Westfield W-League Round 7 roundup: Arin Gilliland scores a hat-trick at the season's midway point

With Perth on bye, Newcastle took the opportunity to move into a three way tie for first place. The first half of the season ends with six of the nine teams within one game of first place.

Westfield W-League Round 7 roundup: Arin Gilliland scores a hat-trick at the season's midway point
Newcastle Jets midfielder Arin Gilliland (center) is congratulated by her teammates after scoring a hat-trick in the 3-0 win over Brisbane. | Photo: Bradley Kanaris - Getty Images

After a low scoring Round Six, the latest weekend of Westfield W-League action was an absolute barn-burner with 14 goals scored across the four fixtures. While goals were plentiful, close matches were not. Three of the four matches were decided by at least two goals.

The star of the weekend was Arin Gilliland who led the Newcastle Jets into a tie for first place with a first-half hat-trick. Gilliland, who plays for the Chicago Red Stars in the National Women's Soccer League, is playing in her second season with the Jets. The 3-0 victory over the Brisbane Roar on Sunday vaulted the Jets into a tie with Sam Kerr's Perth Glory and Hayley Raso's Brisbane Roar at the top of the league ladder.

Victory crush Adelaide on a Natasha Dowie brace

Melbourne Victory forward Natasha Dowie celebrates after she breaks the record for most goals scored in Victory club history. | Photo: Quinn Rooney - Getty Images
Melbourne Victory forward Natasha Dowie celebrates after she breaks the record for most goals scored in Victory club history. | Photo: Quinn Rooney - Getty Images

The Melbourne Victory have pulled out of the three-way tie for last place with a 4-0 victory over Adelaide United on Saturday afternoon. The Victory scored three goals in the first half and added a fourth just after halftime, and the anemic Adelaide offense couldn't get any traction. The star of the evening was Natasha Dowie, the English footballer who also plays for the Boston Breakers in the NWSL, who scored twice on the night and broke Melbourne's all-time scoring record with 16 in 25 matches. 

Dowie's record-breaking goal occurred 11 minutes into the match and was followed by a goal from Jeon Ga-Eul in the 33rd minute where Dowie got the assist. Just four minutes later the Victory would put a third goal on the board when Lia Privitelli scored off an assist from Christina Gibbons (Utah Royals FC). The Adelaide goalkeeper Sarah Willacy, a week after making a penalty save to earn her team a point, had her terrible night get worse after halftime when Dowie scored a second goal in the 50th minute off a beautiful header. 

The win brings Melbourne (2-1-3) to seven points and a single game out of fourth place, but they will be on bye in Round 8. Adelaide (1-1-4) hosts fellow bottom dwelling Western Sydney Wanderers (1-1-4) next weekend.

Sydney FC beats Western Sydney on the road

Sydney FC forward Remy Siemsen scored in the 21st and 24th minutes and the Western Sydney Wanderers would never make up the ground they lost as Sydney rolled on to a 3-1 victory. Siemsen's first goal came when forward Lisa De Vanna hit a rocket at the top corner that was parried away by Western Sydney goalkeeper Jada Mathyssen-Whyman, but the ball fell to Siemsen's feet and she easily put it away. Mathyssen-Whyman's night would get worse just three minutes later when Siemsen dribbled the ball down the sideline and into the box, she beat the defender by pulling the ball back and put a looping shot over the keeper into the side netting. 

Western Sydney got on the board when Ellie Brush scored a penalty in the 41st minute after a questionable handball was given against the FC defense. The penalty was perfectly taken as it hit the top netting, and Aubrey Bledsoe had no chance of making the save. Bledsoe was recently loaned to Sydney FC from the Orlando Pride in the NWSL.

Sydney FC would get their third goal in the 62nd minute when Western Sydney defender Maruschka Waldus played a slow pass back to Mathyssen-Whyman with Lisa De Vanna close on her heels. The goalkeeper tried to play the ball around De Vanna, but she was beaten and the Australian National Team star easily finished against an open net. 

Sydney FC (3-0-3) will host Canberra United (3-0-3) with both teams looking for a spot in the playoffs. Western Sydney will travel to Adelaide with both teams tied for last in the league.

Fishlock's brace leads Melbourne City to victory over Canberra

Melbourne City FC midfielder Jess Fishlock enjoys her second goal of the game in the 2-1 win over Canberra United. | Photo: Robert Prezioso - Getty Images
Melbourne City FC midfielder Jess Fishlock enjoys her second goal of the game in the 2-1 win over Canberra United. | Photo: Robert Prezioso - Getty Images

Melbourne City FC midfielder Jess Fishlock, who was just re-signed by Seattle Reign FC, scored an absolute monster of a shot from distance in the 19th minute to get the scoring started in her team's 2-1 victory over Canberra United. Fishlock caught fellow Seattle Reign player and Canberra goalkeeper Haley Kopmeyer off her line and blasted the ball into the side of the net from about thirty yards out. Melbourne City and Australian National Team goalkeeper Lydia Williams, who also plays for the Seattle Reign in the NWSL, gave a goal to Canberra forward Michelle Heyman when she misplayed an outlet pass that Heyman easily finished just three minutes after the Fishlock goal. 

The game rested in a 1-1 stalemate until the 80th minute when Fishlock hit a shot from inside the box that Kopmeyer could get a hand on, but the ball still found the back of the net. Fishlock and Heyman ended the game tied with four goals each on the season. The game must have felt like a Seattle Reign scrimmage for Kopmeyer with four of her teammates - Rebekah Stott, Lauren Barnes, Lydia Williams and Jess Fishlock - all playing for City.

The win gave City a one-point lead in the standings over Canberra, who fell out of playoff position. Melbourne City FC (3-1-2) will travel to Brisbane to face the Roar (4-0-2) next weekend. Canberra will travel to Sydney FC.

Arin Gilliland notches a hat-trick in the first half to carry Newcastle over Brisbane

The 3-0 Newcastle Jets victory came solely from the foot of midfielder Arin Gilliand in the first 40 minutes of the match against the Brisbane Roar. Her first goal came 16 minutes into the fixture when she got the road team a 1-0 lead with a rocket to the top-right corner of the net from the center of the box. Gilliland got her brace in the 31st minute off an assist from Emily van Egmond, but she wasn't done harassing Brisbane goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold. In the 40th minute, Gilliland would complete her hat-trick with another goal assisted by van Egmond. Newcastle went into the locker room with a 3-0 lead over the home team.

The second half was comparatively uneventful, as Brisbane could never break down the defense or beat Newcastle goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom. The loss means that Brisbane missed their opportunity to take sole ownership of first place, and instead finds themselves in a three-way tie for first with the Perth Glory and the Newcastle Jets.

Newcastle (4-0-2) will host Rachel Hill, who recently won the PFA footballer of the month award, and the Perth Glory (4-0-2) in a battle between titans. Brisbane will host fourth-place Melbourne City FC on Sunday.