Westfield W-League Round 6 Round Up: Perth and Brisbane top the ladder after tight wins

Sam Kerr and Tameka Butt lead their teams to victory, as Matildas stars shine across the league.

Westfield W-League Round 6 Round Up: Perth and Brisbane top the ladder after tight wins
Sam Kerr (left) and Tameka Butt (right) celebrate their game winning goals for Perth and Brisbane, respectively | Photos: Jason McCawley - Getty Images and Mark Nolan - Getty Images

The Westfield W-League Round Six was the lowest scoring round of the season, with just six goals being scored across the four games played. The return of the Australian Women's National Team players was noticeable with four of the six goals being scored by players who have experience with the Westfield Matildas. The only goals not scored by Australians came from Americans in the 1-1 draw between Melbourne City FC and Adelaide United

Kerr lifts the Glory to victory

Rachel Hill (left) celebrates with Sam Kerr after they combined for a goal. The pair has accounted for 12 goals in six games for Perth this season. | Photo: Jason McCawley - Getty Images
Rachel Hill (left) celebrates with Sam Kerr after they combined for a goal. The pair has accounted for 12 goals in six games for Perth this season. | Photo: Jason McCawley - Getty Images

Sam Kerr, fresh off a new award and a pair of braces in friendly matches against China, continued her scoring streak in the W-League with the game-winning goal over the Western Sydney Wanderers. Perth Glory remains undefeated in the four games that Kerr has played for her squad, but they have dropped both of the matches that she did not participate in. 

The 1-0 final scoreline in favor of Perth belies the whistle-to-whistle excitement of the match. Perth goalkeeper Melissa Maizels was peppered with tough shots during the first half, but she was consistently up to the task. She was helped out by a Wanderers team that was struggling to find its shot, with two different chances from inside the box bouncing harmlessly toward the keeper. If they had been able to find a bit more finesse they could have taken an early lead. On the other end, it took Perth about 30 minutes to find their form, but once they did it was all Western Sydney goalkeeper Jada Mathyssen-Whyman could do to keep the ball out of her net. She made repeated diving saves throughout the match and showed off excellent ball control by catching some of the more dangerous shots cleanly.

The one goal of the match occurred when Rachel Hill, who plays for the Orlando Pride in the National Women's Soccer League, slipped the ball through to a streaking Sam Kerr. Kerr took one touch past the defender, another past the goalkeeper, and then slid the ball into the net from a tough angle with her left foot. The goal is Kerr's fifth of the season in four games played. She is second in the league behind teammate Rachel Hill who has scored seven. 

The Western Sydney Wanderers (1-1-3) will face off against Sydney FC (2-0-3) next weekend. Perth will be on bye.

Sydney FC knocks the Victory into last place

It only took three minutes for the 17-year-old wunderkind, Princess Ibini-Isei, to find the back of the net for Sydney FC, and Melbourne Victory would never be able to recover. Ibini played her first games with the senior national team for Australia during the Tournament of Nations in 2017, but she did not play in the most recent friendlies against China. The Victory were further hamstrung by a pair of first-half cautions to Annabel Martin and Kristen McNabb (Seattle Reign FC). A second Sydney goal would come when forward Lisa De Vanna hit the back of the net from the center of the box in the 57th minute. The game would end with that 2-0 scoreline, extending Melbourne winless streak to four games and sending them to last place on the ladder. The Victory are tied with Adelaide United and Western Sydney with four points each. 

Sydney (2-0-3) will try to win their third straight game when they travel to Western Sydney next weekend. Melbourne Victory (1-1-3) will host Adelaide United (1-1-3) with both teams desperate for a win.

Brisbane roars to top of the ladder over Canberra

The match started with two teams tied for first place in the standings, but it ended with Brisbane Roar alone tied for first while Canberra United settled into a tie for third. While the Roar are technically tied for first place with Perth Glory, the Roar have earned 12 points in five games while Perth has earned 12 in six. Next weekend Brisbane will play while Perth is home on bye, presenting an excellent opportunity to the squad in orange to take sole possession of the top spot on the ladder.

The game was kept close through the first 66 minutes by Canberra goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer (Seattle Reign FC), who made a number of great saves while Brisbane kept near constant pressure on the home side. While the United defense was able to hold back the tide of top-level attackers, including Australian star Hayley Raso (Portland Thorns) and South Korean national Cheung Wai Ki, for most of the game, they were finally beaten by Tameka Butt's shot from the center of the box. Brisbane goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold was never tested in this match, a testament to the great defensive play from Brisbane from start to finish. 

Brisbane (4-0-1) will host the Newcast Jets (3-0-2) next weekend in what promises to be a hard-fought match. Canberra (3-0-2) will travel to Melbourne City FC (2-1-2).

Adelaide draws Melbourne City with penalty save

This challenge by Adelaide keeper Sarah Willacy on Melbourne forward Jess Fishlock would lead to a penalty shot. | Photo: Michael Dodge - Getty Images
This challenge by Adelaide keeper Sarah Willacy on Melbourne forward Jess Fishlock would lead to a penalty shot. | Photo: Michael Dodge - Getty Images

Forward Ashley Hatch, the 2017 NWSL Rookie of the Year with the North Carolina Courage, earned her first goal of the season in the 14th minute of Melbourne City FC's 1-1 draw with Adelaide United. Hatch had been finding open space for shots throughout the season, but she found the crossbar or the keeper with each of those shots until this match against Adelaide. The goal was assisted by Rebekah Stott (Seattle Reign FC). The game looked to be cruising toward the third 1-0 scoreline of the round until Alyssa Mautz (Chicago Red Stars) scored in the 73rd minute assisted by Jenna McCormick. Things took a turn for the worse for Adelaide when goalkeeper Sarah Willacy took down Melbourne forward Jess Fishlock, who just re-signed with the Seattle Reign, inside the box. Australian national team player Kyah Simon took the penalty, but it was saved by Willacy who became the surprise hero after it seemed she had just lost the game for her side. The save prevented Adelaide from falling to the bottom of the league ladder, while City was kept out of a three-way tie for third. 

Adelaide will travel to Melbourne to face the Victory next weekend, while City will host Canberra in an attempt to take their playoff spot with a win.