Every combined A-League teams’ previous best shot at the Club Championship

-

We look back at the seasons where each A-League club had the best chance of winning the new Club Championship had the title existed in the past.

First announced in September, the Club Championship will be awarded to the side with the most combined points at the end of the Men and Women seasons.

It is just one of a handful of new initiatives set forth by the A-Leagues in its bid for further equality.

Embed from Getty Images

In addition to establishing a more inclusive website, Keep Up, as well as the leagues’ merging of social media accounts, the Club Championship is perhaps the most exciting new initiative in Australian football due to its status as a world first, in being a combined title for both men’s and women’s teams.

This list will examine each of the clubs best claims for winning the title, had it existed in previous seasons.

Adelaide United: 2015/16 season

The Reds’ unbeaten run of 14 games in this A-League Men season helped to seal the premiership for the club, edging out Western Sydney Wanderers and Brisbane Roar by a single point in the process. Led by the goalscoring talents of Bruce Kamau, as well as Spaniards Isaías and Pablo Sánchez, the club emerged victorious in the 2016 grand final, defeating the Wanderers 3-1 in front of 50,119 fans at Adelaide Oval.

Embed from Getty Images

Meanwhile, it was a slightly different story for their A-League Women team. Despite the best efforts of Rosie Sutton and American Abby Dahlkemper, who netted five goals apiece during the season, the Reds fell agonisingly short of securing a maiden finals berth, just one win behind fourth-placed Brisbane.

Nonetheless, the equal best finish in an A-League Women season for the club would have significantly boosted Adelaide’s claims for winning the Club Championship, had it existed six seasons ago.

Brisbane Roar: 2010/11 season

Thanks to an impressive run of 58 goals scored throughout the 2010/11 season, a third of them shared between Kosta Barbarouses and Jean Carlos Solórzano, Brisbane secured the Premiers Plate with ease after losing just one out of 30 league matches. The Roar’s regular season dominance also carried over into the finals, as club legends Ivan Franjic, Erik Paartalu, Matt McKay and Henrique all converted spot kicks in a memorable 2011 grand final, which finished 2-2 after extra time and 4-2 on penalties.

Embed from Getty Images

In the A-League Women, the Roar were hot on the heels of eventual premiers Sydney FC all season, finishing just one win behind the Sky Blues. However, the Queensland side had the last laugh on this occasion, storming home in the grand final against Sydney, as leading club goalscorers Tameka Butt and Lisa De Vanna both found the back of the net in a dramatic 2-1 victory.

Melbourne City: 2019/20 season

Amidst the chaos of COVID-19, it was the Women’s City team that fared slightly better during the league’s first pandemic-affected season.

Forced to play the grand final behind closed doors in March 2020, Melbourne City Women appeared unfazed by the uncertainty surrounding the world, as a cool 15th-minute finish from Matilda Steph Cately was all it took to round off the side’s undefeated season; the second time in their five-year history they had achieved such a feat.

Embed from Getty Images

Despite a strong showing in the A-League Men, finishing just two games behind the Sky Blues in second place, City were undone in the grand final by cult hero Rhyan Grant’s winner in extra time, as the Victorians failed to capitalise on Jamie Maclaren’s outstanding season in front of goal and their superb run of form heading into the finals.

Melbourne Victory: 2014/15 season

The best performing season for the Men and Women Victory teams, who finished first and second respectively, was an immensely bittersweet one for the latter.

Finishing a staggering 10 points behind the Glory, the Victory Women stared down Canberra United in a tense semi-final, culminating in a penalty-shoot-out which saw Gülcan Koca’s fifth attempt on goal denied by the strong palm of Canberra’s Chantel Jones.

Embed from Getty Images

However, the heartbreaking end to the Women’s season was not to be repeated by their male counterparts. Strong showings up front for superstars Besart Berisha and Archie Thompson throughout the season, as well in midfield for captains Mark Milligan and Leigh Broxham, were once again on display in the finals series, as back-to-back 3-0 victories against fierce rivals Melbourne City and Sydney FC shored up the championship for the Victorian side.

Newcastle Jets: 2017/18 season

The 2017/18 season will forever be etched in the club’s history for the coveted Riley McGree stunner in their home semi-final win against Melbourne City. However, it was such success that could not be repeated a week later, with the Men’s team going down 1-0 to the Victory on grand final day. Nonetheless, it was a season which sparked plenty of highlights for the Jets, mustering an impressive 15 competition wins and a remarkable 29 goals shared between forwards Andrew Nabbout, Dimitri Petratos and Roy O’Donovan.

Embed from Getty Images

It was a similar case of so close, yet so far for the Women’s team on this occasion. A strong third-placed finish for the Jets, led by the goalscoring power of Americans Katie Stengel and Arin Gilliland, resulted in a semi-final berth against Sydney FC, in which a 98th-minute winner from seasoned veteran De Vanna broke the hearts of Newcastle fans and players alike.

Perth Glory: 2018/19 season

Simultaneous grand final defeats across the A-Leagues for Perth in this season truly reflected a campaign of what could have been for both teams.

In the A-League Men, the Glory were far and away the standout team of the competition, dropping just three games in the regular season, thanks to the goalkeeping prowess of Liam Reddy and attacking threat of Irishman Andy Keogh. Despite their strong showing in the regular season, the Glory failed to get the job done in the final, which resulted in an agonising 4-1 penalty shoot-out loss to Sydney FC.

Embed from Getty Images

Despite a 13-goal, golden boot winning season from Sam Kerr, the Glory Women only just managed to sneak into the finals in fourth place, tied with both Sydney FC and Melbourne City on 19 competition points. However, a terrific Kerr hat-trick in the semi-final knocked out premiers Melbourne Victory in spectacular fashion, all before a disappointing Grand final loss to the Sky Blues by an identical 4-2 scoreline.

Sydney FC: 2009/10 season

Beyond a shadow of a doubt, this was the best A-Leagues season for both the Men and Women in Sky Blue, who each lifted the Premiers Plate and the championship trophy at season’s end.

Among the highlights for the Women’s team included the premiership battle in a clutch final round match, in which Leena Khamis’ seventh goal of the campaign got the job done against a red-hot Mariners. A 3-2 victory against Brisbane in an entertaining grand final also helped to secure the club’s second piece of silverware that season.

Embed from Getty Images

In the A-League Men, the song remained the same as Sydney took out the honours on grand final day, following the infamous penalty misses from the Victory’s Kevin Muscat and Marvin Angulo. Fittingly, the club’s goalscoring that season was led by now-manager Steve Corica with seven, as well as present-day Western United manager John Aloisi with nine, as both made strong contributions to their first placed finish.

Western Sydney Wanderers: 2012/13 season

A compromise had to be reached in order to determine the Wanderers’ best performing season, as the A-League Women side’s sole finals appearance in the 2019/20 season coincided with a measly ninth-placed finish for the Men’s team.

The club’s inaugural ALW season included an impressive three-goal showing in their first ever match, before eventually succumbing to Adelaide in a seven-goal thriller. A sharp run of form from Swedish international Louise Fors in the latter half of the season was ultimately not enough to push the Wanderers all the way through to the finals, finishing the season in a respectable sixth place.

Embed from Getty Images

On the other hand, little has to be said for the Men’s team in their inaugural season; arguably the greatest fairytale in the league’s history, as the red and black took out the minor premiership against all odds, but fell just short in the much-anticipated 2013 grand final.

Note: This list excludes Central Coast Mariners, who dissolved after two seasons in the A-League Women, as well as Wellington Phoenix, who joined the ALW at the beginning of the ongoing 2021/22 season.

Statistics sourced from Ultimate A-League

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Jimmy Alexander
Jimmy Alexander
Covering Sydney FC for the 2021/22 A-League season. Studying a Bachelor of Sports Media (Journalism) at Charles Sturt University.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required