With the 2018/19 Westfield W-League season fast approaching, we decided to take a look back on the season that was 2017/18.
There were twists and turns, there were shock results and there were big wins. Check out the five games which shaped the season.
1. Round 7: Melbourne Victory 4-0 Adelaide United
Melbourne Victory ultimately didn’t challenge for a spot inside the top four last season, but if not for this all-too-important victory in round seven they may have had to fight harder to avoid bottom spot.
Natasha Dowie opened and closed the scoring for Melbourne, while Jeon Ga-Eul and Lia Privitelli managed a goal each in between.
It was especially big for Dowie, whose brace earned her the title of the club’s all-time leading Westfield W-League goalscorer.
For Melbourne, this was their biggest win of what was a disappointing season. It was Adelaide’s second heaviest defeat.
In terms of the ladder, this match had a big impact. Melbourne and Adelaide changed places on the ladder, with Victory rising to seventh and Adelaide falling to ninth. Both would finish their seasons in those positions.
2. Round 8: Brisbane Roar 2-0 Melbourne City
Speaking of the ladder, and this match between two of the competition’s strongest sides back in December helped decide things at the top end despite it being nearly two months before season’s end.
For Roar, who had spent most of the season in and around the top four, it marked the first time in the 2017/18 season that they led the pack.
It was two goals from outside the area which decided the result for Brisbane. The first was a right-footed strike from Allira Toby, the second a precise free-kick from Katrina Gorry.
It’s a lead at the top which they would not relinquish throughout the remainder of the season.
For City, they toiled a little and managed to sneak into the finals. They’d have their revenge on Brisbane, defeating them in the semi-finals.
3. Round 11: Perth Glory 0-2 Sydney FC
With four matches left to go and the race for the four as tight as it had been, a win for Perth could have pulled them closer to the top four and had them just about finals bound.
It didn’t matter that Sydney finished with ten players after Kylie Ledbrook was sent from the field for a second yellow card in the 71st minute: the Sky Blues had already scored twice.
Lisa De Vanna had opened the scoring in the 20th minute with a nice left-footed finish, while Chloe Logarzo doubled the lead in 48th minute.
Perth, boasting the likes of Sam Kerr, weren’t able to rally and secure an incredible late comeback result. They slipped to sixth and had to watch a potential finals run slip away.
With the Jets’ shock defeat in Adelaide, Sydney’s victory in Perth moved them up to second on the ladder. Despite Newcastle’s best efforts, Sydney were unmoved for the remainder of the season.
4. Round 13: Canberra United 1-5 Newcastle Jets
It was late January and a spot in the semi-finals was on the line. Just one point separated these two sides, with the Jets in third and Canberra in fifth.
All the signs pointed towards a close match, but what we got instead was anything but as a Katie Stengel-inspired Jets side romped home to victory.
It was tight for a long time, though. The Jets went ahead by two inside the opening 23 minutes, and it was 2-1 at half-time after a brilliant run from Ellie Carpenter clawed them back a goal.
The best was yet to come from the Jets. Emily van Egmond got her second goal midway through the second-half, and Stengel completed her hat-trick in injury-time for five.
It still all came down to the final day for Canberra, who could have snuck in, but Brisbane proved too strong for the girls in green and they crashed out of the running.
5. Round 13: Perth Glory 3-4 Western Sydney Wanderers
After defeat to Sydney and a stalemate in Canberra, a win in Perth’s final round of the season would have given them a shot at playing finals football.
Against the Wanderers, who were fighting to avoid bottom place, things looked grim after four minutes for Perth. The visitors went two goals up inside the opening four minutes.
Sam Kerr scored two early in the second half to pull things back to 2-2, before a 78th minute Rachel Hill goal put Perth in the lead.
It’s the last ten minutes which were the most incredible: Ellie Brush missed a penalty that would have brought it back to 3-3 for the Wanderers. Then, Olivia Price and Erica Halloway scored twice in the final two minutes of normal time for Western Sydney to give them the win.
It was an astonishing fightback, an end-to-end, see-saw fixture and one of the games of the season. It ended up saving the Wanderers from bottom spot too, after Adelaide pulled off a win in the final round.