W-League Round 1 review: Season kicks off with exciting weekend

The Australian league began its season over the weekend with four action-packed matches.

W-League Round 1 review: Season kicks off with exciting weekend
Sam Kerr celebrates her first goal of the year for Perth Glory in a 4-1 win over Melbourne City. | Photo: Will Russell - Getty Images

The Westfield W-League began the season with an action-packed Round 1 over the weekend, as players and teams returned to the pitch to kick off the 2017-2018 campaign. Fifteen goals were scored across the four matches, including six by players with National Women’s Soccer League ties. And with multiple upsets over the league favorites in the first week, the stage has been set for an exciting season.

Brisbane tops Sydney in upset

One of the preseason favorites to make a playoff run, the Sydney FC squad found itself on the short end of a 3-1 contest with Brisbane Roar in the season opener. Brisbane was on top within the first 30 seconds of the match, as Australian national teamer Katrina Gorry put away the first goal of the season. But a brace by Allira Toby proved to be the difference, as the winger scored in both the 37th and 84th minutes. Toby’s second goal came just four minutes after Sydney’s only score, a penalty kick converted by Portland Thorns defender Emily Sonnett.

Sydney will look to bounce back against the Newcastle Jets in the next round, while Brisbane will take on Perth Glory in a matchup of two Round 1 winners.

Glory wins first rematch of Grand Final

After falling 2-0 in February’s Grand Final against Melbourne City, the Perth Glory made a statement in its first match against the defending champions this season. NWSL Most Valuable Player Sam Kerr got things started for the home team in the third minute, finishing off a pass from Sky Blue FC teammate Nikki Stanton for an early 1-0 lead. Melbourne City’s lone goal came just after halftime, as new signee Kyah Simon put the visitors on the board to make it 1-1.

But the Glory got the job done late in the second half, as Rachel Hill (Orlando Pride) scored the game-winner in the 75th minute and added another in stoppage time. In between Hill goals, the American assisted Nicole Bolger on Perth’s third goal of the game.

The Glory will look to remain unbeaten against Brisbane next week, while City hopes to pick up its first three points in its title defense season in the Melbourne derby.

Dowie goal gives Melbourne the Victory

Newcastle's Natasha Dowie (left) battles for a loose ball with Western Sydney's Karly Reostbakken in the Jets' 2-1 win. | Photo: Jack Thomas/Getty Images
Newcastle's Natasha Dowie (left) battles for a loose ball with Western Sydney's Karly Reostbakken in the Jets' 2-1 win. | Photo: Jack Thomas - Getty Images

The league’s other Melbourne team started the season with a win, as the Melbourne Victory defeated Canberra United 2-1 on Saturday. A header by Kristen McNabb put the home team on top in the sixth minute, but United equalized just under 20 minutes later, thanks to striker Michelle Heyman. The Victory would have to wait until the second half to get the game-winner, but it was worth the wait, as Natasha Dowie (Boston Breakers) beat goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer (Seattle Reign) to make it a 2-1 contest. From there, the Victory held off the United attack to hang on for the win.

Next weekend will see the Victory take on City in the Melbourne derby, while Canberra has the bye week. United will take on Sydney FC the following week.

Jets pick up three points over Western Sydney

A minute after conceding an equalizing goal to the Western Sydney Wanderers, the Newcastle Jets righted the ship to win the season opener 2-1 in front of a home crowd. Newcastle was on the board in the first half on a Katie Stengel (Boston Breakers) goal and led 1-0 at the half. But Western Sydney got the equalizer on a goal headed home by Erica Halloway in the 77th minute with an assist from Marlous Pieete. Unfortunately for the visitors, a hand ball a minute later gave the Jets a set piece opportunity, and Jenna Kingsley took advantage, scoring a header with an assist by Stengel’s former Washington Spirit teammate Tori Huster. The one-goal lead would be enough, as the Jets hung on to pick up their first three points of the season.

Newcastle will look for another three against Sydney FC in Round 2, while Western Sydney will take on Adelaide United, who were on the bye for the opening week.