Western Sydney Wanderers once again delivered the performance of the round but how many of their stars made the Westfield W-League Team of the Week in Round 7?
Their 4-0 crushing of Canberra United on Boxing Day sent the Red and Black to the top of the table for the first time in Season 2019/20, but there were also stand-out displays from Melbourne Victory and Brisbane Roar as the chase for the top four hots up.
Sydney FC bounced back from their derby day blues last week, so let’s find out which 11 players stood head and shoulders above the rest. We are in a 4-2-3-1 formation this week.
Claire Coelho (Newcastle Jets)
The first half at Lions FC Stadium was truly the Claire Coelho show. The Newcastle keeper made 16 saves in total, 12 of which came in the opening stanza as the Roar and Jets went into the sheds 1-1 at half-time.
Brisbane had dominated but over, and over again, Coelho repelled everything the Queenslanders could throw at her until Claire Polkinghorne broke the Hunter side’s resistance at the third bite of a goal-mouth scramble.
Coelho denied Hayley Raso, Tameka Yallop, Natalie Tathem and Carson Pickett as Roar poured forward. Substitute Hollie Palmer grabbed the winner on a rebound to make it 2-1, but Coelho still picked herself up to make an outstanding late save from Pickett’s fizzing free-kick.
Erica Halloway (Western Sydney Wanderers)
A masterclass in ruthlessness from the Wanderers earns Erica Halloway a spot at right fullback after the Red and Black’s superb win over Canberra United.
The Wanderers barely put a foot wrong across the park in the Boxing Day clash and Halloway was one of the best. The veteran’s delivery for Kyra Cooney-Cross’ opener was inch-perfect, her crossing was dangerous all night, and her energy on the right wing was only matched by teenager Courtney Nevin on the opposite flank.
Sam Staab (Western Sydney Wanderers)
The American has given Western Sydney such steel at the back. In Thursday’s hammering of Canberra, Staab was almost faultless in leading the Wanderers from the back.
Although only 22, the Washington Spirit dynamo organises the Red and Black with the authority of a grizzled veteran, and defends with poise the club have often lacked in previous seasons.
And what about that long throw!
Alanna Kennedy (Sydney FC)
Having shipped five to the Wanderers last time out, the pressure was on for the likes of Kennedy in Sydney’s fixture with Adelaide. It was a welcome return to form for both the Sky Blues and the Westfield Matilda.
Kennedy’s intelligent use of the ball and willingness to drive through midfield helped Sydney get on top of the visitors in the second half.
She was also given a big test by a willing Adelaide frontline, but Kennedy held the Sky Blues defence firm and produced seven duels, three clearances and three interceptions along the way.
Courtney Nevin (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Nevin drew big praise from Wanderers’ boss Dean Heffernan after the Red and Black’s win in Canberra and it is not hard to see why the former fullback was so impressed.
The Westfield Young Matilda proved a constant thorn in Canberra’s side all evening, capably dealing with the threat of Simone Charley while getting the opposition defence on the back foot all the while.
Nevin, still only 17, created two chances, won six of 11 duels contested and three of five tackles attempted.
Denise O’Sullivan (Western Sydney Wanderers)
Another commanding display from the Ireland international, who ran the show alongside the equally impressive Ella Mastantonio on Boxing Day.
O’Sullivan’s graft helped establish a platform for the Wanderers’ derby dominance last round and she was once again one of the best on ground at McKellar Park, where she shone in the colours of United during the 2019/20 campaign.
She produced a match-high 82 touches of the ball, won a match-high five tackles, won a match-high 14 duels and also cleaned up with four interceptions, also a game-best.
Katrina Gorry (Brisbane Roar)
Brisbane Roar threw everything they had at the Newcastle Jets and the Katrina Gorry was at the heart of almost all of their best attacking moves.
‘Mini’ used every inch of her diminutive frame to dominate the Lions FC Stadium field as Roar controlled possession. She created a match-leading seven chances among her 70 passes, while completing an impressive 82.9% of them.
Gorry ripped off three shots on goal, getting two on target, while also winning more than half of her duels (five of nine).
Kyra Cooney-Cross (Western Sydney Wanderers)
The talented teenager earns another position in the Team of the Week after a classy outing against Canberra.
Cooney-Cross followed up her Sydney derby double with a perfectly measured header to open the scoring and sent the Wanderers en route to a resounding win. And it got even better from the ex-Melbourne Victory starlet after that, with delightful touches and combinations integral to her side’s big statement.
Amy Jackson (Melbourne Victory)
Jackson shone for Melbourne Victory in their 2-1 win over Perth Glory – and you could argue her stunning first goal merits the midfielder inclusion in the round’s best eleven on its own.
The Australian sent the reigning Premiers on their way with a tracer bullet from distance, a strike that will surely go down as one of the goals of the season.
Her second was not as spectacular but proved to be the all important match-winner. Jackson’s all action display in midfield (three tackles, seven duels, two clearances and an interception) also deserves praise.
Mallory Weber (Adelaide United)
The American found herself on the losing side again in Sunday’s 2-0 reverse to Sydney but it was another classy display from Weber.
Weber wreaked havoc in the opening half as Sydney failed to contain her pace and willingness to run at defenders. Her work ethic was faultless – and on another day, the Reds star would have buried the two second half chances she carved out.
It is hard to see Adelaide’s luck not turning based on their performance against Sydney, which was typified by Weber’s spirit.
Kristen Hamilton (Western Sydney Wanderers)
There are partnerships and combinations flowing to sublime effect across the pitch for Western Sydney and the pairing of Hamilton and compatriot Lynn Williams up top is certainly no exception.
We’ve opted for Hamilton on this occasion. She created three chances and hit the post before a fantastic piece of individual determination and skill saw her fire in the Wanderers’ third late in the evening.