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  • Writer's pictureJeremy Magan

New Red Emma Stanbury in Adelaide to make history

Former Newcastle Jets and Canberra United midfielder Emma Stanbury has joined Adelaide United this off-season.

The 30-year-old has found a suitable environment in South Australia and felt at home straight away.

Stanbury took the opportunity to speak to Front Page Football just days before facing reigning A-League Women champions Melbourne Victory in the 2021/22 season opener.

Joining Adelaide United

“Going back to [the] A-League Women after a one-year break, I wanted to choose the right club,” Stanbury said.

“I have been an Adelaide supporter since my youth, so it helped my choice. My mob is Ngadjuri, whose traditional lands [are] in South Australia, so it is a bit of a move back to my roots.”

Stanbury wanted a new experience in an environment where she could fit in nicely and be a part of a project with a clear direction.

“I am drawn to 'underdog' clubs with an exciting challenge,” she added.

Stanbury facing off against Matilda Hayley Raso when she was playing for the Jets. (Getty Images)

“Joining a team that has never reached the finals is very enticing to me. Hopefully, I can bring my experience to this young team, and we can reach the post-season for the first time in Adelaide’s history.”

Adelaide United failed to reach the finals last season, finishing fifth behind Canberra by a one-goal differential.

“In pre-season, we were up 2-0 early in a game, and it ended up a 3-3 draw, which reminded the team of that game against Canberra last season,” she continued.

The former Jet refers to the game Adelaide led 2-0 before Michelle Heyman scored a hat-trick and guided her troops to a 4-3 win in the capital.

“We want to be more aware of where we are, identifying momentums,” Stanbury said.

“The girls have the confidence that they can do it because they were so close last season.

“It’s just about tweaking a couple of things, and we will be good to go.”

Stanbury intends to use her experience to help a young squad reach its potential with humility.

“At first, I came in and just played my football, gauged the girls, their personality,” she said.

“I try to get the girls talking to each other more and help them create more of a group because it will reflect on the pitch.

“My experience in game management can be tapped into. I also want to instil that confidence that anything is possible in the younger players.”

Adrian Stenta, the man for the job

Adelaide United coach Adrian Stenta had a successful first season at the helm and was crucial in Stanbury’s decision to move to South Australia.

“I like a coach that treats you with respect and has very open communication,” she said.

“Adrian is always available and very clear. He is very supportive of the group. He makes us want to be better [and] to play for him.

“He is a very encouraging coach, big on that winning mentality, not necessarily scoring goals but always playing with intensity, giving 100%, learning from our mistakes.

“He is a very positive coach.”

Stanbury is not shy of compliments for the whole institution of Adelaide United.

“The coaching staff [are] phenomenal. They adapt to each player. The culture at the club is very good,” she added.

“In the team, there’s no ego[s].

Stanbury believes that Matilda McNamara will be one to watch this season for Adelaide. (Getty Images)

“The girls are very supportive of each other. A few are homegrown talents and know each other well.

“They all want to see each other succeed; it is important.”

Stanbury believes that the ones to watch at United this season will be Emily Condon and Matilda McNamara.

She also had some kind words for goalkeeper Annalee Grove.

“Emily is amazing technically, on and off the ball. She has the ability [to score] a few goals too,” Stanbury said.

“Matilda has been fabulous in training, on top with all fitness results, and also doing well [in] building play from the back in pre-season.

“I have known Annie Grove for maybe ten years now, in Newcastle [and] Canberra.

“She has got that confidence now. We listen to her and respect her, [and] she shows every day how important she is for our team.”

The reigning champions to start

United will play their season opener at AAMI Park against the 2021 W-League champions Melbourne Victory.

“We want to get that first win,” Stanbury said.

“Going [up] against the top team first, we want to start on the right foot, and we are excited to show what we have been working on."

This Sunday, they will kick off at 4:05pm AEDT, and the match will be aired on both 10 Bold and Paramount +.

The new broadcasting deal is of the utmost importance for the development of the game.

Shadeene Evans is getting ready for her first season at Adelaide United. (Getty Images)

“With the Women’s World Cup coming up, it’s important to get as much exposure as possible for the women’s game,” Stanbury said.

“If things don’t get better now, it will be a missed opportunity.

“We want to grow the game and good broadcasting is part of it.”

Emma Stanbury seems to have found the perfect fit for her football in Adelaide.

Adrian Stenta's team is a serious contender for finals football, especially since they kept indispensable players like Emily Hodgson and Chelsie Dawber.

Stanbury considers reaching the finals as a personal objective.

“It is a team goal, but it is a personal goal for me as well to thank the team and the coach for the confidence they are placing in me,” she said.

Stanbury and Adelaide are not intending on blowing a finals spot this time around, and the rest of the competition should be on high alert.


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