While Sam Kerr has been the talk of town after four rounds of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 Season, her support cast hasn’t been too far behind — especially Alyssa Mautz.
The 29-year-old forward has four goals in four games, two of those coming in Perth Glory’s 5-2 demolition of reigning Champions Melbourne City on Sunday night.
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Mautz adds firepower to an already-impressive forward line for Perth. Kerr and Rachel Hill have formed a lethal partnership, picking up from where they left off last week.
But now that Mautz is well and truly in the picture, opposition defences must now cope with a three-pronged attack which combines speed, strength and a killer eye for goal.
The American has earned this week’s Heroic Moment due to her brace against City, summing up her contribution to the team and knack for being in the right place at the right time.
At 3-1 up, Perth hadn’t quite yet put the result beyond doubt against City. Rado Vidosic’s team were mounting a comeback, and their star-studded lineup, flooded with Westfield Matildas and players with international pedigree, were up for the fightback.
However, on 65 minutes, Mautz showed the killer instinct which has made her such a valuable asset thus far.
Sensing an opportunity, the American made a bee-line for the box, preying on any scraps or wayward clearances.
And as Leticia McKenna’s shot fired off the crossbar, Mautz got her just rewards, burying the rebound on the volley and into the bottom-left corner.
Not only was it a calm finish, but it gave Perth a three-goal lead with less than half an hour to play.
That three-goal lead quickly evaporated thanks to an Elise Kellond-Knight penalty, which restored a glimmer hope for City.
Yet, in a true testament to Perth’s trifecta of forwards, Mautz latched onto a cut-back from Kerr and put the result well beyond doubt.
Mautz has now scored from four of her seven shots in the 2018/19 Season, with six of her shots being on target.
So a bit of a warning to opposition defences: if Alyssa Mautz is about to shoot, you best be ready to suffer the consequences.
Dowie’s three brings Victory’s third
Melbourne Victory have had a whirlwind few weeks in the Westfield W-League. And where many thought they may have faltered, Jeff Hopkins’ team have done anything but.
Natasha Dowie led the line in Sunday afternoon’s clash against Sydney FC, a fixture that would truly test Victory’s title credentials.
Well, it’s fair to say they passed, as Dowie bagged a hat-trick and condemned the Sky Blues to their second consecutive loss.
Dowie’s first was an absolute rocket. The ball sat up kindly for the 30-year-old, who didn’t hesitate in firing a rocket past the scrambling Aubrey Bledsloe.
One penalty later, and suddenly Dowie had a brace.
Then, in a true showing of her guile, Dowie made an incisive run behind Sydney’s defence, latching onto a through ball from Emily Gielnik.
Two deft touches allowed the English international to slide past her defender, and from that far out, the hat-trick was all but a foregone conclusion.
Dowie gets a mention in our Heroic Moments not only for her hat-trick, but because of her contribution in Victory’s past two fixtures.
Victory began the season with a 0-0 draw against Adelaide United where they registered 21 shots. Anyone who watched that game may have realised that, even so early in the season, Victory were building something potent.
But the true test came in Rounds 3 and 4, where consecutive wins over both of last season’s grand finalists now ensure Victory and Dowie are legitimate forces to be reckoned with.
Melbourne Victory host a besieged Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday afternoon in Round 5.
Dan Barrett’s team are yet to register a goal or point in the 2018/19 Season, meaning they may just be ripe for the picking for Dowie.
Adelaide’s cleanest of sheets
Adelaide United made history last week when they recorded their second consecutive clean sheet — the first time they had ever achieved that feat in their Westfield W-League history.
If that appeared to be a fluke, Round 4’s shutout in their 2-0 victory over Canberra United proved any remaining naysayers wrong.
Pivotal in these clean sheets has been the custodian between the sticks, Sarah Willacy.
Willacy is the only keeper in the Westfield W-League 2018/19 Season with a save percentage of 100%.
She’s faced 10 shots, and shut out all of them.
Formidable stats like these are paramount not only in having a strong defence, but in mounting a title challenge.
United are three points from first-placed Melbourne Victory, and face a Melbourne City side who many may argue are under-performing.
Should United put City to the sword, they will extend their lead over Vidosic’s team by seven points - a huge gap City must address if they are to put themselves in the running for finals football.
Kingsley gets runs on the board
Jenna Kingsley’s form has mirrored her side’s performances in the Westfield W-League 2018/19 Season.
While showing glimpses of the promise we are used to, there has been something missing in previous weeks from Kingsley.
However, in Round 4 against Western Sydney Wanderers, it all seemed to click as the 26-year-old found the back of the net for the first time this season.
Jada Whyman’s wayward clearance fell into the path of Katie Stengel, who produced a save from the young keeper.
But the ball fell to Kingsley, who did what she does best, bringing up her first for the 2018/19 Season.
While Kingsley’s performance was promising, equally important is the fact that Newcastle are approaching their formidable best at just the right time.
Naturally, teams want to peak just before the finals. Yet, with the Westfield W-League so tight at the moment, Newcastle’s consecutive wins have put them right in the mix.