‘The amount of work she puts in is phenomenal’: Heyman proves class with brace against Newcastle

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After a slow start to her season, off the back of her brilliant 2020/21 campaign, Michelle Heyman has set the A-League Women’s competition alight over the past fortnight.

This form culminated in a dominate performance on Friday evening against the Newcastle Jets, as she was able to further her lead at the top of the competition’s all-time goal scoring charts, collecting her 78th and 79th career league goals.

After scoring twice in her first three games of the season, Heyman went on the second longest goal drought of her career, with Canberra’s captain unable to find the net in her next six fixtures.

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During this time her squad also struggled to get results, sitting second last without a win just two weeks ago, after their disappointing loss to Wellington.

As the old adage goes, form is temporary, class is permanent. Heyman proved this statement to be about as factual as they come.

Since that 3-0 home defeat to newcomers Phoenix, Canberra’s captain has been on a mission, scoring four goals in her last three matches. This has resulted in seven points for her side to drag them out of the battle for last.

She saved her best performance of the year for her last home game of the season, as Canberra were able to easily slot three past Newcastle in wet and difficult conditions.

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An assist to teammate Allira Toby early in the match was just the beginning, as the captain found the back of the net twice before the end of the first half, including a classy, composed finish for her second.

Such is the quality of Heyman that despite the performance, she would have loved to have gotten even more out of the fixture.

“It is a positive feeling, however, you are always wanting more. It is always unlucky walking away with two and not three,” she said.

“However, feeling quite positive and feeling quite good in myself now that I have been getting more goals in.”

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Another player who reaping rewards for her effort throughout the season is Toby, who scored her second goal of the campaign after some link up play with her captain.

Speaking on her recent partnership with Toby, who is in her first season at the club, it was clear that playing with her made the 33-year-old’s football easier.

“It’s been good, simple little touches, I know how she plays so it is easy for me to make my runs off her,” Heyman said.

“She is always looking to roll in and switch that play. It is simple for me, nice easy running.”

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For Canberra head coach Vicki Linton, a performance like Friday’s is just the reward for the hard work that Heyman has put in throughout the season, without previously getting her desired goals.

“The amount of work she puts in is phenomenal and the data will back that up. The amount of running she does, she always comes to the ball then makes another run,” she said.

“She is sensational in that position and as a captain, so as a goal scorer it is really pleasing to see her get that reward. For her that’s the ultimate reward, getting three points but also her doing that part of her job which is good.”

Despite the slow start to the season, Canberra now have a very good chance to finish in a respectable sixth place, with much of this turnaround firmly on Heyman’s shoulders.

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Even on a personal note, the striker now sits in fourth place on the goalscoring table with six, only four goals away from Fiona Worts, Chelsie Dawber and Hannah Wilkinson on 10.

With games against Brisbane Roar and Melbourne Victory still to come, there is still an opportunity to score even more goals, and potentially climb higher up the leader board.

Even if she does not manage to score again this season, the last fortnight culminating in Friday night’s performance has proved just how good Heyman still is, and that she certainly has many more A-League Women’s games and goals left in her.

Featured Image Credit: Anthony Caffery

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William Makepeace
Current Intern covering Canberra United. Sports Media student at University of Canberra who lives and breathes Football

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