A season of highs

We take a look in numbers at some of the remarkable moments of a truly spectacular 2016/17 Westfield W-League season.

Season nine of the Westfield W-League can lay claim to be the most intriguing and enjoyable ever played.

For five teams the campaign is now over but Adelaide United, Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory, Newcastle Jets and Western Sydney Wanderers all played their part in a memorable campaign.

Indeed just 14 points separated top from bottom in the nine-team competition – easily the narrowest gap in the history of the Westfield W-League.

Ahead of this weekend’s Finals Series, we look at some of the fascinating numbers which have made this season one to remember.

191 goals were scored during the regular season at an average of extraordinary average of 3.97, eclipsing the previous mark of 189 set in 2012/13.

Sixth-placed Adelaide United scored 31 goals in their 12 games. No wonder coach Adelaide Huss Skenderovic called his side ‘The Entertainers’. The next highest scoring team not to feature in the play-offs was Canberra in 2012/13 and Newcastle Jets two seasons ago when both scored 25.

Western Sydney Wanderers featured in a nine-goal turnaround in two of the most unlikely set of results imaginable. Their 10-2 loss at winless Adelaide United was followed eight days later by a 1-0 win over eventual Premiers Canberra United. Coming the same day as Adelaide’s hefty win was an equally unlikely result. Perth Glory’s six-match winning run came to an end with a 7-2 club-record win for Canberra.

Speaking of remarkable turn-arounds …. In the early weeks of the season, it seemed Melbourne City’s unbeatable form might never end. But a famous 2-1 win by Canberra United in December saw Melbourne City’s unbeaten run end at 18 matches, finishing level with marks previously set by Brisbane Roar (Nov 2008 to Nov 2009) and Canberra United (Jan 2011 to Nov 2011). Stunningly Melbourne City then endured a six-match winless run.

Newcastle Jets will nervously be looking at their final-round opponent when next season’s draw is issued. For the third season in a row, Newcastle have seen their semi-final hopes ended in the final round in a winner-takes-all contest. This time it was Melbourne City who claimed fourth with a 2-0 win in Round 14.

Only one team managed to remain unbeaten after Christmas – Adelaide United.

Brisbane Roar and Westfield Matildas captain Clare Polkinghorne became the first player to reach 100 appearances in the competition in the Round 11 home match against the Wanderers. Melbourne City’s Marianna Tabain, Canberra United’s Ellie Brush and Sydney FC’s Teresa Polias have also since achieved the feat.

Canberra United’s Ash Sykes ended the regular season as top goalscorer with 12 goals, a figure eclipsed only by teammate Michelle Heyman (15) five seasons ago. Sykes scored 11 goals in her final seven outings, which included a four-goal haul against Perth Glory. That single-match goal-haul has only been achieved twice; Kate Gill (who scored five goals) for Perth Glory v Western Sydney Wanderers in 2014 and Tara Andrews for Newcastle Jets v Adelaide United in 2011.

Nigerian Francisca Ordega became the first African to feature in the Westfield W-League when she linked with Sydney FC in mid-season. All six Confederations have now been represented in the competition.

Perth Glory captain Sam Kerr scored in six successive matches, equalling the competition record set by Larissa Crummer for Melbourne City last season.

Brisbane Roar goalkeeper Georgina Worth enjoyed a Westfield W-League she will always remember. Having sat on the bench all season, Worth finally entered the fray in the dying minutes of the Round 12 match against Newcastle Jets and saved a penalty with her first touch at senior level.