Leena Khamis of the Western Sydney Wanderers and Chloe Logarzo of Sydney FC ahead of Thursday night's clash.
Leena Khamis of the Western Sydney Wanderers and Chloe Logarzo of Sydney FC ahead of Thursday night's clash. DAN HIMBRECHTS

Wanderers star back where it began

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 Sydney derby on Thursday night.

The fierce rivals will pack some extra spice this year with Khamis one of four former Sydney FC 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 Wednesday.

"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 coach Dan Barrett is now in charge at the Wanderers.

However, it's Khamis who has strong ties to the area, having been born in Minto in Sydney's south-west.

Leena Khamis in Sydney FC colours.
Leena Khamis in Sydney FC colours. BRENDAN ESPOSITO

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 a major milestone for the women's game, with the league boasting a weekly Thursday night time-slot for the first time.

Sydney FC star Chloe Logarzo said it was 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," she said.

Khamis expects a physical encounter. Pic: Getty Images
Khamis expects a physical encounter. Pic: Getty Images

"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."

Sydney FC are undefeated in their past six matches against the Wanderers and 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."


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