JANUARY - The first Westfield W-League finals series was played out between Brisbane Roar, Newcastle Jets, Canberra United and Sydney FC. In the two semi-finals, Canberra (third) upset Newcastle (second) to become the first team through to the inaugural grand final. In the other semi-final that followed, Sydney FC pushed Brisbane Roar all the way to penalties in searing heat in Brisbane. In the final that followed, injury hit Canberra hard in the week leading up and Brisbane pounced early to take a 2-0 win and the first premiership to go with their league championship. Lana Harch, who scored the second goal and set the first one up, was named player of the match. Also in January was a friendly match against Italy at Parramatta Stadium in Sydney, where Australian legend Cheryl Salisbury farewelled the game on January 31st.
After 151 games, the most out of any Australian footballer, Salisbury bowed out in the 2-2 draw. She was almost able to complete a fairytale ending, when she scored a penalty to take the score to 2-1 in the second-half. But Italy equalised with 10-minutes to go. Still, it didn't take away much from the occasion. I was one in the stands joining in on the standing ovation when she was substituted with six minutes to go. And there was hardly a dry eye on the field afterwards. As Tom Sermanni said in this Mike Cockerill story, she'll be missed. "It's like when you're a kid, you come home from school and your mum's there, it makes you feel comfortable," Sermanni says. "Having Shezza around, you know when the team goes out on the field, the leadership is there. Her sheer presence gives you that sense of comfort. That's what we'll miss the most. There's not another Cheryl Salisbury, and there won't be for some time to come. But it's not just about the stature she brings. We talk about her reputation, but she's also been an outstanding player. She can play midfield, defence, or attack. The respect she's got is worldwide. When she played for the FIFA-All Stars, the coach, Hope Powell, said to me, 'I never realised how good a footballer she was.' It's on the field that Shezza is going to be almost impossible to replace." Read the rest of the story here. Pic. Salisbury being chaired off in Sydney.
FEBRUARY - The second of the Matildas friendlies against Italy did not go so well. It was the farewell match for Joey Peters, who was retiring after 110 games, and she took on the captain's armband for the game. But the Matildas lost 5-1 at Canberra Stadium, which is not how home-town debutant Ellie Brush (who just happens to be a central defender as well) wanted her first Matildas cap to go. It marked a changing in the guard for Australian women's football. Tom Sermanni admitted as much in his after-match press conference. “The first thing that went wrong was we conceded three goals in the first 15 minutes ...,” Sermanni said. “I think the second thing that was evident today was the fact that we are having a turnover in the squad.
“So when you put a combination of things together and add into that Cheryl retired last week and Joey retired today, you have I suppose the feeling of an Australian cricket team and it will take us a while to get back to where we were a year and a half ago.”
Peters for her part was upset, but happy she had made the decision to retire. “I’m very emotional at the moment, It’s just all hit me at once, I was fine leading into the game and it just felt like another game but just as I was about to walk on the field it hit me all at once,” Peters said. “But I’m pleased with the decision and at peace with it.”
APRIL - The first ever under-14 girls national titles were held in Canberra and a team selected by new under-14 Australian coach Jeff Hopkins went on to compete in Asia. It's the youngest age-group that's ever had a national titles in Australia and adds another step in the pathway to becoming a Matilda.
AUGUST - The Young Matildas team misses out on qualifying for the 2010 under-20 FIFA Women's World Cup in controversial circumstances. And Tom Sermanni didn't hold back, calling the officials incompetent in this story. The story of the brawl that erupted in the match between China and Australia made nationwide news, with the AFC handing the FFA a $4700 fine.
OCTOBER - The second season of the W-League kicks-off with the same eight teams, Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar, Central Coast Mariners, Canberra United, Melbourne Victory, Perth Glory, Adelaide United and Newcastle Jets, but a host of new faces. There is new coaches at Canberra (Ray Junna), Perth (John Gibson) and Newcastle (Wayne O'Sullivan) and even more new captains. Clare Polkinghorne took over at Brisbane, Lydia Williams became a co-captain with Ellie Brush in Canberra, Melissa Barbieri became a co-captain with Tal Karp in Melbourne, Hayley Crawford stepped into the very big-shoes of Cheryl Salisbury at Newcastle and Chistina Papageorgiou took the armband at Adelaide.
"I thought in that half-hour spell in the second half we could have got five or six goals."
"We really dominated and scored some good goals, and probably could have scored a few more."