Adrian Stenta believes Adelaide United Women’s opening round clash against defending champions Melbourne Victory Women will be a good litmus test for his side.
The Reds head into the match on Sunday afternoon with a rather new look squad and the Head Coach admitted it will be a good indication to see where the team is at.
But after a long and at times interrupted pre-season due to quarantine rules around the COVID-19 pandemic, Stenta said the squad was extremely excited about beginning the new Liberty A-League 2021/22 season.
“We can’t wait to get into the game on Sunday,” Stenta told AUFC Media.
“We’ve really been looking forward to it and this is what we’ve been building towards.
“There’s no greater challenge than to go up against last year’s champions away from home.
“So we’re really excited and we’re really looking forward to the challenge on Sunday.”
There have been quite a few personnel changes over the offseason, with a number of new arrivals all eager to make an impact.
However, core players in the squad have been retained with the likes of Emily Condon, Matilda McNamara, Isabel Hodgson, Emily Hodgson, and Chelsie Dawber all re-signing.
Stenta was pleased with how the group has come together.
“I’m really confident with the squad that we’ve assembled,” he explained.
“We’ve been really lucky here over the years to be able to have that core group of players that we’ve been able to keep together and lean on.
“Probably a little bit more change to the squad than I’d ordinarily like this year, but we really think we’ve brought in some really good, promising young players.
“And it’s up to them now to make the most of the opportunity provided.”
Stenta is well aware of the quality in Victory’s squad but was embracing the prospect of coming up against the “benchmark” of the competition.
“The best thing about it personally for me is that we’ll know after Round 1 where we’re at,” he said.
“What we need to improve on, what we’re doing well, so you always want to test yourself against benchmark teams.
“And Right now, this is the benchmark team of the league after their success last year.
“That’s why I’m really looking forward to this game because we’ll know where we stand after Round 1.”
Sunday, 5 December vs Melbourne Victory Women
A-League Women 2021/22 – Round 1
Kick-off 3.35pm ACDT
Venue: AAMI Park
Broadcast: 10 Bold