10-year history fuelling recruit’s derby ‘challenge’

AFTER 10 years in the sky blue, Leena Khamis feels a little uncomfortable in red.

But the former Sydney FC forward insists she’ll be ready to fire for the Wanderers when the W-League season kicks off with the derby on Thursday. The fierce rivals will pack some extra spice this year with Khamis one of four former Sky Blues players to switch camps during the off-season. “I am expecting some physicality as well but nothing I haven’t been used to before,” Khamis said on Wednesday.

Miramontez can sense the heat0:00

W-League: Western Sydney’s American recruit Sydney Miramontez says she can already sense the heat in the rivalry between the Wanderers and Sydney FC ahead of their season opener.

“That’s all just banter. When you’re on the field, you ignore it and play the game.” Kylie Ledbrook, Georgia Yeoman-Dale and Caitlin Cooper, who have all played for the Matildas, have also changed allegiances while former Sydney W-League coach Dan Barrett is now in charge at the Wanderers.

Sydney are undefeated in their past six matches against the closest rivals. However, it’s Khamis who has strong ties to the area, having been born in Minto in Sydney’s south-west.

She played 94 games for Sydney FC, scoring 39 goals, but is grateful for a chance to play for the Wanderers.

“You never know what happens in your career, with all different types of hurdles,” she said.

“It’s a new beginning, new challenge.

“I’d love to give back to the club for what they’ve given me – another opportunity to play.” The match marks another landmark for the women’s game, with the league boasting a weekly Thursday night timeslot for the first time.

Leena Khamis in action for Sydney FCSource:Getty Images

Sydney FC star Chloe Logarzo said it is a major step forward for the competition.

“I don’t think any of us have taken in and realised how important it is, or how much of a big step it is for the game,” the Matildas star said. “We don’t want to think that sort of stuff in regards to the big game starting tomorrow night.

“But for me personally, I think it’s amazing.” The Sky Blues are once again expected to contend for the title although three- time defending champions Melbourne City will be favourites.

“They’re one step above everyone else,” Logarzo said.

“They’re a team every team should be looking up to.

“All credit to them for winning it three years in a row, hopefully we’ll be able to take the title away from them.”

Originally published as 10-year history fuelling recruit’s derby ‘challenge’

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