A vast majority of the 8599 that showed up at AAMI Park for the W-League semi final were Melbourne Victory fans, but after Sam Kerr tied up her hat trick to send Perth Glory through to the W-League Grand Final, many in the crowd left as newly minted Kerr fans.

The 2018 Young Australian of the Year single handedly turned fortunes around for her Glory side, scoring the equaliser and laying off an assist in regular time, storming to her 2nd in the first half of extra time, and her 3rd in the second half of extra time – rounding up the topsy turvy game to the final score of 4-2.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

One would be surprised to note that this hat trick by the all time scorer of Australia’s W-League and America’s National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL) was her first ever in a W-League finals campaign.

“I don’t normally score in finals so it’s pretty special. I’ve seem to have made a lot of finals and never score so that felt really good,” Kerr spoke at the post match interview with the media.

“I think when you score goals like that, everything goes out of the window but I’m happy with my performance but most importantly the team.

“It feels really good for my confidence to finally get the monkey off my back in the finals. If I’ve scored a hat trick I think I’ve done alright, but in the first half I thought I struggled,” Kerr said.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

The Kerr show kicked into action only from the 71st minute onwards. Leticia McKenna’s hopeful cross into the box looked to be cleared by either Victory’s Laura Alleway or Teigen Allen, but it was Kerr that which was the quickest – sneaking between the pair to side foot the tricky ball into the bottom left corner

Her second came in the 96th minute. Flanked by two Victory defenders and an onrushing Mason-Jones, Kerr allowed a long ball to sail over her, bounce off the turf, before delicately lifting it over Victory’s custodian –  a goal that just required one touch by the maestro.

In the 106th minute, Kerr placed a through ball into the path of McKenna from outside the box. As McKenna drove forward, Kerr lingered, rounded her marker, and surged into the box in a timely fashion, as McKenna drilled one across the face of goal. Kerr versus the keeper. She doesn’t miss. Kerr knew it was too little too late for Victory, and whipped out her trademark somersault celebration. A smattering wave of applause went around the stadium – it was almost the sound of approval.

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Perth Glory lost both ties to Melbourne Victory this season, a similar 2-1 defeat each time out. But Kerr was ever-confident as the game dragged on to extra time.

“Once it went to extra time, I felt fine. You can see in the last little bit we really outran them,” Kerr said.

“Once we entered 15 minutes into first (half of) extra time, I knew we were gonna win it.

“We felt really confident, we lost to them twice but we felt we’ve done better in every game and could’ve won those games. It’s a massive confidence boost for us,” Kerr said.

Glory’s head coach, Bobby Despotovski, has now fired the Glory into only their third W-League Grand Final. He thought that their showing was the “best performance of the year”, and hails Kerr’s contributions.

“I think she can be better, much better than that. She’s the best player in Australia by a country mile, but she’s always looking for ways to improve, she deserves everything that comes her way,” Despotovski said.

Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

His opposite number, Jeff Hopkins, was full of praise for the 25 year old as well.

“There seems to be almost a bit of a spell around her, she’s a great player, she affects games and she did really well. I can’t take anything away from her,” Hopkins says.

As Perth Glory prepare to face Sydney FC, Kerr has the chance to help her Glory side win it for the first time in their history, but that would mean defeating the very club that she won her first and only W-League Championship with back in 2012/13.

“It would be unbelievable, I got to stop myself dreaming just to focus on the game, but it gives me chills thinking about it, it would honestly be a dream come true for me and the girls,” Kerr said.

Feature image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Journalism undergrad at Monash University, Kai is a multimedia journalist covering Melbourne Victory. Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. Once "stole" Shinji Kagawa's plane ticket.