Top Imports of the Westfield W-League Season: Natasha Dowie
The courageous captain led Melbourne Victory to their maiden Westfield W-League Premiers Plate in an extraordinary season for the Englishwoman.
Having never reached the Westfield W-League Finals Series during her time in Melbourne, a breakthrough campaign beckoned for Natasha Dowie.
The 30-year old delivered with style, packaging and posting nine goals in 13 matches during the regular season.
Despite the emphatic campaign, the hope of achieving a Westfield W-League double was ultimately crushed by Sam Kerr and her Perth Glory outfit.
A Kerr hat-trick at AAMI Park helped down the Victory 4-2 in their Semi-Final, however the loss failed to take the gloss off of Dowie's tremendous season.
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Dowie's 25% conversion rate equalled that of Westfield W-League 2018/19 Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr.
The English striker would often step up when her side was in need. One such time was her goal in Round 12 that all but secured the Victory's first finals appearance since 2014.
Hat-trick stumps eventual Champions
The Victory's first encounter with Sydney in November brought about a brilliant showing of Dowie's finishing prowess.
Three goals in 51 minutes had heads turning across the league, each goal crucial in the season-defining 3-2 result away from home.
A converted penalty was sandwiched by a stunning volley from a deep angle and a neat one-on-one finish past Audrey Bledsoe, the Victory captain scoring from three of her four shots on target.
Leading from the front
A rain-soaked 4-3 defeat to Brisbane Roar and a 3-2 defeat to Adelaide United had Jeff Hopkins' side reeling heading into a top-of-the-table clash with Perth in Round 9.
Another loss and the Victory's chances of qualifying for the finals would have been in jeopardy, such was the chaotic nature of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 season.
However it was Dowie who stood tall in the best way possible, netting the opener as her side battled to a 2-1 result in another defining victory.
If Kerr had not showed up in such emphatic fashion in that Semi-Final, the Victory would have considered themselves every chance to go on and beat Sydney in the Grand Final considering their results against the Westfield W-League Champions this season.
It's also worth mentioning that Natasha Dowie has four goals against the title-winning Sky Blues this season.
Irrespective of what could have been, the former Liverpool star enjoyed her most fruitful season in Australia so far, and the 30-year-old has the squad and the coach to go a couple of steps further next season.