The final weekend of Westfield W-League regular season play has ended, but four teams are gearing up for finals play next Saturday and Sunday afternoon. The Brisbane Roar, who have been at the top of the table for the last seven weeks running, closed out their season in style with a commanding 4-1 victory over Canberra United. The final weekend of the season was notably lacking, with the star-studded Perth Glory, including Sam Kerr, Australia's most iconic female footballer, on bye. The Glory, after leading the league for the first seven rounds, fell precipitously out of finals contention by losing four out of five games to end the season. Despite missing the playoffs, Sam Kerr won the Golden Boot by scoring 13 goals in nine appearances this season. She won the 2017 Golden Boot award in the National Women's Soccer League as well, scoring 17 goals for Sky Blue FC.
Adelaide ends their season with a win
Adelaide United finished the season strong with a 2-1 win over the Melbourne Victory, but they still finished dead last in the league with 10 points. The match was purely exhibition as both teams were already eliminated from finals contention. The star of the game was Adelaide forward Makenzy Doniak (North Carolina Courage), who capped off a brilliant W-League season with a goal and an assist. Doniak scored seven goals this season, good enough for fourth in the W-League.
Doniak got the scoring started in the 17th minute when she collected a pass and blew past the Melbourne defenders just past midfield. She dribbled to the edge of the 18-yard box and slipped a perfect left-footed shot by Melbourne goalkeeper Casey Dumont. 16-year-old phenom Kyra Cooney-Cross answered with a goal for Melbourne at minute 41. Goalkeeper Sarah Willacy was unable to control a shot, and Cooney-Cross finally kicked it into the goal after it bounced around in the 6-yard box for what seemed like an eternity.
The 1-1 scoreline was broken after halftime when Doniak played a hard, low cross into the box, and Jenna McCormick redirected it past the goalkeeper in the 57th minute. Adelaide finished the season 3-1-8 whole Melbourne finished 3-2-7.
Melbourne City earns a playoff berth with a dominant win
You could see the relief and joy on the faces of the Melbourne City FC players when the whistle blew an end to their 3-0 thumping of the Newcastle Jets. The needed a win to ensure themselves a place in the semifinals, and the team rallied to provide one.
With so much riding on the game, Melbourne City got off to a perfect start in the 29th minute when Jess Fishlock flicked the ball to Jodie Taylor in the box. Taylor scooped the ball over Newcastle keeper Britt Eckerstrom (Portland Thorns) and finished the shot from behind the keeper. Taylor recently signed a contract that would bring her to Seattle Reign in the NWSL where she will play with City teammates Fishlock and Lauren Barnes.
Jess Fishlock would earn her second assist of the night in the 33rd minute when she played a free kick deep into the box where it found the head of Aivi Luik. Melbourne would score again in the first minute of stoppage time at the end of the first half when Lauren Barnes took a free kick that was headed on goal by Yukari Kinga. The game would end 3-0.
The Newcastle Jets ended the regular season 6-2-4 and will travel to Sydney FC for their semifinal match on Saturday. Melbourne City FC also finished the season 6-2-4 (they lost the goals scored tiebreaker) and will travel to Brisbane for their semifinal match on Sunday.
Sydney FC cruises to a home-field semifinal
Sydney FC remained undefeated in their last nine matches, notching eight wins and one draw after starting the season with three losses. FC finished up the season with ease, beating the Western Sydney Wanderers 4-1, but ultimately unable to catch the Brisbane Roar in their quest for the Premiership.
The first half started off with a bang for Sydney. Chloe Logarzo, Caitlin Foord, and Catlin Cooper scored in the 25th, 32nd and 41st minutes respectively, opening up an insurmountable three-goal lead before the halftime whistle blew. Sydney upped their goal total in the first minute of the second half with Remy Siemsen bringing the game to 4-0.
The Wanderers were able to net a consolation goal in the 86th minute when defender Maruschka Waldus was able to beat goalkeeper Aubrey Bledsoe, but Western Sydney was outclassed all afternoon. The Wanderers finish their season 3-2-7 and in eighth place.
Sydney FC will host a semifinal game against the Newcastle Jets on Saturday.
Brisbane finishes a nearly flawless season in fashion
The Brisbane Roar completed their league-winning season on Sunday with a 4-1 victory over Canberra United. Canberra had a chance to make the semifinals until Melbourne City FC won on Saturday, and it didn't seem like the United players overcame their disappointment in time for this match.
Brisbane came out with fire and fury, with forward Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns) scoring the opening goal for Brisbane in the 11th minute. It took until the 40th minute for Brisbane to find the back of the net again, this time it was Emily Gielnik's redirection of a perfect corner kick by Carson Pickett. Pickett was recently traded from the Seattle Reign to the Orlando Pride in the NWSL.
The game held at 2-0 until a pair of goals were scored, one by each team, in the 72nd and 74th minutes. First, Brisbane took a 3-0 lead when Abbey Lloyd found the back of the net. Just after the kickoff, Canberra found their only goal of the match when Elise Thorsnes beat Brisbane keeper Mackenzie Arnold. Abbey Lloyd would get her brace in the 90th minute, setting the final scoreline at 4-1.
Canberra United finished the season at 5-1-6 in fifth place, while Brisbane ended at 9-1-2. Brisbane will host defending champions Melbourne City FC on Sunday.