Westfield W-League Season Review: A roller-coaster campaign

With a Grand Final appearance fresh in the memories of the squad following  their previous campaign, the expectations were high for Bobby Despotovski's squad leading in to the 2017/18 season.

Glory retained its core group, with Sam Kerr, Kim Carroll, Sarah Carroll, Melissa Maizels, Shawn Billam, Shannon May, Tash Rigby, Patricia Charalambous, Nikki Stanton and Jaymee Gibbons all linking up again.

The vacant international spots left by Alyssa Mautz, Vanessa DiBernardo and Arianna Romero, who continues to recover from a knee reconstruction, were filled by the ever-composed Amanda Frisbie, Costa Rican international Raquel 'Rocky' Rodriguez and rising talent Rachel Hill from Orlando Pride.

The right ingredients appeared to be there and all signs pointed to another highly-successful Westfield W-League season.

After enjoying a blistering start with consecutive 4-1 wins, which included a memorable demolition of reigning champions Melbourne City, Glory looked to be the team to beat yet again.

Following those triumphs, however, it proved to be a rather frustrating season for the WA side, as a trend of quality performances not securing the desired results developed.

And this was despite Kerr and Hill setting the league alight with their prolific goalscoring which sees them currently sitting first and third in the Golden Boot race respectively.

Assistant Coach Jessine Bonzas was full of praise for the effort and footballing displays Glory produced throughout the season, but conceded it was disappointing that the squad didn't reap the rewards they deserved by missing out on a finals spot.

"We showcased some great attacking play, but we just couldn't manage to get the results we needed," she said.

"It's disappointing and we feel that as a collective, but I'm a big believer in staying positive and working towards a successful future."

While it was a shame to see the season end prematurely for the close-knit group, there were plenty of highlights and promising signs for the future of the Perth Glory women's team.

Best Match: Round 11 - Perth Glory 4-4 Canberra United

Rodriguez v Canberra

 

It was a game that capped off a superb weekend down in the South West, with Glory and the capital side showcasing the best of the W-League in an eight-goal shootout. With player signings and free coaching clinics taking place on the eve of the match in Bunbury, it was a fantastic experience for the players to connect with the fan base outside of Perth. The local community duly came out in force at Hay Park and were rewarded with an instant classic which featured Kerr scoring her second treble of the season in a 4-4 draw. Canberra's equaliser may have soured the mood and put a major dent in Glory's finals hopes, but it was a breathless encounter that the squad and crowd alike are unlikely to forget in a hurry.

Best Moment: Lexie Moreno debut

It was a memorable week for the 16-year-old homegrown talent who learned of her selection in the travelling squad and then scored on debut in Canberra within the space of just 72 hours.

Bonzas, who has been coaching Moreno since the youngster was 14, said it was a "proud moment" not only for the player, but for the club and the WA football pathway as a whole.

"It was truly special, but I look at all five of the youngsters we’ve had in the squad this season and they’ve really applied themselves immensely and learned from the opportunity they have had to train alongside the likes of Kerr and all the international players," the coach added.

Moreno's breakthrough is one of many positives to take out of the W-League season, with the teenager hoping to build on her recent exploits as she continues to develop under the guidance of Despotovski and Bonzas.

Best Individual Performance: Sam Kerr hat-trick v Newcastle Jets

Sam Kerr flipping

 

It's fair to say we aren't short of highlight-reel moments for the one and only Sam Kerr again this season, with the world-class striker reiterating her value to Glory and the women's game on an almost weekly basis. The Young Australian of the Year for 2017 netted 13 times in just nine appearances, which included an incredible nine-minute hat-trick against Newcastle in the 3-3 draw at McDonald Jones Stadium.

The individual goal spree helped Glory to steal a point from a game that seemed dead and buried at the 77th-minute-mark and was a performance that encapsulated Kerr's lead-by-example approach. And the 24-year-old's third of the evening also saw the world treated to another signature back-flip celebration.

Internationals: Amanda Frisbie, Raquel 'Rocky' Rodriguez and Rachel Hill

internationals

 

All three new overseas signings slotted seamlessly into the squad, with Despotovski even labelling Hill as "the nicest person you'll ever meet". They all brought their own unique attributes and the Glory faithful warmed to them immediately.

Frisbie, an American forward-turned-defender, marshalled the defence superbly with her composure and confidence on the ball allowing Glory to play out from the back and launch attacks with ease.

'Rocky', the first ever Costa Rican to grace the W-League, won fans over instantly with her hard-tackling and willingness to contribute at both ends of the pitch.

Hill continued her prolific goalscoring record from college and the NWSL by scoring nine times as she struck up a devastating partnership with Kerr in attack. The 22-year-old striker will be remembered for her scintillating debut brace against City and her clinical hat-trick against Brisbane in Round 4. She's certainly a player to keep an eye on and surely one that has the potential to lead the line for the United States women's national team in the future.

Best Goal: You decide!

Nicola Bolger


We thought we'd give you, the members and fans, the opportunity to vote on your favourite Glory goal of the campaign with a poll, so keep your eyes peeled for a post across our social media channels over the next week. 

----------------------------------------------------

Despite the heartache of a season that ended prematurely, the outlook is promising for Glory, with the morale continually reaching new heights and plenty of youngsters pushing through the ranks to make a name for themselves in purple.

#CREATEDESTINY