Thursday, November 5, 2009

Westfield W-League - who is the best of them all?

So we're halfway through the season now and I think the teams that will challenge for the title, Brisbane Roar, Sydney FC and the Central Coast Mariners, have separated themselves from the pack.
I still think that Brisbane are the team to beat (can anyone say depth? they have it in spades), but there are also a few variables that I think may just come into it. Like say, game-breaking players who can completely change a match in minutes. Which is what brings me to this next post, who is the best player in the Westfield W-League? And the nominees that have been chosen in a very scientific manner (ie, just me), in no particular order, are...

CATHRIN PAASKE - Sydney FC. On basic statistics, she has to be included. The Danish international is a former nominee for FIFA World Player of the year (in 2006), has over 100 international caps for Denmark and is one of her countries all-time leading goalscorers. She took a few games to settle in the W-League, but has definitely had an impact. Has scored a couple of goals and become Sydney FC's playmaker in the middle. Of course, she's not the best Australian player, but is she the best player in the Australian league?

CASEY DUMONT - Brisbane Roar. She may be the youngest out of all the W-League's goal-keepers, but she is the best. Technically she is still behind Melissa Barbieri and Lydia Williams in pecking order for the Matildas, but on current form and goals conceded in this W-League season - Dumont has them both beat. She does also have the best back-four in the league ahead of her, Polkinghorne, McShea, Reuter and Spence (although Bignold is there too sometimes), so that no doubt helps. What will be interesting is what happens once Brisbane come to crunch games - ie finals. Last year, that's really where she showed her class. She was amazing in both the semi and the final. Her ability to stay calm under pressure is what might see her make the leap to Matildas for World Cup qualifiers.

SAM KERR - Perth Glory. She's only 16, but wow, what an excitement machine. So far she's found it hard to get away from the `I'm Daniel Kerr's sister tag' (for those who don't know, he's a premiership-winning midfielder with the West Coast Eagles and in AFL-crazy WA, that's a BIG deal), but if she keeps this up she is well on the way to making a name for herself. In the past month has almost single-handedly opened up games for both Perth and the Australian under-16 women's team (they were up 1-0 in the ASEAN final before she came on, they ended up winning 7-0). A creative, attacking midfielder who Tom Sermanni expected big things of at the start of the season. She's lived up to it.

HEATHER GARRIOCK - Sydney FC. With Cheryl Salisbury and Joey Peters now retired, H is now Australia's most capped player, sitting on 113. After going through her entire career without one serious injury, her last 12-months have been kind of terrible. Her season for Sydney FC was ruined with a hip flexor, and that and a few other problems kept her mostly out the first American WPS season. She played a total of 89 minutes for the Chicago Red Stars. But now she's back for Sydney FC and fit, and certainly if not the best player, she's been the most attacking left-back I've ever seen. Technically very good and a very smart player, she's a possible Matildas captain too.

Other notable mentions, Tseng Shu O - Canberra United. The capital's purple-haired dynamo has lifted her team in the last few weeks, not to mention the crowd, with her special brand of excitement in front of goals. The Taiwanese international is highly skilled and great to watch and has changed games for Canberra.
Michelle Heyman – Central Coast Mariners. Kind of came out of nowhere to be leading the goalscorers, but is physically strong and can find the back of the net. Was the leading goalscorer in NSW women’s premier league this year.
Lisa de Vanna – Perth Glory. The only other player in the league to have been nominated for FIFA women’s world player of the year (in 2007), but hasn’t been as successful in Aussie leagues as she has overseas.
Collette McCallum – Perth Glory. One of the Matildas best set-piece takers, continually drives Perth forward.
Lydia Williams – Canberra United. The goalkeeper had a rough start, but has done well over the past three weeks to help her team to some much needed points.
Sarah Walsh – Sydney FC. After coming back from a broken leg in the last 12-months, Walsh has hit top-form again and is equal leading WWL goalscorer with four.
Tameka Butt – Brisbane Roar. has been injured for the past few weeks but is a quick exciting midfielder, with an emphasis on quick, who provides Brisbane with a host of scoring options.
Ellen Beaumont – Brisbane Roar. the lanky midfielder has caused opposition defenders plenty of problems so far this year – pinching three goals.
Melissa Barbieri – Melbourne Victory. Still the number 1 Matildas keeper and still very hard to get past.
Clare Polkinghorne – Brisbane Roar. One of the toughest defenders going around.
Katie Thorlakson – Melbourne Victory. The Canadian striker hasn’t performed in every game, but she does have past form. Before two knee reconstructions she scored 23 goals and had 24 assists in one college season. The only player with more? American great Mia Hamm.

So what do you think? Is there anyone else that springs to mind? Particularly from Newcastle and Adelaide, as I haven’t had the chance to watch them much this year, is there a player or two that has stood out above the rest? But do remember that this is the best of the best. The game-breakers. If there are anymore, let me know.

1 comment:

  1. Merryn I would add Leia Smith from Newcastle, Donna Cockayne and Sian McLaren from Adelaide. They have been good in struggling sides