Robertson re-signs for 2023-24

Michaela Robertson has signed on for a second season with the Wellington Phoenix, joining good friend and workmate Emma Main in the club’s squad for the 2023-24 Liberty A-League.

The diminutive winger made 16 appearances for her hometown team last season, scoring against Western Sydney Wanderers in round eight to help secure the Phoenix their first point of the campaign.

“It was a very easy decision to re-sign,” Robertson, 26, said. “I was very grateful when I received the phone call from Temps (new head coach Paul Temple) and I’m really looking forward to working with him.”

She worked under Temple at the Phoenix academy for two years before joining the women’s first team.

“He was our coach for our Wednesday night games and being the academy technical director he was around a lot, so I got to know him really well.

“I respect Paul a lot as a coach. He’s very professional and a good communicator so he will help bring this team to the next level.

“I was really excited when I found out he was going to be the coach.”

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – APRIL 01: Michaela Robertson of the Phoenix is tackled during the round 20 A-League Women’s match between Wellington Phoenix and Melbourne Victory at Sky Stadium, on April 01, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Masanori Udagawa/Getty Images)

Robertson is Paul Temple’s second signing after Main was unveiled as his first recruit on Tuesday.

They have played a lot of football together and are also workmates at the Ministry of Education.

“Mickey and Emma have both come through the system in Wellington and that’s fantastic for the local football community,” Temple said.

“This season is about them establishing themselves as A-League players, making an impact on the league and helping the team to progress forward.

“I think Mickey had a good season last season and showed she’s capable of playing in the A-League.  Now it’s about getting her to the next level and performing consistently.

“She’s a great person to have around the group she’s motivated to do well, which I think is important.”

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – JANUARY 02: Michaela Robertson of the Phoenix celebrates with teammates after scoring a goal during the round eight A-League Women’s match between Wellington Phoenix and Western Sydney Wanderers at Sky Stadium, on January 02, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

Temple says Robertson also gives him “some really good options from a tactical perspective”.

“She’s quite versatile. Mickey is known as a wide player, but I used her as a wing back a lot at the academy and I’ve played her as a 10 as she’s quite good at turning and dribbling through the middle.

“Players like this are very valuable to me because I have a lot of tactical flexibility within my playing structure.”

Michaela Robertson believes she only “just scratched the surface” in her maiden campaign and is looking forward to a full pre-season with the team this year, after a concussion forced her to miss the lead-up to the 2022-23 season as well as the first game of women’s professional football in Aotearoa.

WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND – JANUARY 22: Betsy Hassett of the Phoenix celebrates with Michaela Robertson after scoring a goal during the round 11 A-League Women’s match between Wellington Phoenix and Canberra United at Sky Stadium, on January 22, 2023, in Wellington, New Zealand. (Photo by Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images)

“I was able to showcase a little bit of what I could do. Playing at that higher level helped increase my confidence and developed areas of my game.

“But my pre-season was cut short and that was challenging. I started on the back foot and when you’re out for all of that time, just getting back up to speed and trying to earn a spot back into the team was difficult.

“Being able to be with the team and get some good training under the belt this year will help me put in some good performances.

“I found the back of the net a couple of times but this season I’m really hoping that will be a more regular occasion. That’s definitely a goal for me.”

Michaela Robertson is the fourth Phoenix women’s player contracted for the 2023-24 A-League, with further announcements to follow in the coming weeks.