The Inner Sanctum has put together a team of the week comprised of the best performing players that took part in Round 9 of the A-League Women season.
There were 17 goals across four games in the A-League Women on the weekend. Adelaide enhanced their finals contention, and Perth Glory climbed into the top four with a dramatic comeback. Melbourne City rebounded from last week’s loss and Canberra played out a fast-paced draw with the Newcastle Jets.
Here are some of the standout performers.
Goalkeepers and Defenders
GK: Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne City)
Once again Barbieri gets the nod, she only narrowly beat out her opposite keeper in this game, Mia Bailey. When Brisbane played City it was an entertaining, incredible game that went to the final minutes. Both keepers were exceptional and it took a goal of the season contender to beat Bailey.
Barbieri had more close-range saves including one that decided the match in the final seconds. She is the best in the country right now. Although it is also encouraging to see some contenders coming up.
Right Back: Hayley Taylor- Young (Canberra United)
She has gone from a perennial but impressive substitute last season to a key player in 2021/22.
Taylor-Young has been used on the wing, at left-back, and at right-back this season. Against Newcastle, she had her best game for the season. In a highlight packed 3-3 draw, she was committed in defence and dangerous in attack. Her left-footed cross set up Ashleigh Sykes’ goal but she was also busy all game.
CB: Kayla Sharples (Adelaide United)
Adelaide consolidated their top-four position with a 3-0 win over Western Sydney. Sharples was key to that victory in a strong display at the back. She opened the scoring with a physically courageous effort at the far post and was impassable in defence.
LB: Jamilla Rankin (Brisbane Roar)
The breakout star fullback last season was used centrally by The Roar against Melbourne City. It was a move made out of necessity but she was excellent in a new role.
Rankin’s distribution and pace made her an asset in defence. She was creative on the ball and kept the best centre-forward in the league Hannah Wilkinson in check for most of the game.
The potential for Rankin to learn new positions is an exciting for Brisbane and possibly one day The Matildas.
Mie Leth Jans (Perth Glory)
Leth Jans is one of Perth’s best recruits from a roster of outstanding recruits. The Danish midfielder works hard defensively, helps conduct the play, and now she is scoring goals.
After hitting the bar last round, she was able to score the winner against Wellington Phoenix. It capped off a great individual display from the midfielder.
Alyssa Whinham (Wellington Phoenix)
This makes it three weeks in a row for Whinham. She has quickly become one of the competition’s in-form playmakers. Until she stops making the highlight reels she will probably continue being selected in the Team of The Week.
Whinham set up Wellington’s first goal of the game with a defence-splitting pass. She is a player beginning to realize the range of her skills and is a delight to watch.
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Katrina Gorry (Brisbane Roar)
The Matildas could have really done with Mini Gorry against South Korea. In her 100th A-League game, she was involved and creative. She is a traditional number 10 and is completely in control of whatever area of the pitch she has the ball in.
When Gorry steps up to the penalty shot, it is never in doubt.
Rhianna Pollicina (Melbourne City)
The other “Mini” in a number 10 shirt to take the field on Saturday. While Gorry was dominant for Brisbane, Pollicina was a game-changer for City.
She scored the equalizer with a spectacular free-kick that swerved in from the left side of the field. In the dying minutes, she set up the winning goal with another set piece from the other side.
Pollicina only needs a moment to impact the result. She often does it in brilliant style.
Marie Dolvik (Newcastle Jets)
This is Dolvik’s second appearance in the Team of the Week. She returns to the lineup for the first time since round one.
The Norwegian striker scored one from long range after cruising through traffic then set up another for Sophie Harding with a perfect pass beyond the defenders.
Her ability upfront recalls Kyah Simon in her peak years in the domestic league. A scorer and a creator, Dolvik has a claim to the A-League Women’s best import.
Chelsie Dawber (Adelaide United)
The Red’s center-forward is, alongside Wilkinson, the best striker in the competition. She scored another double to keep her side in third position and notch up her sixth for the season.
There is now a sense of inevitability when Dawber is in on goal. She finishes with absolute confidence. Both goals were low and into the bottom corner.
She was exciting last season, but this year she has evolved into an elite forward.
Sophie Harding (Newcastle Jets)
Eyebrows were raised when Harding was selected over Jets’ all-time leading scorer Tara Andrews. But the speedster repaid the faith in her with a well-taken goal in a phrenetic football match.
She has the pace to break free of the last line of defence and showed the quality to finish calmly past Keely Richards in the Canberra goal.
Newcastle has some serious depth and talent upfront. Harding was excellent and a deserved debutant in the team of the week.
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