Another season of highly unpredictable W-League action has almost come to an end with the Grand Final between Sydney FC and Perth Glory primed for the Grand Final this Saturday.

This of course means the always controversial W-League Team of the Year from The Football Sack: the original and longest running W-League Team of the Year selection.

Between ten writers, The Football Sack has watched every single match of the season with all ten coming together to collectively decide the Team of the Year.

Some of the Contenders

Goalkeepers
Britt Eckerstrom – Newcastle Jets. A natural leader who organises the back line and is no stranger to an absolute worldie.
Casey Dumont – Melbourne Victory. Joint first for most number clean sheets throughout the season, Dumont’s key presence for Victory was felt after she suffered a concussion in the semi-finals with Perth and had to be subbed off.
Eliza Campbell – Perth Glory. In her first season in Perth, Campbell made a solid impression. Characterised by highlight-reel moments, her theatrical stops earned her multiple ‘save of the round’ awards throughout the season.
Mackenzie Arnold – Brisbane Roar. Last season’s Goalkeeper of the Year, Arnold had another strong campaign between the sticks for Roar. Though conceding more goals than last season, she’s done more than enough to retain her status of one of the competition’s top keepers.
Sarah Willacy – Adelaide United. Also known as “The Wall”, Willacy had a breakout year as Adelaide United’s number one goalkeeper after being down the pecking order for the past few years. Was terrific one-on-one and coming out for the ball, making the second most saves in the W-League.

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Defenders
Alanna Kennedy – Sydney FC. The brick wall defender has been crucial to Sydney’s defence this year and can score a killer free kick too.
Amber Brooks – Adelaide United. Brooks was a revelation at the heart of defence for Adelaide with her partnership alongside Checker seeing Adelaide form one of the League’s best defences. Also proved something of a creative spark for United, laying on three assists with her trademark long-ball which was a valuable weapon.
Arin Wright – Newcastle Jets. As soon as Arin Wright touches the ball you can tell she’s one of the best on the pitch. She arrived half-way through the Jets’ season and was a blessing to an injury-ridden side.
Carson Pickett – Brisbane Roar. Pickett’s efforts in both attack and defence have been invaluable for Roar this season. Her chance creation – particularly considering she’s a fullback – has been especially stellar.
Cass Davis – Newcastle Jets. Functioned as a consistent and reliable defender for the Jets. Davis started every single game of the season and was the anchor of the back line.
Clare Polkinghorne – Brisbane Roar. Roar’s undisputed on-pitch leader, Polkinghorne brought in her tenth year at Roar with her usual commanding displays from the back. Nothing more needs saying. You already know how good she is.
Elizabeth Ralston – Sydney FC. The zippy no-nonsense defender has kept it tight as the back, making tackles at crucial moments and getting forward in attack.
Ellie Carpenter – Canberra United. Her versatility to play a number of roles makes her one of the best youngsters in the league. Her relentless efforts to bomb forward and take on opposition players make her a constant threat.
Emma Checker – Adelaide United. Leading United beautifully this year, Checker was a constant presence playing every minute of every game. Composed on the ball, Checker’s reading of the play was a highlight while her marshalling of a young team was key to United’s best season yet.

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Hannah Brewer – Newcastle Jets. Provides pure energy and commitment in defence. Brewer is a versatile defender who loved bombing up the pitch and starting attacks.
Jenna McCormick – Brisbane Roar. Firmly staking her case for Matilda’s selection, dual-code athlete McCormick has looked the complete package at centre back. She complements hard-nosed defensive compatriot Clare Polkinghorne’s playstyle with her excellent passing and on-ball ability.
Katie Naughton – Perth Glory. The most recent Chicago Red Star to join Glory, Bobby Despotovski recruited the commanding centre-back and played her in the heart of his defence from the start of the season and throughout. She’s an imposing player that often took the role of subduing the threat of the opponent’s best forward.
Natasha Rigby – Perth Glory. Glory’s flying full-back was a mainstay in a much-improved Perth Glory defence this season. Linking up with a new-look defensive unit, Rigby took it in her stride: earning one assist for her attacking forays while contributing defensively with six blocks, 18 interceptions and 40 clearances for the season.
Rachel Corsie – Canberra United. The Scotswoman took the armband in her first W-League season and her performances showed why coach Heather Garriock instilled trust in her. Capable of reading the game excellently, she played out from the back capably while chiming in with a huge tackle here and there.
Samantha Johnson – Melbourne Victory. The American has been a dominating presence all season, marshalling the Victory backline with a no-nonsense approach.
Sofia Heurta – Sydney FC. The international has made a big impact to the club in the second half of the season, creating attacking opportunities up front whilst being strong at the back.
Steph Catley – Melbourne City. Catley’s return from injury late last year was the spark City needed. Upon her return the Matildas fullback showed leadership to act as the catalyst to City’s late revival and surge up the table. Had Catley been available for the whole season we probably would have seen City in the finals.
Teigen Allen – Melbourne Victory. At only 24, the fullback has had an impressive 77.8% tackle success rate and has been ever reliable in defence.
Theresa Nielsen – Melbourne City. Donning the number 88, the Danish international exceeded the high expectations by being one of the best one-on-one defenders this season. Her versatility proved to be significant as she was often called upon to shift into various positions as well as making runs up-and-down the wing.

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Midfielders
Celeste Boureille – Brisbane Roar. The midfield glue holding her team together, it could almost be argued Boureille was Brisbane’s most important player this season. Her passing and recycling of possession has been phenomenal.
Christine Nairn – Melbourne Victory. Technically brilliant, the attacking maestro has been pivotal in driving her team towards the Premiership, creating the second highest number of chances this season.
Clare Wheeler – Newcastle Jets. This industrious midfielder plays with the maturity and awareness of a player well beyond her years. Wheeler has a bright and exciting future.
Danielle Colaprico – Sydney FC. The American has fitted in nicely to Sydney FC, being a key midfield player and creating an array of attacking chances for her side.
Elise Kellond-Knight – Melbourne City. Along with Butt, Kellond-Knight was one of the big signings Rado Vidosic made this season. Her presence in the heart of midfield often goes unnoticed but her ability to control games and make the centre of the park her own makes her one of the world’s most difficult players to break down.
Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir – Adelaide United. Jonsdottir carved out a niche as one of the best defensive midfielders in the league [when available] and proved a smooth operator for United. Jonsdottir boasted more than a 60% success rates in duels, aerial duels and tackles alongside a 72% passing success rate which were key to United’s ball movement throughout the season.
Hollie Palmer – Brisbane Roar. 2018/19 has been a breakout season for Palmer, the versatile Brisbane youth product making 13 total appearances: up from two last season. Just 18 years old, Palmer figures to be a central figure at Roar for many seasons to come.
Jenna Kingsley – Newcastle Jets. A mainstay in the Jets’ attacking line-up. Kingsley was a reliable number 10 who got the most out of her surrounding attackers.
Lo’eau LaBonta – Western Sydney Wanderers. The American added some flair to the Wanderers midfield, standing out in a struggling side.
Nikki Stanton – Perth Glory. Stanton is the grit in Glory’s midfield and has the equal most yellow cards (five) in the league to prove it. But it was her aggression that made her so important to her team this season, breaking down opposition attacks, winning 50/50s and putting Glory on the front foot.
Refiloe Jane – Canberra United. The South African international was snapped up by United after Garriock witnessed highlights on YouTube and her performances in the middle of the park were nothing short of consistent. She provided the screen for Canberra’s defence while setting the tempo with her excellent passing game.
Tameka Butt – Melbourne City. Arguably the league’s best midfielder. The 27-year-old did not miss a beat in her first season at Melbourne City. Just about all of City’s attacking movements involved the Matildas’ star, who was ranked second in the league for assists. Her most impressive display coming in City’s 4-0 win over the Newcastle Jets.
Yukari Kinga – Melbourne City. Despite having achieved everything in football, Kinga played with the same tenacity which has seen her regarded as one of the world’s best. The 34-year-old added plenty of experience to City side which was, at times, decimated by injuries. She was equally as damaging up-front as she was in defence, being a useful source of goals.

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Forwards
Allira Toby – Brisbane Roar. Toby has continued her strong showings in front of goal, matching last season’s total of five goals. If the coming seasons can see the energetic number nine improve her conversion rate, she’ll almost definitely begin forcing her way into Matildas consideration.
Alyssa Mautz – Perth Glory. Mautz played a crucial role this season in linking Glory’s midfield to the attack this season. Her gut-running and endurance characterised a fantastic season in which she tallied four goals and three assists.
Caitlin Foord – Sydney FC. Scoring ten goals for her side this season, the technically gifted Matilda has been one of the best in the league.
Elizabeth Addo – Western Sydney Wanderers. The Ghana international looked threatening with a powerful strike, scoring two goals for the lowly Wanderers this season.
Emily Gielnik – Melbourne Victory. Pace, crossing ability and an eye for goal; the Matildas’ winger has had one of the best seasons in her career and is bound to board the plane to France.
Fanndís Friðriksdóttir – Adelaide United. It was a slow start for Fridriksdottir but when she was available and fit, she really added an exciting element to the United team. Fridriksdottir often started the chain of attacking movement and her two goals was a solid return.
Natasha Dowie – Melbourne Victory. The former Liverpool ladies striker has done well this season and put herself in good stead to be called-up by England’s Phil Neville for the WWC.
Princess Ibini – Sydney FC. The youngster has been a super sub for the Sky Blues, scoring four goals this season and injecting speed onto the wing.
Rachel Hill – Perth Glory. We saw a different Rachel Hill this season but one that was just as lethal. She Scored six goals (three less than last season) but led the league in assists (seven) showing she’s just as good at setting up goals as she is at smashing them home.
Sam Kerr – Perth Glory. The league’s crown jewel had yet another season to savour, taking out another Golden Boot and becoming top scorer in W-League history. With 16 goals and four assists to her name Kerr has lit up the league once again and has done it in style.
Taylor Smith – Newcastle Jets. She traumatised every single fullback she came up against. An incredible player whose season was sadly cut short by injury.
Tessa Tamplin – Newcastle Jets. The academy graduate took the last two games of the Jets’ season and made them her own. She absolutely stole the show and will look to announce herself as an established W-League player in the future.
Veronica Latsko – Adelaide United. There was a point in the season where all of Adelaide’s goals came courtesy of Latsko, which says a lot about her importance to the team. Latsko wasn’t just part of the attacking set-up, she was the focal point of it, finishing third in the Golden Boot ladder. Her tenacity to press defenders was also key for United’s defensive structure.

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Coaches
Ante Juric – Sydney FC. In his second year at the club, Juric has managed to lead his team through periods of inconsistent results and into the finals once again.
Jeff Hopkins – Melbourne Victory. Despite crashing out in the semi-final, Hopkins can leave this season with his head held high, leading Victory to their first ever Premiership after three torrid seasons [which included back-to-back wooden spoons].
Mel Andreatta – Brisbane Roar. Continuing to build her reputation as the W-League’s most respected coach, Andreatta’s third year at the helm in Brisbane – though falling just short of silverware – has seen a persistence in her side’s on-field competitiveness and impressive youth development record.

W-League Team of the Year 2017/18

Goalkeeper: Britt Eckerstrom
Centre Backs: Alanna Kennedy & Clare Polkinghorne
Full Backs: Ellie Carpenter & Carson Pickett
Midfielders: Elise Kellond-Knight & Tameka Butt
Wingers: Caitlin Foord & Emily Gielnik
Strikers: Sam Kerr & Natasha Dowie
Coach: Jeff Hopkins
Assistant Coach: Mel Andreatta
Bench: Eliza Campbell, Samantha Johnson, Danielle Colaprico, Christine Nairn, Alyssa Mautz

Awards

Defender of the Year: Clare Polkinghorne
Midfielder of the Year: Tameka Butt
Forward of the Year: Sam Kerr
Young Player of the Year: Ellie Carpenter
Player of the Year: Sam Kerr

Feature Image Credit: Brisbane Roar

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