work is rewarded.
After a rush start to last season, Dave Edmondson has now had one full season and almost nine months in the off-season to mould his squad. This squad is arguably the most talented to be put forth by the Lady Reds with more depth and competition in all areas. In particular the front third looks more potent than in the last couple of years. The Lady Reds have proven firepower in Quigley and Rajcic and the additions of Patterson and McLaughlin to the midfield with help give much needed quality supply.
Three words; fitness, strength and conditioning. Last season the lack of all three cost the Lady Reds in numerous matches. Their ability to run out games will be even more crucial if they are to adopt the high tempo, fast paced, high pressing game Edmondson will be looking to implement.