Merewether have scored a last-minute coup by signing experienced centre-back and set-piece specialist Jamee Ellis with Herald Women's Premier League set to resume on Sunday.
Ellis has over 150 appearances in Northern NSW Football's top-flight women's competition and was key to United's minor premiership-championship double in 2015 and back-to-back grand final glories in 2017-18.
After Merewether lost last year's championship-decider 4-3 to New Lambton in extra time, Ellis planned to have this season off due to university commitments.
Ellis is studying podiatry and was meant to be away on placement through the latter stages of the season but those plans have been cancelled due to the coronavirus crisis.
"I did need a break as well but now I'm ready to play again," Ellis told the Newcastle Herald on Monday.
"I thought, how many more years have I got to play. I figure once I finish studying I'll be drowning in work, so I may as well have a little last hurrah.
"I trained one day last week and played in a trial game yesterday. I felt like I never left."
The return of the 29-year-old is a welcome one for coach Scott Ellis, whose squad had been looking a little thin until a couple of weeks ago. Melbourne City W-League striker Rhali Dobson has since confirmed she will be back for another season and Merewether have also picked up utility player Misha Ball.
"It gives me a lot more flexibility with who goes where and I've gone from looking at who to bring up and trying to fill the gaps to all of a sudden having two genuine first-graders who might miss out if everyone turns up," the coach said.
"Jamee is a pretty positive signing for us and we're excited to have her back on board. She only made up her mind over the weekend. We played a trial against Newcastle Olympic yesterday and Jamee scored a free kick with about her second touch of the game then got another one later on.
"In the second half we switched to three at the back just to see how things went, which I probably wouldn't consider without her being there. She had a pretty outstanding game."
Merewether beat Olympic 3-1 in the trial game at Wallsend on Sunday.
United play Adamstown at Adamstown Oval this Sunday whenWPL resumes. Two rounds were played before football was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and the league has been reduced from 21 rounds to 14 plus finals.
Merewether opened the season with a 3-3 draw against defending champions New Lambton and a 2-1 win over Olympic.
Adamstown beat Thornton 4-1 then the Eagles 2-1 to be top of the table after two rounds.
Also on Sunday, Broadmeadow make their long-awaited return to WPL when they host New Lambton at Magic Park. Magic's first two matches were postponed. Warners Bay are at home to Olympic and Mid North Coast play Thornton in Taree.