The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week comprised of the best performing players that took part in Round Seven of the A-League Women season.
As the A-League Women reaches the halfway point, many matches still remain unpredictable. Melbourne City increased their winning run to four in a row while Sydney FC remain undefeated and in frightening form.
Close games and big wins alike featured some strong individual performances. Some will be long remembered, all will impact the season.
Goalkeeper and Defenders
GK: Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne City)
She is becoming a regular in this column. The League’s oldest player is very possibly its best this season. Melissa Barbieri has been in incredible form so far and her performance in the 1-0 win over Adelaide United was excellent.
Barbieri made two crucial but different saves for City. In the first half, she showed athleticism and reflex to deny Fiona Worts. In the second, she showed experience to cleverly position herself to stop Emily Condon equalising when a goal looked certain.
RB: Emma Checker (Melbourne City)
Checker has been a rock for City as they have climbed the ladder. She has also been an impassable force for attackers to face. She is a no-fuss defender and has gone slightly underappreciated so far this season. However, she is almost always amongst City’s best players.
She was exceptional against the in-form Adelaide strike force. Checker played a great individual match but also marshalled a young defence to another clean sheet.
CD: Claudia Bunge (Melbourne Victory)
Much of Melbourne Victory’s championship defence relies on Claudia Bunge. Without Kayla Morrison, she is the only centre back in the side and against Western Sydney, she was excellent.
Bunge’s best moment came when a Wanderers goal looked likely. The ball was played in perfectly towards Bryleeh Henry. The young striker had changed her run to stay onside and improve her position and Bunge had to keep one eye on her and one on the ball.
She lunged to intercept and got a foot in just ahead of Henry who had shaped to shoot. It was agonisingly close to an own goal but Bunge had made a vital intervention.
LB: Ally Green (Sydney FC)
Green continues to be a consistent performer for Sydney FC and one of the country’s best fullbacks. Against Canberra United she made the highlights reel. Green does not score many goals, but when she does they are spectacular.
Her long range belter last season may have looked hard to beat but her curling strike from an improbable angle this weekend is a close contender for goal of the year.
Katrina Gorry (Brisbane Roar)
Gorry is another frequent inclusion in the team of the week. The Matildas playmaker put in another dominant performance as she helped Brisbane come from 2-0 down to beat Wellington Phoenix.
Gorry hit the post with one long range effort and forced an amazing save from Lily Alfeld with another. In the 87th minute she scored the winning goal from the penalty spot. Brisbane’s number 10 is routinely showing all the qualities that have made her an icon for club.
Alyssa Whinham (Wellington Phoenix)
If all-time-great celebrations were enough to get you into the team of the week, Winham’s would have earned her a spot. She looked thrilled, amazed and shocked when she scored with a composed finish to give Wellington an early lead.
Whinham kept her feet when the Roar defenders stumbled around her. She perfectly placed her shot but hit it with enough power to beat Georgina Worth. Winham stayed involved throughout in a strong midfield performance.
She was a standout player in the best match by the Phoenix so far.
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Rebekah Stott (Melbourne City)
Stott came into the season known as a defender. She began each game as a defensive midfielder but in the absence of Holly McNamara, Stott pushed forward in a new role for Melbourne City.
As a more attacking midfielder, Stott was clever, creative, and decisive. She linked the defence with the attack and provided the assist for Rhianna Pollicina’s goal.
When the game got tight at the end and Adelaide pushed for an equaliser, Stott held onto the ball and stopped momentum.
Hana Lowry (Perth Glory)
Like Stott, Lowry has played a deeper role this season for Perth Glory. In her first two campaigns with the club, she has done her best work around the penalty box. In 2021/2022, Lowry has been used as a deep lying playmaker.
Against the Newcastle Jets, she reminded the League what she can do closer to goal.
A long pass from Mie Leth Jans was brought down with her left foot then struck sweetly with her right. It was one of the goals of the season and a moment that the tight game needed.
Lowry is one of the countries most promising youngsters. In week seven, she reminded us why.
Rhianna Pollicina (Melbourne City)
The Melbourne City attacker was in effervescent form against Adelaide United. She was creative with her passing, dangerous with her dribbling and deadly with her finishing.
Pollicina scored the only goal of an entertaining match when she beat two Adelaide defenders to toe poke home the winner. She created an opportunity to win the game and did it in brilliant style.
Maria Rojas (Sydney FC)
With Cortnee Vine and Remy Siemsen called up to the Matildas, Maria Rojas stepped in and made sure Sydney FC did not miss a beat. She scored three very different goals to help her side to a 6-0 win.
Rojas earned and then dispatched a penalty for her first. Her second was a classy chip over the keeper and her third a close range volley from a corner kick. It was a great display from a classy player.
Princess Ibini (Sydney FC)
Ibini was a creator and scorer for Sydney FC. Her goal was the result of her pace, balance and skill. As she raced behind the Canberra defence, she received a push and could have gone to ground in the penalty box. She kept her feet to prod home for Sydney’s fifth.
She then set up Rachel Lowe for the final goal of the game. It was a perfectly weighted and timed through pass that unlocked the defence.
It was a statistically productive day for the forward and she did it in style.