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South Africa internationals Rhoda Mulaudzi, Refiloe Jane shine for Canberra in W-League opener

While much of the focus centred on the numerous American imports in the W-League, a pair of unheralded South Africans stole the show during the competition's opening weekend as Canberra United knocked over three-time champions Melbourne City.

Rhoda Mulaudzi scored one and set up another as Canberra sent ambitious Melbourne City packing with a 2-0 scoreline in the nation's capital on Sunday.

Compatriot Refiloe Jane impressed throughout in the heart of midfield and provided a perfect pass for Mulaudzi to clip the ball over advancing goalkeeper Lydia Williams as the first South Africans to feature in the W-League combined perfectly on debut.

Mulaudzi had earlier forced the Matildas shot-stopper into a spectacular save during a scoreless first half and had the ball in the net a second time only to be denied by the offside flag.

Melbourne City hit the frame of the goal early on through Rhali Dobson but, with five key personnel missing, the reigning champions looked a shadow of their usual selves.

Mulaudzi capped a stellar showing by turning provider with a pass for Ellie Carpenter to slot home the sealer in the final minutes.

It was a similarly tough opening outing for reigning premiers Brisbane Roar, who needed a late equaliser from Carson Pickett to avoid defeat against the Sam Kerr-less Perth Glory at Suncorp Stadium.

With the league's marquee star absent due to a carry-over suspension from last season, Brisbane dominated scoring opportunities, with new American import Chioma Ubogagu a constant threat on debut.

Yet it was the Glory who opened the scoring early in the second half after Katrina Gorry, celebrating her 100th appearance for the Roar, turned over possession to allow Caitlin Doeglas to set up Alyssa Mautz for the opener.

It could have been worse for the Roar with Rachel Hill hitting the crossbar before Pickett secured a deserved equaliser from close range with two minutes remaining thanks to Ubogagu's assist.

Sunday's action was rounded out with Melbourne Victory unable to overcome Adelaide United at home despite a succession of second-half chances that kept United goalkeeper Sarah Willacy busy.

Sydney FC sit top of the ladder after beginning the season with a confident 3-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers on Thursday.

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