The case for O'Sullivan to be named amongst Wanderers best

During Western Sydney Wanderers FC's almost eight years of existence, a host of quality players have proudly worn the Red & Black at both a Hyundai A-League and Westfield W-League level. 

Shinji Ono, Brendon Santalab, Mark Bridge, Ante Covic, Aaron Mooy, Catherine Cannuli and  Sarah Walsh to name, but few are among those who have won the hearts and minds of the Wanderers faithful.

Knowing how subjective this can be and mindful of the fierce debate it will cause, it begs the question of who would be worthy of being included in a list of the best players to have played for the club?

There can be little doubt Ono’s influence on the Wanderers in their first two seasons will ensure the Japanese marvel will forever be remembered as a legend of the club.

The longevity and scoring feats of Santalab and Bridge also have to be recognised as well as the heroics in goal of Covic. All three players bled Black & Red and endeared themselves to the fans with their passion for the club and their never-say-die attitude.  

The traits displayed by the likes of Santalab, Covic and Bridge are synonymous with the Wanderers and that is why a case has to be made for Denise O’Sullivan to be included in such revered company.


Granted, the Irish international had a short seven game guest stint with the club, but her influence, both on and off the pitch, in the Westfield W-League side’s emergence as a powerhouse cannot be underestimated.

O’Sullivan was a pocket dynamo in the midfield, combining superbly with Ella Mastrantonio and Amy Harrison with her all action style of football.

In defence she was relentless, winning tackles and doing the hard yards in getting back to help the back three or four while she also found the energy to get forward as much as she could in attack.

And that is no forgetting the toughness of O'Sullivan, who kept battling on against Perth after suffering a hip injury late in the first half.

It did nothing to stop her from giving 100 per cent before she was finally substituted late with the game safely in the keeping.


O’Sullivan carried that work ethic, passion and dedication to her off the field obligations, particularly as a sounding board for the younger players in the squad.

Wanderers W-League coach Dean Heffernan best summed it up: “Can’t speak highly enough of Denise. Top professional, but most of all top person who has had a huge impact on all the players and staff.”

The esteem in which O’Sullivan is held by her teammates was never more evident than when they swamped her at the end of the 3-1 win over Perth Glory last Sunday in what was her final game for the club.

They showed their appreciation of what O’Sullivan has contributed in such a short space of time and followed up with many kind words via social media.

Hopefully, the ever-smiling Irishwoman will return to the Wanderers sooner rather than later.