Most iconic A-League Women grand finals

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From on-field brilliance and off-field build up, we have seen some exceptional grand finals in the history of the A League Women’s.

Let’s take a look back at some of the most iconic finals over the years.

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2008/09 grand final: the inaugural season

Queensland Roar 2 – Canberra United 0

First launched as the W-League, where better to start than with the first-ever season. Queensland Roar (now known as Brisbane Roar) finished the season top of the ladder and went on to host third placed Canberra United.

The Queensland line-up included current Matildas Clare Polkinghorne, Elise Kellond-Knight and Tameka Yallop (then Tameka Butt), and were up against a Canberra side of Lydia Williams, Grace Gill, Ash Sykes and Nicole Sykes.

Lana Harch and a 17-year-old Yallop scored twice for Queensland in the first half and Canberra were unable to pull back the difference, making Queensland the inaugural champions.

 

2012/13 grand final: year of the underdogs

Sydney FC 3 – Melbourne Victory FC 1

This was the first season of the W-League where the team that finished premiers didn’t make it through to contest the final. In fact, neither of the top two teams made it with underdogs Melbourne Victory coming from third and Sydney FC from fourth.

This season Sydney’s line-up included Caitlin Foord, Alanna Kennedy, Sam Kerr, Chloe Logarzo and Kyah Simon. While Victory were led by Steph Catley, Brianna Davey, and American Danielle Johnson.

Sydney knocked out first-placed Brisbane Roar 3-2 in the major semi final, while Melbourne Victory took their semi final against Perth Glory into extra time with Victory eventually sneaking the win 3-4 on penalties.

When they met in the grand final, it was hard to split the two teams with the score at 1-all going into half time, thanks to goals from Swedish import Petra Larsson for Victory and Nicola Bolger for Sydney.

But it was Sydney who came out of the sheds stronger, with goals to Kerr and Simon giving them the win 3-1.

 

2015/16 grand final: dream debut for Melbourne City

Melbourne City 4 – Sydney FC 1

The foundation of Melbourne City meant they were the second expansion team to enter the W-League.

Steph Catley, Beattie Goad and Lisa De Vanna contributed to what can only be described as a perfect run for City, as they went through the entire year undefeated to finish premiers in their inaugural season.

Sydney FC were previous two-time winners of the league and this season boasted Alanna Kennedy, Teigen Allen and Kyah Simon on their roster.

Both teams had close semi finals with City only winning on penalties against Brisbane Roar, and Sydney beating Canberra 1-0.

This seemed to ignite a fire in City’s belly as they came into the final holding almost 60% of possession, and at the end of the first half were up 1-0 thanks to Scottish import Jen Beattie.

Simon hit back for Sydney in the second half but it wasn’t enough as City scored three more times through Kim Little, Goad and De Vanna.

This meant City finished the season undefeated and gave the club their first ever championship of any kind in Australian football.

 

2017/18 grand final: it’s a three-peat

Melbourne City 2 – Sydney FC 0

Melbourne City’s inaugural season proved not to be a fluke and kickstarted them into becoming the first team ever to win three championships in a row.

However, City were lucky to even make finals this year as they finished the regular season in fourth place.

They went on to beat premiers Brisbane Roar 2-0 in the semi-final. Steph Catley appeared in yet anther grand final alongside Lydia Williams, Rebekah Stott and Aivi Luik.

Sydney FC were backed by American import Emily Sonnett, Chloe Logarzo and Lisa De Vanna. They finished in second place and beat the Newcastle Jets 3-2 in their first round of finals.

It was a closely contested final with both teams mirroring each other in statistics. It was City’s Welsh import Jess Fishlock who gave her team the advantage in the first half.

Sydney were unable to find an answer for themselves before Jodie Taylor scored again for Melbourne City, putting them ahead 2-0 and eventually earning them their elusive three-peat.

 

2020/21 grand final: extra time

Melbourne Victory 1 – Sydney FC 0

This was the last season played under the W-League branding, but it was the first time that a grand final had ever gone into extra time.

Sydney FC finished the season as premiers, and their roster included Jada Mathyssen-Whyman, Clare Wheeler and Remy Siemsen.

Melbourne Victory finished the season in third and under captain Angela Beard had players including Kyra Cooney-Cross, Lisa De Vanna and Melina Ayres.

In one of the closest grand finals ever seen, defensively both teams were hard to fault but neither could manage to string together a goal.

Despite desperate attempts from both teams, by the end of 90 minutes no one had managed to score and the match went into 30 minutes of extra time.

But even during the added time no one was able to score.

In the 120th minute, Victory had a corner kick in the final minute of added time where in the dying seconds, Cooney-Cross sent it from the corner and managed to curve the ball through the ‘keepers hands and into the back of the net to score for Victory!

It was a full match performance, giving Victory the championship.

While there have been some fairy tale finishes and unexpected upsets, one thing that’s certain is we are bound to see more iconic finals in the future.

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Grace Buckmaster
Grace Buckmaster
Sports Media student at the University of Canberra. Covering Canberra United for the 2022/23 season. Women's sport enthusiast.

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