Ahead of Melbourne City’s W-League Semi-Final clash with Brisbane Roar, Steph Catley goes 1v1 with the PFA to share with us the club’s inaugural season in the competition, the impact it has had, and why the bar needs to be continually raised.

Q. After six season’s with Melbourne Victory you made the choice to depart the club and joined City, was that a hard decision to make?

SC: It was probably one of the harder decisions I have had to make in my career so far. I had been at the Victory since I was 14 or 15 and it had been my home for so long but it had got to the point where I really needed to challenge myself and get out of my comfort zone and City popped up and had a lot of good plans and a lot of good players headed their way and at the stage I’m at in my career I just wanted to be in an environment where I’m constantly being challenged. When I knew the likes of Jess Fishlock and Kim Little were heading over it was made easier.

Q. Was it clear that it was going to be a very different W-League experience for you at City?

SC: When I first arrived back from America it was such a smooth transition, it was like going from one professional club to another, this was a new experience. At Victory things sometimes took a while to get going in terms of resources for the team. At City everything was there from the get go. They wanted to know if you needed anything else and if they could do anything for you and that was a great experience and I knew from the start that it was going to be very professional.

Q. From a players perspective were there high expectations from the start?

SC: I think you see a lot of the time that when teams that have a lot of great individual players are put into the one team it doesn’t always work. We have trained really hard to ensure we have worked well on the field and got the best out of each other. I have been really impressed with how we have gelled as a team and everyone is working towards winning the championship and it is a great environment to be a part of.

Q. Did it feel like a relief when things got underway on a really positive note at the start of the season?

SC: The first game was an interesting one as we did not have our international players yet. There was still a lot of expectation on us and we came out and played really well against Sydney FC and it made us feel as if we were starting something special.

Q. It would be the start of what would prove to be a perfect season for the club, 12 wins from 12 games. How do you look back on it?

SC: One of the best things that has come out of this season is that the teams we have come up against have really stepped up against us. You can see that there is planning gone on during the week and so many players have blinders against us and that is what you want to see. Some of the games I have seen on TV towards the end of the season have shown just how far the standard has risen and that is great to see.

Q. Have clubs responded to the professionalism that City has brought to the competition?

SC: I think they have but I think the most interesting thing will be how W-League teams react next year and whether they try to get to the same level of professionalism.

Q. After a fantastic season you now move into Semi-Finals, how has the preparation been?

SC: It is hard to replicate a game like finals but I think we have a lot of experienced players in the team and we have spoken about it early on in the week that we want to go out and play our football and keep it as normal as possible; if we do that we should be ok.

Q. What do you think needs to be done to take the W-League to the next level?

SC: I think the league needs to be longer. It feels like it just started and it is already almost over. We need to be constantly televised, there are so many people out there that want to watch the games. To have more televised games people would then see how quickly the standard is rising.

Q. Finally, how important is the W-League to the success of the Matildas?

SC: It has a massive impact; that is where we are going to be getting our national team players from. We have already seen this season players as young as 14 and 15 getting their chance in the W-League. They have been identified for National Team camps and as long as we keep improving the W-League and getting in internationals like the ones we have at City and at other clubs we will help the Matildas to continue to improve.


Each week the PFA will go 1v1 with current or former player to gain an insight into lives of footballers on and off the pitch.

Images by Chad Gibson / Local FC.