The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week comprised of the best performing players that took part in Round 3 of the A-League Women season.
Sadly we were denied one game this round. Canberra United vs Perth Glory has been delayed until January.
However the four matches that were played resulted in some brilliant individual performances. Here are the ones that stood out above the rest.
Goalkeepers and defenders
GK: Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne City)
Barbieri is an all time great of Australian football. She is the leagues oldest player at 41 but is not resting on her trophy laden reputation. With star recruit Sally James still injured Barbieri was commanding against Adelaide.
City won the game 3-1 as their attackers found form. It was the club legend that made the win look easy on paper. Barbieri sharply denied Fiona Worts with two athletic saves. One was from a stinging drive from inside the box. The other was a dipping, swerving shot from long range.
Even when she was finally beaten by Chelsie Dawber, it was after making a strong save from a bullet header from Shadeen Evans.
RB: Polly Doran (Melbourne Victory)
Doran is making her second consecutive appearance and Jessika Nash was unlucky to miss out. Doran had the tougher opponent and the more entertaining battle and wins the position again.
Her head to head matchup with Brisbane’s Shea Connors was one of the best duels of the season. Polly Doran was determined and athletic as ever.
She did not impact the game as much going forward but made as desperate intervention to stop Connors shooting unopposed.
Melbourne Victory have a perfect record after three games. Doran is the in-form player in an unbeaten side.
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CB: Jessie Rasschaert (Brisbane Roar)
Another repeat entry after a second strong performance by the Roar defender. Rasschaert has been imperious for Brisbane so far this season. Although they conceded three goals against Victory, she was one of her teams best performers once again.
Last week she was highlighted exclusively for her defensive efforts. This week, she displayed her ability with the ball. It was her long pass that split the defense to assist Shea Connors and bring Brisbane back into the contest.
CB: Courney Nevin (Melbourne Victory)
Nevin was signed by Melbourne to be a left back. But with Victory facing a defensive crisis, she stepped into the central role and performed well against a dangerous Brisbane attack.
In a position she is still very much learning at the top level, the Matilda had to content with Katrina Gorry, Mariel Hecher and Shea Connors at various times.
Her ability to carry the ball out of defense and step around players helped build attacks for Melbourne and relieve pressure.
She was probably fortunate not to concede a penalty but when you are in form, these things tend to go your way.
LB: Ally Green (Sydney FC)
Green was more adventurous than usual as Sydney FC defeated Wellington Phoenix. She pushed much higher up the pitch and tried to take advantage of the New Zealander’s inexperience at this level.
Her nutmeg of Zoe Mcmeekan and shot of goal was a moment of deliberate, audacious skill and she was as defensively solid as always when the Phoenix attacked.
Ally Green is one of the most consistent fullbacks in the league. This should be the first of many appearances in the Team of the Week.
Taylor Ray (Sydney FC)
Sydney FC began the season without their two best midfielders in Clare Wheeler and Theresa Polias. Three weeks in they have won each game convincingly. One of the reasons is the emergence of Taylor Ray as the ball-winning general in the center of the pitch.
Sydney have an efficient, unpredictable attack that has scored eight times so far this season. Ray gives the team the support to attack and was dominant against Wellington.
Kyra Cooney-Cross (Melbourne Victory)
Cooney-Cross returns to Team of the Week after missing out in Round Two. She again played a deep midfield role and dictated play from in front of the defense.
Her enviable passing range was on full display against Brisbane. She was either knitting together the midfield or releasing the wingers into space. Her long, pinpoint ball to Harriet Withers helped set up Victory’s first goal.
Rihanna Pollicina (Melbourne City)
The City playmaker was given full license to use her considerable talents against Adelaide United.
Pollicina with the ball at her feet is a confident, tricky footballer with the vision to unlock defenses and the skill to execute.
Her long run and sideways pass to Holly Mcnamara was one highlight of the game. However, her first goal in City colors was one to remember.
Collecting the ball on the left side of the box, she sidestepped infield and curled a 20 yard strike over Annalee Grove to give City the lead.
Her ability from free kicks should have given City an earlier lead. Her whipped in pass found Hannah Wilkinson but the striker could not direct her header on goal.
The pair combined later when Pollicina’s corner kick was nodded in by the tall striker. This was her best game since joining the club.
Cortnee Vine (Sydney FC)
Vine is simply playing incredible football. Her goal to open the scoring against Wellington was one of class and skill. She sprinted past her marker, ran up along the line and as the defense prepared for a cross she curled it in off the outside of her foot.
These are the types of goals scored by players who are completely aware of how good they are. The scary thing for the other teams is she seems to be getting even better.
Shea Connors (Brisbane Roar)
Connors is one of two American’s in this weeks team. She was electric against Melbourne Victory and as mentioned earlier, her battle with Polly Doran was highly entertaining.
She only scored the one goal after racing through the Victory defense and placing it beyond Casey Dumont but was Brisbane’s best hope throughout.
Only a close offside call denied her and The Roar another goal before Victory sealed the win. Her tireless skillful performance earns her a spot in the Team of The Week.
Lynn Williams (Melbourne Victory)
She is in Australia for the Holidays but not here to relax. The U.S international was the difference in a close game for the second round in a row.
Williams scored the opening goal with a bullet header. She set up the second with a determined run and cross and decided the game with her last assist.
After picking up the ball just inside halfway, Williams accelerated into the final third. She changed directions and switched feet as she dribbled then fired in a low cross for Catherine Zimmerman to settle the result.
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