Kerr hat-trick fires Glory to third Westfield W-League Grand Final

A Sam Kerr hat-trick, with all three goals coming after the interval, has fired Perth Glory into the Westfield W-League 2019 Grand Final after a 4-2 win over Melbourne Victory on Sunday afternoon.

Christine Nairn opened the scoring with less than two minutes on the clock, mishitting a cross into the top-left corner and giving Eliza Campbell no chance.

However, goals to Sam Kerr and Rachel Hill in the second half would overturn the deficit, nudging Perth in front.

In true Westfield W-League action, there was injury-time drama when Grace Maher popped up in injury-time to salvage Victory’s campaign. 

Perth’s dominance in extra time bore fruit seven minutes in, when Kerr grabbed her second with a delicate chip over Beth Mason-Jones, before the Westfield Matildas forward found space in the second half of extra time to grab her hat-trick.

The win sees Perth into the big dance, while Victory have become the third consecutive Premiers to crash out of the Westfield W-League Semi Finals. 

THE STORY SO FAR: How Perth Glory made the Westfield W-League Finals Series
‘IT TOPS IT WITH LIVERPOOL’: Dowie rates Victory alongside English giants ahead of Semi-Final
‘ANYTHING CAN HAPPEN’: Foord confident but cautious heading into Westfield W-League 2018/19 Semi Final showdown

Fans had barely gotten comfortable in their seats before the deadlock was broken. 

Less than two minutes into proceedings, Nairn played a delicious combination down the right wing before sizing up her options and lining up the cross. 

The United States international mishit the ball, but in the most fortuitous was possible, as her strike flew into the near post and past Campbell. 

Glory mustered up a response, though the end product was lacking. Kerr picked up the ball just over the halfway mark and, after darting past two Victory defenders, struck her shot straight into the clutches of Casey Dumont.

Christine Nairn

After a flurry of early chances, the game reached a point of attrition as neither side were able to test each other in the final third. 

Perth enjoyed comfortable spells in possession but were unable to break through the middle third, while Victory looked lethal on the counter-attack, though they lacked an incisive, killer pass. 

Mason-Jones entered the fore at the interval, replacing goalkeeper Dumont who failed a concussion test following an earlier impact with Rachel Hill in the first half.

Perth were unable to truly test Mason-Jones until the 72nd minute.

Leticia McKenna whipped in a dangerous cross that flew past Alyssa Mautz and into the path of Kerr.  Needing only the one touch to finish, Kerr hammered home from a few yards out and drew Glory level.

That blew wind into Perth’s sails, who appeared to be sniffing a winner – and, as we have seen so many times this season, a combination of Glory’s lethal trio did the goods.

Kerr danced at the edge of the box with her back to goal, chipping a delicate cross into the far post. With her killer instincts, Hill climbed highest and headed home from just over six yards out, giving  Perth the lead for the first time.

However, just as it seemed Perth Glory were on their way to their third ever Westfield W-League Grand Final, Maher reacted quickest to Laura Alleway’s header in the 90+4th minute and headed home herself.

Injury-time hit-out

Perth looked comfortable in the first half of injury-time and it showed on 97 minutes when Kerr ran in on goal with one defender and keeper to beat. Mason-Jones was caught in no-man’s land and Kerr obliged – dinking the ball over the onrushing keeper and into an empty net.

Minutes later, Victory defender Sam Johnston was given her marching orders for a second bookable offence, putting the hosts down a player with just over 20 minutes remaining.

Kerr would utilise that personnel advantage and take home the match ball on 107 minutes, when McKenna played in a sumptuous pass for the Golden Boot winner to hammer home.

Perth Glory will now face either Brisbane Roar or Sydney FC away from home pending the other Semi Final result.