Westfield W-League Coach of the Year: The contenders

They are charged with steering the ship for their clubs, making the key decisions that can often make – or break – how their side’s perform during the season.

There has been some exceptional coaching performances during the Westfield W-League 2019/20 Season but only one can take out the top honour as Coach of the Year.

We’ve pulled out for contenders that are in the running to claim the award on Thursday.

Dean Heffernan – Western Sydney Wanderers

First-time head coach Heffernan was charged with turning the perennial cellar-dwellers Wanderers into a Westfield W-League force. And he did just that.

An astute recruitment drive and a gruelling pre-season saw the Red and Black make their best-ever start to a season, recording wins over Adelaide United, Newcastle Jets Brisbane Roar, Sydney FC and Canberra United in their first six games.

While the loss of a couple of key players saw results dip in the second half of the campaign, the Wanderers reached the Finals Series for the first time in their history, with Heffernan deserving much of the credit.

Dean Heffernan

Jeff Hopkins – Melbourne Victory

After their Premiership heroics 12 months earlier, repeating that success was always going to be a tough job for Hopkins and Victory.

But despite a slow start to their Premiership defence, Hopkins had his time purring at just the right time as they surged into the finals with a second-place finish.

Considered finals long-shots in January, Victory surged home with wins over Newcastle Jets (7-1) and Sydney FC (3-1) in February earning them a home Semi Final.

Jeff Hopkins

Ante Juric – Sydney FC

One of the most experienced Westfield W-League coaches, Juric enjoyed another strong campaign at the helm of the Sky Blues.

Sydney FC have qualified for the finals in every Westfield W-League season and Juric gelled a good mix of youth and experience to get his side to yet another Grand Final.

While they fell agonisingly short of retaining their Championship – losing 1-0 to City in the decider – Juric deserves plenty of credit for keeping Sydney near the top and the future certainly looks bright.

Ante Juric

Rado Vidosic – Melbourne City

Vidosic took the City hotseat after the three-time Champions inexplicably missed the finals in 2018/19.

A repeat simply wouldn’t have been good enough and Vidosic was adamant he wanted perfection – and he wasn’t far off.

Getting the best out of his star-studded squad, Vidosic oversaw one of the most dominant seasons in Westfield W-League history as City went unbeaten to take out the Premiership-Championship double.

Rado Vidosic and Steph Catley