Canberra United missing half their team ahead of W-League season-opener
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Canberra United missing half their team ahead of W-League season-opener

Canberra United are without half their squad heading into their season-opener against Melbourne Victory on Saturday, but coach Heather Garriock isn't worried.

United are missing six players on international duties with the Young Matildas, who qualified for under 19-Asian Football Confederation semi-finals on Monday.

Michelle Heyman, left, helped launch the W-League season on Monday.

Michelle Heyman, left, helped launch the W-League season on Monday.Credit:AAP

Garriock was the Young Matildas coach before taking up her first W-League role and moved to the capital for the United top job last month.

The 34-year-old brought some of the best young talent in the country but emphasised it wasn't a double-edged sword seeing her former side succeed.

Michell Heyman and Caitlin Munoz are expected to be named co-captains this season.

Michell Heyman and Caitlin Munoz are expected to be named co-captains this season.Credit:Jamila Toderas

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"I'm absolutely stoked they're though, it's a step in the right direction for our national team and I think they'll go through to the next stage," Garriock said.

"Unfortunately it means we're going to be without our the bulk of our squad but in saying that adapting is something we need to be able to do and I know the players I'm bringing can do the job.

"I chose those players so I knew this could happen but it gives me an opportunity to tap into the younger Canberra talent.

"It's about development and what we're trying to achieve over the next few seasons which is bringing Canberra talent to the level, after four weeks of preseason they deserve an opportunity.

"I'm not worried about this weekend, I think the girls have prepared well and we've got a good mix of local and experienced players."

Garriock will have three internationals, four players from last season and four non-contracted players against Victory, as well as former USA representative Kendall Fletcher.

Garriock described Fletcher as an outstanding addition who will provide valuable leadership for her young squad on Saturday.

"While we have a lot of youth, we're talking about Grace Mahar and Nicki Flannery as youth and they've been around the W-League for many years now," Garriock said.

"We do have a lot of young players but you only need five or six experienced players and things come together really nicely as they mentor the younger ones and bring them up their level.

"It's important that you're not constantly hearing the coach asking for and demanding excellence, but you hear it from the players first and foremost.

"From a culture point of view I think we've got a really nice mix with the likes of Ash Sykes and Michelle Hyeman who lead by example on and off the pitch."

Heyman attended the W-League season launch in Sydney on Monday and is expected to co-captain alongside Sykes this season.

Skyes said the team is ready to avenge semi-final defeats in the past two years and deliver the clubs its third title.

"The squad is really coming together now, we've still got the Young Matildas away but we're confident we'll be able to perform against Victory, it's an exciting time of year," Sykes said.

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"We've had a lot of young players trialling in recent weeks and this weekend they've got an opportunity to play at the W-Leage level and see what the demands and expectations are.

"There's a lot of strong teams and players in the Canberra league so I think it's awesome to see some get their chance to ply their trade on the national stage and hopefully they make the most of it."