26/02/2024

Photos: Brisbane Roar; Melbourne Victory; Canberra United/Twitter

Every game meant something in the final round of the A-League Women. As usual, there were outstanding performances in some defining games.

The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week comprised of the best performing players that took part in Round 14 of the A-League Women season.

Every game meant something in the final round of A-League Women matches. Sydney clinched the title in a tight contest against Adelaide United.

Elsewhere, Melbourne Victory narrowly held onto fourth place. Melbourne City and Brisbane Roar recorded important wins for different reasons, and a new star arose for Canberra United.

Goalkeeper and defenders

GK: Chloe Lincoln (Canberra United)

In a 0-0 draw between Canberra United and Melbourne Victory it was tough to decide between Lincoln and Casey Dumont for this spot. Both keepers stopped a variety of chances and faced some of the best attackers in the A-League Women.

Lincoln has emerged late in the season to be a player to watch in future. She has been brilliant since donning the gloves a month ago and was again brilliant as she faced a Victory side that tested her for the full 90 minutes.

LB: Emma Ilijoski (Canberra United)

Another of Canberra’s under siege defenders. Ilijoski is making her second appearance in the team of the week after featuring in round one of the A-League Women season.

She is a very intelligent, skilful defender and up against Polly Doran and Lia Privitelli on the flank she was vital to Canberra leaving Melbourne with a point.

What was particularly noticeable beyond her composed and no fuss defending was that she was constantly directing and  communicating with the wingers and other defenders. She is a rising star and a young leader.

CB: Kate Taylor (Wellington Phoenix)

This is somewhat of a ‘captain’s pick’ decision. The game between Western Sydney and Wellington Phoenix was not televised, but by all accounts by those who were there, it was a brilliant match.

Wellington won 3-2 in dramatic style in a contest in which Taylor scored. When she plays well, the Phoenix play well, and Taylor has been one of the most impressive discoveries this season.

The only way to follow the game was through Teo Pellizeri’s voice memos, and social media. Luckily they both caught Taylor’s goal.

RB: Kayla Sharples (Adelaide United)

The American defender was a rock for Adelaide United in the first half. Her tackling, passing and long runs with the ball kept her side in the contest.

Although the Reds lost the game 1-0, Sharples was her side’s best player. As Sydney surged in the second half she remained impassable. It took a miraculous finish from Paige Satchell to finally beat the Adelaide defence.

Midfielders

Rhianna Pollicina (Melbourne City)

Pollicina might be a dark horse for the Julie Dolan Medal. She’s a crafty, creative goal scoring midfielder who is unafraid to track back and win the ball.

She put in another impressive performance against Western Sydney, scoring one and forging numerous chances for her teammates. One of the signings of the season delivered yet again.

Kyra Cooney-Cross (Melbourne Victory)

She did not score, although almost did in spectacular style, but Cooney-Cross put on the sort of display that has made her one of Australia’s hottest football properties.

The midfielder attacked down the middle and left wing. She dribbled past opponents, linked up play and attempted to score when the opportunity arose.

When Cooney-Cross is in full flight, she is almost unstoppable. Only the woodwork prevented her from achieving a perfect game against Canberra.

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Katrina Gorry (Brisbane Roar)

Gorry was in peak form against the Newcastle Jets. She was involved at every opportunity and her vision and skill was the difference early before the result blew out.

Her assist to set up Anna Margraf was perfection. She interchanged passes with Rie Kitano in midfield before taking out the entire defence with a well weighted pass for Margraf to round the keeper and finish.

Mackenzie Hawkesby (Sydney FC)

In Sydney’s title clinching win over Adelaide United, Hawkesby was dominant. The midfielder has been the premiers’ best and most consistent player all season.

The final match of the regular season was the stage for Hawkesby to display all of her skills. She was dribbling on the wing, tackling in the middle and shooting from range.

Her set pieces and crossing were always dangerous, and her work rate was essential to the result.

Forwards

Larissa Crummer (Brisbane Roar)

Crummer has been an effective link player at centre forward for the Roar this season, but has not taken advantage of her chances in front of goal. In the first of two games against Newcastle she was in fine touch and scored three well taken goals as Brisbane ran out to a 5-1 win.

A composed tap in, a header from a corner and a well taken but powerful finish after beating an offside trap resulted in her best performance of the season.

Paige Satchell (Sydney FC)

Satchell scored a stunning winner to guarantee the premiership for Sydney. Her chipped shot was perfectly placed and deserved for her efforts in the match.

The New Zealand winger looked the most likely to score for much of the game. Her dribbling and direct play was behind most of Sydney’s best attacks.

Satchell turned out to be a key addition to Sydney FC this season. Scoring the title winning goal was the cherry on top of a fantastic campaign.

Michelle Heyman (Canberra United)

Heyman did not score against Melbourne Victory, but she was otherwise brilliant in a game that was mostly for pride.

Her powerful running, unpredictable dribbling and intelligent passing was vintage form from the reigning Dolan Medalist.

The goal eluded her thanks only to some amazing goalkeeping. Heyman in full flight is still one of the best sights in Australian football.

The Inner Sanctum’s A-League Women Team of the Week. (Design: Will Cuckson)

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