W-LEAGUE: The Road to W-League Glory

It took just 14 seconds for Perth Glory Women to assert their dominance this season, and 13 matches later, our Glory Girls earned the right to contest our club's second Westfield W-League Grand Final.

Caitlin Doeglas’ early strike set the tone for what would turn out to be a wonderful season for Perth Glory. That strike would prove the second fastest W-League goal ever, yet Glory would still find more and more notable moments on their run to the biggest game in Women’s Football in Australia.

We reminisce the highlights and all the moments in between as Glory prepare for an historic Westfield W-League Grand Final this Sunday.

Round 1: Kerr bags a brace to mark Glorious start
Perth Glory 4 (Doeglas 1’, Sutton 21’, Kerr 68’, 83’)
Western Sydney Wanderers 2 (Burgess 38’, Petinos 50’)

The season began with a bang, after Doeglas put Perth Glory ahead after the home sides first attack and just 20 minutes after, Rosie Sutton opened her account for the new season with a smart finish. The Wanderers were determined not to make it easy though, pegging back Glory to 2-2 within 30 minutes of gameplay, before Samantha Kerr showed her brilliance to outclass the Red & Black in front of a crowd of over 1000 people at nib Stadium.

Round 2: Glory remain unbeaten after keeping out Roar
Perth Glory 0
Brisbane Roar 0

The first game of the year at Dorrien Gardens was all about the goalkeepers; both Melissa Maizels and ex-Glory goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold were superb between the sticks for the full 90 minutes. Kerr and her Matildas counterpart Katrina Gorry had several chances to open the scoring, but the 'keepers proved too good on the day, the match ending scoreless.

Round 3: Jets penalty edges Glory in Newcastle
Newcastle Jets 1 (Hoy 48’)
Perth Glory 0

A hot and dry game in the Hunter Valley, both teams look strong in defence throughout the first 45 minutes, with little chance of a breakthrough. Enter the second half and a dangerous Jets attack saw a handball by Romero awarded as a penalty. Jen Hoy converted from the spot, and the defensive nature of the match continued, as Jets grinded out an upset 1-0 victory over an unfortunate Glory side, who created chances late on via Kerr and Alyssa Mautz.

Round 4: Bye

Round 5: Glory too good for Victory
Melbourne Victory 0
Perth Glory 2 (Sutton 16’, DiBernardo 64’)

After a bye round to reflect and build on four points from the first three games of the Westfield W-League season, Glory needed a win at Lakeside Stadium. The girls sprung out the blocks early, creating chances before Sutton put Glory 1-0 ahead with a neat finish. DiBernardo would then later cap off the victory in the second half, as Glory would begin the first of a six match undefeated streak.

Round 6: Sky's the limit for Glory as they sink Sydney FC
Perth Glory 1 (Kerr 18’)
Sydney FC 0

This match would prove to be a massive result for Glory. The home side piled on the pressure early with Kerr & DiBernardo threatening Sky Blues' 'keeper Sham Khamis' goal from distance. Eventually the breakthrough came; Shawn Billam & Rosie Sutton linked up well to put Kerr through on the right, with the Glory captain scoring a superb right footed strike from a tight angle over Khamis into the far top left hand corner. For the rest of the match, Glory attacked relentlessly but without product, with countless shots on goal from Kerr and Sutton. Still, the game ended 1-0 and Glory had sent the first resounding message to the league about what to expect from the girls from the West.

Round 7: Kerr leads Perth to Glory in Adelaide
Adelaide United 1 (Huerta 65’)
Perth Glory 4 (Kerr 35’, 68’, Sutton 58’, DiBernardo 82’)

Glory produced a 5-star performance in their 4-1 victory over Adelaide in South Australia. Picking up where they left off against Sydney, Glory had countless chances via Kerr but Lady Reds' goalkeeper Eliza Campbell was in inspired form, saving all attempts. Eventually in the 35th minute, Kerr broke through, fantastically lobbing Campbell after a smart run through the defence. Glory kept the heat up on the South Australians, as Sutton, Kerr again and DiBernardo added further goals in a dominant display. Sofia Huerta bagged a consolation goal for Adelaide United in the 65th minute.

Round 8: Kerr's late strike seals win over City
Melbourne City 2 (Fishlock 60’, Luik 72’)
Perth Glory 3 (Sutton 47’, Kerr 77’, 84’)

Described as the Westfield W-League 'Game of the Season' by many, Glory were put to the test against the reigning champions Melbourne City. After a goalless first half, Sutton put the away side ahead early in the second stanza. However, a scissor kick by Fishlock and a deflected shot by Luik in 12 minutes saw Glory trail and facing falling out of the top four. Enter Sam Kerr; just five minutes after Luik's goal, Kerr finished off a classy team move to equalise, before scoring arguably Glory's goal of the season from 20 yards out with six minutes left to play, curling a perfect placed shot off the post into the top right hand corner past Matildas goalkeeper Lydia Williams.

Round 9: Bye

Round 10: Kerr strikes again as Glory stay unbeaten in five
Perth Glory 1 (Kerr 69’)
Newcastle Jets 1 (Kingsley 46’)

By round 10, Glory had dropped just 4 points from a possible 27, zooming ahead of their competition on the ladder. They faced the only team that had beaten the purple at white at that point, Newcastle Jets. Glory threw everything at the Novocastrians, with DiBernardo's penalty saved by goalkeeper Katie Roland, before the custodian made a tremendous save to deny Sutton a perfect goal from distance. Unbelievably, the Jets went ahead seconds after the second half begun, with Jenny Kingsley finishing in a one on one situation. However, Glory would rescue a point as Sam Kerr would score in her fourth consecutive game little over 20 minutes later to ensure the spoils were shared.

Round 11: Glory stays unbeaten after five goal thriller
Perth Glory 3 (Kerr 50’, DiBernardo 80’, Sutton 85’)
Melbourne Victory 2 (Romero OG 52’, Stanton OG 59’)

After a goalless first half, Glory's Round 11 clash against Melbourne Victory sprung into life. Seven minutes after the restart, Kerr scored a thunderous header to give Glory a deserved 1-0 lead. That lead lasted just two minutes, when defender Arianna Romero accidentally steered a deflection past Glory 'keeper Melissa Maizels. Victory would then take the lead from another own goal, when a cross off Nikki Stanton deflected unfortunately to beat Maizels at the near post. Glory never gave up, and in the 80th minute Kerr won a penalty for DiBernardo to dispatch expertly. The winner came with just five minutes to spare, as Mautz's effort struck the bar for Sutton to bundle in, in front of a jubilant crowd at Dorrien Gardens.

Round 12: Glory go down against Canberra
Canberra United 7 (Sykes 6’, 19’, 45’, 46’, Ochs 25’, Maher 33’, Raso 49’)
Perth Glory 2 (DiBernardo 57’, Kerr 79’)

In Round 12, Glory's six match winning streak would come to a hard end. Four goals from eventual Golden Boot winner Ash Sykes drove the Greens to 7-0 lead after 49 minutes, punishing Glory for every inch they afforded them. It wouldn't be enough to break Glory's spirit though, as the team disregarded the scoreline, recomposed and scored twice through DiBernardo and Kerr. Of course, it wouldn't be enough to overturn a massive deficit, but it proved Glory's never-say-die attitude once again, one that would see them clinch a key result in the last match of the season.

Round 13: Glory still in hunt for top spot despite Adelaide loss
Perth Glory 1 (Sutton 10’)
Adelaide United 2 (Colaprico 15’, 84’)

Glory started off with a bang once again, with Sutton scoring 10 minutes in with an easy finish after rounding the Reds goalkeeper. Soon after however, Danielle Colaprico curled home an impressive equaliser for the Reds. Both sides had good chances to win the match, with a close range finish by DiBernardo disallowed for offside, until Colaprico slammed another high-class strike past Glory goalkeeper Gabrielle Dal Busco from outside the box to give the Lady Reds an unexpected win in the West. The loss ultimately denied Glory the Westfield W-League Premiers Plate, and would put the fire in the belly of the girls leading into finals.

Round 14: Doeglas snatches last-gasp Glory for Perth
Western Sydney Wanderers 0
Perth Glory 1 (Doeglas 90+2’)

In one of the most tense matches of the season, Glory travelling to New South Wales to face Western Sydney Wanderers. Around 70 minutes in, it was announced Sydney FC had just lost their match to Adelaide United, meaning Glory had the chance to claim 2nd place and a home final against the Sky Blues. The girls pushed and pushed against the Wanderers until the second minute of stoppage time, when Doeglas appeared in the box to volley home a valuable winner for Glory, sending next weekends semi-final to the West.

Semi Final: Glory punish Sydney in semi-final
Perth Glory 5 (DiBernardo 29’, 77’, Kennedy OG 58’, Sutton 79’, Billam 90+3’)
Sydney FC 1 (Simon  23’)

In a semi-final expected to be hotly contested, Perth Glory made a big statement for their Championship credentials with a thumping victory over Sydney FC. Matilda Kyah Simon scored an acrobatic volley halfway through the first half to put the Sky Blues in the lead, as the visitors boasting nine Matildas-capped players showcased their quality. However, Glory would respond brilliantly within six minutes, DiBernardo getting tripped in the box and executing her penalty perfectly to equalise at 1-1.

Both sides defended strongly for the rest of the match, until a dangerous DiBernardo free kick was clipped over goalkeeper Claire Coehlo by Matildas defender Alanna Kennedy. 20 minutes later, Glory's extra fitness work would pay off, as DiBernardo curled home a stunning shot from just inside the box and two minutes later, Sutton punished some sloppy Sydney defending to put Glory 4-1 ahead. In stoppage time, substitute Billam would make her mark in spectacular fashion on the match, curling a perfectly placed shot from distance off the crossbar and in. The goal capped off a brilliant performance from a ruthless Perth Glory side, who marched into the Westfield W-League Grand Final with style.

Grand Final: Perth Glory FC v Melbourne City FC
4:30pm at nib Stadium

What a game this is shaping to be; a rematch of the best game of the season, with the riches of Melbourne City travelling West to the heart of Perth Glory. Both teams are highly spirited and boast quality all over the pitch, with a number of key match-ups that are simply unmissable for any Westfield W-League fan.

It promises to be a fantastic game at nib Stadium, so make sure you're there! Tickets available on ticketmaster here: http://bit.ly/2kN80GI and at the gate.