It has been seven years in the making, including one notable near-miss, but Perth Glory have finally achieved an impressive maiden Westfield W-League premiership.
The Glory have been in imperious form this season racking up nine wins from ten starts and ticking off a host of records on the way.
Locking down top spot is particularly gratifying for the local contingent, notably the team’s local Westfield Matildas’ stars such as Collette McCallum and Kate Gill who have represented WA football on and off in different guises for over a decade.
“You achieve some incredible things with the national team, but it is always great to do well domestically,” says Gill, who has led from the front this season as the league’s top goalscorer.
“It (success) has been coming I think. We struggled in recent years with injuries, and not having the depth. But we recruited well and those players fitted in well with the local talent we already had.
“Football West do a stellar job with us, they are the sole contributor to your team, and I think it is just reward.
“We get a great crowd and the majority of them are female players. I think it has been a boost for WA football, and especially WA women’s football.”
It is Gill’s first silverware of a long career, but a greater goal awaits in next month’s finals series. Having locked down a home semi-final, the Glory are now just 90 minutes away from an inaugural grand final.
“We would like to take it all the way through,” said Gill. “And on our current form there is no reason why we can’t (win the championship).”
Two years ago the Glory faded in the final weeks of the season to finish second, and were then eliminated in a heartbreaking penalty shoot-out defeat against Melbourne Victory.
This year was the chance to rectify that near-miss and the Glory have done so in style. They achieved a club record six consecutive wins, and a league record nine wins from ten matches from the start of the season.
They are also now just one point shy of equalling Brisbane Roar’s record points tally. The Glory’s goalscoring has been remarkable and with two matches remaining they are just five goals shy of overhauling Sydney FC’s record goals tally set last season.
“We have always produced some quality players, but we have never been able to put everything together,” said Glory coach Jamie Harnwell.
“We have a good mix of experience and youth, and a good mix of WA players plus some from interstate and overseas. The whole group has gelled really well and to have only lost one game so far is an incredible achievement. It is huge (for women’s football in the west).
“I told the players they needed to prove they are best team in the league. Now in the finals we have to prove we are the best team on the day. We have to be confident going into a home final, but it is still a one-off game.”