W-League Team of the Year 2019/20

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Despite the slight interruption in the past few weeks, it’s been an entertaining W-League season which is about to come to an end with the Grand Final between Melbourne City and Sydney FC this Saturday.

With that comes the often-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 coming together to collectively decide the best XI.

Some of the Contenders

Goalkeepers
Aubrey Bledsoe – Sydney FC. The American import saves her team in crucial moments with 54 saves (the second highest). She is the best ball-playing goalkeeper in the competition giving her defenders in front of her such high confidence.
Casey Dumont – Melbourne Victory. Finishing third this season for most saves and securing four cleans sheets, Dumont again proved her ability in front of the net.
Claire Coelho – Newcastle Jets. Snatching up most saves for the competition, Coelho was a standout amongst her team who finished bottom of the ladder.
Lydia Williams – Melbourne City. Another stellar season for the City keeper who racked up a whopping eight clean sheets this season. She only conceded four goals throughout the campaign, helped by some magnificent diving saves.

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Defenders
Alanna Kennedy – Sydney FC. It was somewhat of an interrupted season for the Matilda due to national duty and injury getting in the way of league appearances. She made six starts and came off the bench once in the regular season. When she is on the field she is generally a class above with her tackling and leadership and it was no different this campaign.
Carson Pickett – Brisbane Roar. The defender was queen of creating chances for her side as well as getting in most crossed for the Roar. Her ability to move up the field to help her side up-front was an asset.
Charlotte Grant – Adelaide United. The 2018 NPL rising star and Young Matilda’s fullback featured in all 12 of Adelaide’s games. She demonstrated her versatility and development by playing left back, right back and centre midfield throughout the season, thus proving her ability to perform consistently at the top level.
Clare Polkinghorne – Brisbane Roar. The captain again played a season just as good as her previous ones. Leading by example, she just failed getting her team into the finals this season.
Ellie Brush – Sydney FC. The dual sportswomen has been a rock for the Sky Blues. In a changing backline Brush has featured in every match and never looks under-pressure. Her goal in the derby would be the season highlight.
Ellie Carpenter – Melbourne City. Her surging runs out of defence have been a delight to watch all season long. Her pinpoint assists have made her one of the most damaging players in the league when she has time and space.
Emma Checker – Melbourne City. Has been a crucial cog in the smothering City defence this season with her trademark combative and physical style. She remains composed when under pressure and executes key passes to release midfielders.
Jenna McCormick – Melbourne Victory. The defender made her fulltime return to the W-League and football this season, comfortably settling in the Victory’s defence.
Kaleigh Kurtz – Canberra United. The American import was a rock at the heart of the Canberra defence. Kurtz played every single minute in her first W-League campaign and boasts some impressive stats with 28 interceptions, 69 clearances, 13 blocks and one assist.
Karly Roestbakken – Canberra United. The young fullback has risen in the last couple of years, making her Matildas’ debut in the World Cup against Brazil. A strong defender who never backed down from a challenge, Roestbakken had a strong and consistent passing game and was often a threat in attack.
Rebekah Stott – Melbourne City. Tough and gritty, Stott has been one of the most reliable defenders in the competition for years. Willing to put her body on the line, she has made several key tackles and interceptions this season.
Sam Staab – Western Sydney Wanderers. The young American defender was a mainstay for the Wanderers with her uncompromising style and physicality.
Steph Catley – Melbourne City. Captained City to an undefeated season and was a superstar performer on the left wing. Her gut running was on show all season as she balanced marshalling the defence with getting involved in the action up front.

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Midfielders
Aivi Luik – Melbourne City. A week in week out performer, Luik has exhibited excellent ball control and decision-making all season long. Setting the tempo throughout the midfield, Luik is regularly involved in scoring chains.
Amber Brooks – Adelaide United. After a standout campaign last season, Brooks returned to lead the Reds’ backline once again. Although the club did not perform as well this time around, she was a rock in defence and without her leadership and tenacity, Adelaide would have almost certainly finished bottom. Her trademark hard tackling game also proved to be valuable as she had a tackle success rate of 70% with only one yellow card.
Denise O’Sullivan – Western Sydney Wanderers. The Irish international would have been a serious Player of the Year contender if only she remained at the club for the full season. It is no coincidence that Western Sydney’s fortunes began to dip off the back of their key midfielder’s departure at the conclusion of her guest stint in January.
Elise Kellond-Knight – Brisbane Roar. In only seven appearances, Kellond-Knight impacted in every way and comfortably fit herself alongside Gorry.
Ella Mastrantonio – Western Sydney Wanderers. The ‘maestro’ is never afraid to shy away from a challenge and her constant work rate was an underrated engine fuelling the Red and Black finals bid this season.
Emily van Egmond – Melbourne City. Has been a standout performer all season long, controlling play through the middle of the ground while being lethal up front with six goals. She patrols the field with authority and her passing skills are a class above. Another brilliant campaign from one of Australia’s most talented products.
Kara Cooney-Cross – Western Sydney Wanderers. The 18-year-old burst onto the scene with her tenacious link-up play and stunning long-range strikes early in the season.
Katrina Gorry – Brisbane Roar. Not just a star in the W-League, but also for Australia, Gorry again proved her dominance in the midfield. Even with her time away to focus on the Matildas, Gorry remains one of Brisbane’s finest players.
Lias Araujo – Adelaide United. The Brazilian midfielder brought a passing range to Adelaide’s midfield that they had been lacking in previous years. Her street football flair and toughness from a ‘favela’ upbringing was evident for all to see as she had a 79.2% pass accuracy with the joint-most yellow cards in the league.
Milica Mijatovic – Melbourne City. The Serbian import has caused headaches for defences this season by making her presence felt in the front third of the field. Her brutal attack on the ball has created endless chances for her and her teammates.
Morgan Andrews – Perth Glory. Andrews’ second half of the season made her an irresistible selection. She proved a great barometer for her Perth Glory side as her defensive contribution became part of an improved performance. Her golden moment came in round 12 clash with Brisbane, with two goals, one a long-range free kick leading her club to an important win.
Teresa Polias – Sydney FC. The skipper is perhaps the best holding midfielder in the league. Her best trait is her ability to intercept opposition passes. Has had a big part to play in the relatively young Sydney FC side in integrating young talent into the starting team. Never content with the result and always pushes her team to be better – a true leader.
Yukari Kinga – Melbourne City. The Japanese maestro is an unsung hero of the Melbourne City line-up. Her passing accuracy through the middle of the ground is exquisite, regularly cutting up opposition defences, leading to goals.

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Forwards
Allira Toby – Brisbane Roar. The forward, whilst not making the biggest impact in front of the net, her ability to set up her teammates was next to none. A player far from selfish, she was able to lead the forward line through her actions and create opportunities.
Caitlin Foord – Sydney FC. An experienced campaigner now, Foord had another solid season even if she made only nine starts in the league before signing a contract with English superpower Arsenal. Despite this she still finished the regular season as equal high assist holder. Her pace on the wing is a valuable asset and she is no stranger to running straight at defenders with the ball.
Darian Jenkins – Melbourne Victory. Scoring four goals for her side, Jenkins played a pivotal role in the recovery of Victory’s season not only in front but throughout the field.
Hayley Raso – Brisbane Roar. Another of Brisbane’s squad who spent time with the Matildas, Raso scored four goals in her eight appearances. A broken nose set her back in her international endeavours but back in Australia she played a pivotal role in a successful midfield line up.
Kristen Hamilton – Western Sydney Wanderers. The American import brought pace, flair and goals to a Wanderers side crying out for all that and more. She concluded the season in a four-way tie for the Golden Boot, with seven goals in 12 appearances.
Kyah Simon – Melbourne City. After a slow start to the season, Simon settled into the City line-up and became a consistent goal scorer. She has a knack for capitalising on her chances whether it’s off her boot or head, racking up six goals.
Lynn Williams – Western Sydney Wanderers. The USWNT representative was an ever-present threat in the final third and at times appeared a class above her opposition. Her premature departure impacted the Wanderers significantly.
Mallory Weber – Adelaide United. The hardworking winger was Adelaide’s live wire in a season of disappointment. She was terrific one-on-one and with pace to burn it was not hard to see why she finished in the top ten for crosses and shots throughout the league.
Natasha Dowie – Melbourne Victory. The club captain finished equal first with seven goals for the golden boot in her 13 appearances. Good at conceding fouls but great at creating chances for her team down front.
Remy Siemsen – Sydney FC. A breakout season which started out of the blocks with a double in the Big Blue, announcing her return to Sydney in style. Her tenacity in the front line allows her team to play hopeful balls and Siemsen generally makes something out of nothing. Still a raw talent at such a young age but if nurtured correctly could be the next big thing.
Simone Charley – Canberra United. The winger was constantly causing problems for opposition defenders. A strong runner on the ball, Charley was close to unstoppable on her best day and could run straight through a team with ease. Definitely wasn’t shy in front of goal, scoring two goals in the first 11 minutes of the season.
Sofia Huerta – Sydney FC. The American import enjoyed her second season in Australia with three goals and one assist to go with her performances. It took her a while to find her rhythm but her experience was crucial to Sydney’s young side. Most importantly she made 21 key passes this season which highlights her eye for a killer ball.

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Coaches
Ante Juric – Sydney FC. The head coach again put forth an entertaining team to watch with substance as a result on the field. He should be credited for quick turnarounds after a couple of disappointing losses, particularly to Western Sydney, making sure his team won the next match. Did well with a disrupted side due to injury, national duty, transfers, and inclement weather conditions.
Dean Heffernan – Western Sydney Wanderers. In his first season as a head coach, the Wanderers legend lived up to all expectations by achieving what no-one else has ever managed in the club’s history: finals football. As the season reached its business end he contended admirably with a serious loss of personnel and will have learnt valuable lessons that will motivate a tilt at silverware next campaign.
Jeff Hopkins – Melbourne Victory. After a slow start to the season, Hopkins lead his team to the semi-finals where, like the year before, they were unfortunately defeated.
Rado Vidosic – Melbourne City. In his second season at the helm Vidosic has led City to an undefeated season. The team has slowly grown throughout the year, initially grinding out wins before flourishing in the back half of the campaign. An excellent communicator, Vidosic has expertly managed the competition’s most talent squad and has them playing their best football at the right time of year.

W-League Team of the Year 2019/20
Goalkeeper: Lydia Williams
Centre Backs: Rebekah Stott & Jenna McCormick
Fullbacks: Steph Catley & Ellie Carpenter
Midfielders: Milica Mijatovic, Emily van Egmond & Morgan Andrews
Wingers: Kristen Hamilton & Simone Charley
Centre Forward: Remy Siemsen
Coach: Rado Vidosic
Assistant Coach: Ante Juric
Bench: Casey Dumont, Ellie Brush, Yukari Kinga, Natasha Dowie

Awards
Defender of the Year: Ellie Carpenter
Midfielder of the Year: Emily van Egmond
Forward of the Year: Remy Siemsen
Young Player of the Year: Ellie Carpenter
Player of the Year: Emily van Egmond

Feature image credit: Melbourne City

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