29/05/2024

The Inner Sanctum's A-League Women Team of the Week for Round 8.

With only three games in the A-League Women, the Round 8 Team of the Week is made up of players who made huge differences in tight contests.

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

Six of the competition’s 10 sides got on the park this week, as Australian sport looks to finally start to recover from COVID postponements.

Goalkeeper and defenders

GK: Jada Whyman (Sydney FC)

The top of the table clash between Sydney FC and Melbourne City contained the battle between the two in-form goalkeepers of the A-League Women.

Melissa Barbieri made some wonderful saves for City but in a 3-0 win, Whyman was brilliant. She ended the game with another clean sheet to make it seven in a row. Whyman is now equal with Lydia Williams for the longest run of matches without conceding a goal.

In a match that might end up being title defining, Whyman put in her best performance for the season.

RB: Isabel Hodgson (Adelaide United)

The Adelaide United skipper was excellent in her 50th game for the club. Hodgson was solid defensively against a very aggressive Wellington Phoenix side. She has had her game time restricted as she returned from injuries this season, but was uninhibited and influential in the 1-0 win.

Hodgson was one of the most influential players on the field and her cross set up the only goal of the game.

CB: Kate Taylor (Wellington Phoenix)

Taylor started the season as a potential star and has justified that early hype since. Wellington is growing in confidence in every game. The Nix may have lost against Adelaide United, but there was very little between the sides.

Up against the attacking threats of Fiona Worts, Chelsie Dawber and Emily Condon, Taylor marshalled her defence and played a fantastic individual game.

LB: Clare Hunt (Western Sydney Wanderers)

Hunt is another frequent member of the team of the week. She rarely makes an error and is often impassable in a one-on-one situation.

Western Sydney has been very strong defensively this season, and Hunt has been one of their best performers.

Against a talented and mobile Perth Glory attack, Hunt was a standout again. Her committed defending denied Perth taking the lead earlier and extending it later.

Western Sydney is always in the game when Hunt is in this sort of form.

Midfielders

Alyssa Whinham (Wellington Phoenix)

This is Whinham’s second consecutive team of the week appearance. After scoring her first goal last week, she delivered another strong performance in midfield for the rapidly rising Phoenix.

Whinham carried the ball through the midfield and constantly tried to create chances for her team. Her ability to twist or push through tight spaces helps break open play, and she was the game’s most dangerous player for long stretches.

It was another eye-catching week from the young New Zealander.

Sarah Hunter (Sydney FC)

Sydney FC has a midfield of depth and quality that no other club this season can match. Sarah Hunter is a player that can fill almost any role in Ante Juric’s side. She has played as a six, and eight, and filled in as a centre back for one match.

In the 3-0 win over Melbourne City, Hunter was dominant for over an hour. She snapped into tackles, distributed the ball cleanly and creatively, and was tireless in her movement.

The only thing missing from her afternoon was a goal, but it was her best game since changing clubs.

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Rachel Lowe (Sydney FC)

Another of Sydney’s stars, Lowe has been in incredible form lately. She scored two goals as Sydney FC overpowered its closest challengers to the title.

Lowe, like Hunter and Mackenzie Hawesby is everywhere in midfield and dangerous in the final third. With no Remy Siemsen in the squad, Lowe drifted forward from midfield to pick up any scoring slack.

Deborah-Anne de la Harpe (Perth Glory)

Perth Glory outplayed Western Sydney for most of Sunday evening. But with the Wanderers defending with stubborn dedication, it would take something special to score against them.

De la Harpe delivered that moment with a stunning, swerving free kick that would be the only goal of the game.

Beyond that goal, she was part of a midfield that denied Western Sydney time to attack while keeping the ball moving to the Perth forwards.

However, it is her goal that will be remembered. It was easily the best of the week.

Forwards

Paige Hayward (Adelaide United)

Hayward’s duel with Wellington’s Zoe McMeeken on Friday was engaging and decisive.

Both players run hard defensively and attack at every opportunity. In the end it was Hayward who got the upper hand, if only for a second. She turned in Isabel Hodgson’s cross for the only score of the match. It was her first in the A-League Women and it kept Adelaide in the top four.

Paige Satchell (Sydney FC)

Satchell was one of Canberra United’s best players last season as they finished in fourth place. She has settled in quickly at her new club and was one of Sydney’s best on the weekend.

Satchell came into the side in place of Cortnee Vine, and Melbourne City’s heralded defence had no answer to her pace and skill on the ball.

She chased down loose balls, sent in crosses, and finished delicately to open the scoring for the day.

Ante Juric faces a selection headache after the Asian Cup. On the basis of Saturday’s performance it will be hard to leave Satchell out even when Siemsen and Vine return.

Lisa De Vanna (Perth Glory)

It was not a big week for strikers. Of the three games, only one ended with a higher score than 1-0. Nevertheless, against Western Sydney Wanderers, Lisa De Vanna was in vintage form.

She was inventive and tricky in a roving strikers role. Although she could not find the goal, she kept the miserly Wanderers’ defence busy and prevented the prodigious Alexia Apostolakis from getting forward too easily.

If De Vanna can continue this sort of form, it will go a long way to helping Perth make the top four.

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