The Grand Final has been played, a winner decided and it’s time for most players to take a well-deserved break. It’s also time for our always controversial 2011/12 Westfield W-League Team of the Year.

Player of the season. Courtesy: Bryan Crawford – FFA

This season I have gone for a 4-4-2 because of the lack of consistent forwards playing in the W-League as well as the many quality midfielders strutting their stuff in the competition.

What cannot be stressed enough is that selections are made not on reputation but on form in the 2011/12 Westfield W-League season alone.

Some of the Contenders
Female goalkeepers are on the rise! The most important player on the field has been found wanting in the past for Australia. Girls just don’t like playing in goals; it’s seen as boring and too much responsibility – it’s much more fun out on the paddock and who can blame them! In saying this, there are a growing number of talented youngsters who are taking up the custodian challenge with gusto.

Goalkeepers:
• Lydia Williams – Canberra United. Australia’s number one shot stopper, true and steadfast.
• Casey Dumont – Brisbane Roar. Young ‘keeper with a future. Casey consolidated well at the back for the Runners-up.
• Brianna Davey – Melbourne Victory. Another of the new talented young goalkeeper brigade.
• Mackenzie Arnold – Perth Glory. One of Australia’s up and coming ‘keepers. Mackenzie started the season well but as her team fell apart she also seemed to slide.

Centre Backs:
• Caitlin Cooper – Canberra United. A sturdy and consistent performer, with Brush she forms the best central duo with in the league.
• Ellie Brush – Canberra United. A well balanced defender who leads from the back.
• Thea Slatyer – Sydney FC. Her strength on and off the ball could be seen by all.
• Rebekah Stott – Melbourne Victory. Transferred from Brisbane for game time and proved her worth.
• Tanya Oxtoby – Perth Glory. Always gave her best at the back.

Wing Backs:
• Clare Polkinghorne – Brisbane Roar. Was in her usual tough and reliable form this season.
• Stephanie Catley – Melbourne Victory. A young but maturing player with good prospects who loves attacking from the back.
• Servet Uzunlar – Sydney FC. Her move from the centre of defence to the wing has paid big dividends. Now allowed to push forward in possession her middle name has turned to “dangerous”.
• Gema Simon – Newcastle United Jets. An attacking and goal scoring wing defender who always impresses.

Midfielders:
• Sally Shipard – Canberra United. The epitome of the classic ‘sitting in the hole’ Number 6 midfielder.
• Aivi Luik – Brisbane Roar. Threads balls through the defence with ease.
• Tameka Butt – Brisbane Roar. This livewire handful may have started the season a little slow but warmed up to produce her best form at the business end.
• Teresa Polias – Sydney FC. The diminutive holding midfielder is always in the right place.
• Kylie Ledbrooke – Sydney FC. Battled courageously.
• Kendall Fletcher – Melbourne Victory. The US import was in her usual devastating form. I prefer her as the 6 but can also play as an 8 or 10.
• Katrina Gorry – Melbourne Victory. Was the form Number 10 of the Westfield W-League this season.
• Donna Cockayne – Adelaide United. As a young player she is an old hand for her team.
• Emily Van Egmond – Newcastle United Jets. Maturing into a sensational player for the future.
• Elisa D’Ovidio – Perth Glory. Battled hard in midfield but needs to keep her cool.
• Vedrana Popovic – Brisbane Roar. New player to the Roar from Adelaide and looked the goods this year.

Forwards:
• Michelle Heyman – Canberra United. Was the sensation of the season and won the Golden Boot. Every team would like to have a Heyman-esque forward.
• Taryn Hemmings – Canberra United. Supported Heyman up front and showed her versatility by dropping into wing defender when Elyse Perry missed out on the finals.
• Marijana Rajcic –Adelaide United. Scored some wonderful goals and always looked dangerous.
• Emily Gielnik – Brisbane Roar. Made her mark on women’s football scoring eight goals from eight substitute appearances (why she rarely started is anyone’s guess).
• Catherine Canulli – Brisbane Roar. Showed class but lacked goals.
• Leena Khamis – Sydney FC. Sydney’s most consistent forward.
• Jodie Taylor – Melbourne Victory. The UK import was always breaking away up front, continually getting herself into great positions but lacked some finishing.
• Lisa De Vanna – Newcastle United Jets. The decorated striker had her moments.
• Rachael Quigley – Adelaide United. A young but stable player who gave her usual best.
• Hayley Raso – Canberra United. The Gold Coaster is a livewire and has a big future. Didn’t have much game time this season until finals time.
• Kyah Simon and Caitlin Foord – Sydney FC. Unfortunately due to injuries this talented pair didn’t have enough game time to make their usual impact.

Coaches:
The only two female coaches in the league totally outshone their male counterparts this season. Both come well credentialed with A-Licenses in the form of Jitka Klimkova for Canberra United and Melbourne Victory’s Vicki Linton. An honourable mentionable was Adelaide United’s David Edmondson who helped mould a new look and competitive side against all odds.

Final Eleven for The Sack’s Team of the Year

Goalkeeper: Lydia Williams – Canberra

Centrebacks: Ellie Brush – Canberra, Thea Slatyer – Sydney

Wing backs: Clare Polkinghorne – Brisbane, Servet Uzunlar – Sydney

Midfield: Sally Shipard – Canberra, Tameka Butt – Brisbane, Kendall Fletcher – Melbourne, Katrina Gorry – Melbourne

Forwards: Michelle Heyman – Canberra, Emily Gielnik – Brisbane

Coach: Jitka Klimkova – Canberra

Awards
Best Defender: Servet Uzunlar
Best Midfielder: Kendall Fletcher
Best Forward: Michelle Heyman
Player of the Season: Michelle Heyman
Most Improved/Young Player of the Season: Katrina Gorry

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