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Irish international scores first goal - and match-winner - in Australian top-flight

Julie Ann-Russell was on target for Western Sydney Wanderers in their 1-0 W-League victory over Perth Glory.

Julie-Ann Russell (left) made the difference for her side today.
Julie-Ann Russell (left) made the difference for her side today.

IRISH INTERNATIONAL JULIE-ANN Russell scored her first goal in the Australian top-flight earlier today, her first-half effort turning out to be match-winner for Western Sydney Wanderers in their 1-0 Westfield W-League victory over Perth Glory.

Russell’s goal, which came on the brink of half time, ended a five-game winless run for her side and kept their final hopes alive after downing the league’s bottom-placed side.

The Galway woman starred for the Sydney outfit at Marconi Stadium, coming close on several occasions, but her decisive strike came when she was played through by her captain, Caitlin Cooper.

Russell’s left-footed finish was a well-taken one, the Irishwoman firing home despite the best efforts of Perth ‘keeper Lily Alfield. It was “a stinger,” as opposing manager Alex Epakis told The West Australian.

(You can watch the goal from 1.30 mins below.)

Source: My Football/YouTube

Her good form continued in the second half, with Wanderers doing enough to hold on for their second win of the season.

Russell signed for the club just before Christmas — just days before the 2020/21 season kicked off — joining from Sydney University, for whom she had been playing for in the second-tier National Premier League since emigrating in 2017.

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A versatile player, she’s normally recognised as an attacker or forward player, though she can also operate in midfield and even featured at full-back during Ireland’s recent Euro 2022 qualifying campaign.

The 29-year-old has 59 senior caps to her name, and was named FAI Senior Women’s International Player of the Year in 2014.

Russell is not the sole Irish player on the books of Western Sydney Wanderers, with Simon Cox lining out for the men’s team in the A-League.

She’s the only Irish women’s international currently playing Down Under, though; Denise O’Sullivan having enjoyed off-season spells there in the past while juggling commitments with her US club North Carolina Courage.

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Emma Duffy

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