This season was one of mixed emotions… despite missing out on the finals - and consequently the championship - for the first time in our history, there were still plenty of positives to draw from the 2018/19 Westfield W-League season as the team looks to bounce back next season.
With our season drawing to a close, we reflect on some of the standout moments and milestone matches in the season past.
Round 1: A game of many firsts
Our Round 1 clash with Canberra United at McKellar Park saw eight players play their first game in City blue, which included five players making their first appearances in the league.
Theresa Nielsen, Chelsea Blissett, Nia Stamatopoulos, Janna Lawson and Aimee Medwin all made their W-League debuts, while Jasmyne Spencer, Helen Caceres and Adriana Jones made their debuts for the Club.
Despite suffering a 2-0 loss on the road, it was a memorable occasion for the Club as we looked to blood the next generation in the absence of some of our more experienced squad members.
Round 2: Grand Final rematch
After a disappointing result in Round 1, City bounced back in Round 2 with a memorable 3-1 win over Sydney FC in last season’s grand final rematch at AAMI Park.
Boosted by the return of World Cup winner Yukari Kinga and the debut of Matildas international Elise Kellond-Knight, City came out of the blocks firing in their first home match of the season.
American import Jasmyne Spencer inspired her team to victory with a memorable hattrick which saw her instantly become a fan favourite.
Round 6: A milestone match paired with a memorable win
Championship winning shot-stopper and Matildas international Lydia Williams took to the field for the 100th time in the Westfield W-League when we took on Newcastle at McDonald Jones Stadium in Round 6.
City were boosted by the return of injured captain Steph Catley and central defender Rebekah Stott who was away on international duty ahead of the clash. The return of the experienced defensive duo seemed to spur the team to a 3-1 victory over the Jets, as Yukari Kinga, Tameka Butt and Jasmyne Spencer found the back of the net.
Not only was it a memorable occasion for Williams, but also Butt, who notched her first goal in City blue and her 50th in the competition.
Round 14: Resilient to the end
City went into the final round of the season knowing that a five-goal margin would see them progress through to the finals, a task that was never easy against last season’s grand finalists on their home deck.
Despite not achieving the ultimate goal of a five-goal win, City produced a blistering performance to overcome this season’s finalists 2-0 at WIN Stadium in Wollongong.
Showcasing their ability to play flawless football, Rado Vidosic’s side denied Sydney any control of proceedings as they dominated the contest. In one of the most complete performances in the league this season, City registered 30 shots to the opposition’s six but were yet again unable to capitalise. City shot-stopper Lydia Williams was forced into making two incredible saves against the run of play, highlighting her ability to stand up to the pressure of the big occasion.
From defence, right through to midfield and attack, City were a pleasure to watch and will no doubt be looking to build on the performance as they look to next season.
Milestone matches: the 50-game club
Lauren Barnes became the first American to reach 50 league appearances in the Westfield W-League when we took on Melbourne Victory at Epping Stadium in Round 10. While New Zealand international Rebekah Stott made her 50th Club appearance in our Round 14 win over Sydney FC at WIN Stadium.
Captain Steph Catley sits on 48 appearances for the Club (113 overall), two behind Stott, who has the most appearances for City in the W-League. Kyah Simon sits on 95 league appearances, five shy of her 100-milestone.
Memorable moments: the season in review
In a season that had many highs and lows, consistency was a constant battle with injuries and player unavailability. Despite these challengers, the team performed with the same grit and determination week-in and week-out, showcasing why they are the reigning three-time champions.
Lydia Williams and Lauren Barnes were rocks in defence from Round 1, while Rebekah Stott and Steph Catley finished the season flying. Rhali Dobson was a constant force in attack as Tameka Butt made a seamless transition into life in City blue.
There are countless highlights to pick from, from Elise Kellond-Knight’s free kick against Perth Glory to Rhali Dobson’s left-footed strike against Canberra United at AAMI Park. Captain Steph Catley got her name on the scoresheet with a thumping header against the Jets while Lydia Williams was a constant feature on the highlights reel with her ability to save the impossible. American international Hailie Mace may have only been in Melbourne for two games, but she was a breath of fresh air up top, scoring on debut.
If the way we finished the season is anything to do by, this season was a slight bump in the road, and City will be back bigger and better next season.