Reds to unleash China star against Sydney

Adelaide United will unleash China's Asian Cup hero Xiao Yuyi in their blockbuster A-League Women season opener against Sydney FC.

Xiao, who scored the dramatic winning goal to seal China's comeback final win over South Korea, can play anywhere across Adelaide's front three, where she will link up with Chelsie Dawber and Fiona Worts.

"When I heard that we were signing her it was so exciting," star Adelaide midfielder Dylan Holmes told AAP.

"She's been with us for the last maybe week or two and yeah, so good.

"Technically just brilliant and so smart on the ball and she's gonna add something a little bit different and hopefully will complement Chelsea and Fiona a bit."

The Reds are coming off a maiden finals appearance, finishing third on the ladder but losing their semi-final to eventual champions Melbourne Victory.

Holmes said facing Sydney, who have been back-to-back premiers and grand finalists, first-up was the perfect litmus test.

"It's gonna give us a good starting point early on in the season to know exactly where we're at and what we need to work on," she said.

"It's exciting and it's the first time in a while we've had our whole squad together, through pre-season and everybody's arrived before the season start, which is a bit unheard of for us.

"The club's recruited really well. We've retained a lot of last season's core group and girls are now having experience in Europe and in the US, and we've signed Jenna (McCormick) and Maruschka (Waldus) who are both really experienced and have played a lot of football.

"So there's quietly a lot of belief in the group that we can go further than last year and we can really challenge to win the whole thing."

Sydney FC have added striker Madison Haley and former Newcastle full-back Kirsty Fenton as they case a premiership-championship double.

Midfielder Mackenzie Hawkesby will be looking to back up her standout 2021-22 season and relished the prospect of hitting the road first-up.

"It's a tough first round, I'm not gonna lie," Hawkesby told AAP.

"So it's gonna be exciting. We had I think about four or five home games last season to start off, so we start off with something different.

"They're a good team. They have Fiona Worts who was the MVP last season, so it's gonna be really, really tough but we're really excited for it.

"We're up for it and we can't wait for it."