Matildas in focus: Gielnik strikes gold for Roar in Tokyo tune-up
Matildas spearhead Emily Gielnik ran rampant in the 2020/21 Westfield W-League campaign for Brisbane Roar, winning the league's Golden Boot and building momentum ahead of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games.
Scoring at a rate of over one goal per game throughout her 12-game stint at the Roar, Gielnik beat the stiff competition offered by Matildas legend and Canberra United striker Michelle Heyman to take out top-scorer honours in 2020/21, netting 13 goals to help the Roar to a second-place finish.
An overseas move to Swedish side Vittsjö GIK at the end of the regular season denied Gielnik the opportunity to carry her frightening form into the Finals Series, where clinching more silverware seemed a genuine possibility. But after scoring for fun throughout the 2020/21 Westfield W-League season, Gielnik will hope to replicate her form in Orange when she dons the Green and Gold at Tokyo 2020.
Read on for a recap of Gielnik's most memorable games in a lethal season at Brisbane Roar!
Emily Gielnik Westfield W-League 2020/21 stats
- Games played: 12
- Goals: 13
- Assists: 2
- Chances created: 22
- Shots: 82
Round 5: Two for Gielnik in bruising win over Victory
Gielnik managed just one goal in four appearances to start the campaign, despite taking 25 shots on goal. But fortune turned in Round 5 for both Gielnik and the Roar in a 6-0 win over Melbourne Victory.
Gielnik scored number two of the campaign in the second half with a near post header which looped high through the air before dropping over the line at the on the opposite side of goal.
Gielnik was then on hand in second-half stoppage time to head home once more, this time from inside the six-yard box after a shot hit the crossbar and dropped fortuitously into the path of the Roar forward.
Rounds 8 & 9: Four goals in three games for Gielnik as Golden Boot charge gathers pace
Gielnik's goalscoring form picked up in the second half of the season, with nine of 13 goals coming in her final six appearances of 2020/21.
Two of those fixtures came in Rounds 8 and 9, where Gielnik scored twice in a 2-1 win over Western Sydney Wanderers and a 4-0 triumph over Perth Glory.
Gielnik scored goal number five of the season against the Wanderers after trapping Isobel Dalton's long-range shot in the box, before turning and firing the ball into the top corner. The first goal drew Brisbane level at 1-1, and Gielnik's second from the spot sealed a comeback 2-1 win for the Queenslanders.
Gielnik scored two more against Perth in Round 9, notching her second in a 4-0 win with a purposeful dribble into the box and a neat finish off her left foot into the bottom-right corner from a sharp angle.
Round 12: Hat-trick against Reds sends Gielnik clear of Heyman
When Canberra beat Brisbane 4-1 in Round 11, both Heyman and Gielnik found the back of the net once to take their respective tallies to seven and nine for the season.
The following Round Heyman scored a brace, but Gielnik scored a hat-trick against Adelaide United to go three goals clear in the race for the Golden Boot.
Gielnik demolished the Reds in a 4-2 Roar win, taking her total to 12 for the season which Heyman failed to match in her final two games of the 2020/21 Westfield W-League season.
Round 14: Lucky 13 for Roar star
After securing an overseas move to Vittsjö GIK, Gielnik approached Brisbane's Round 14 clash with Newcastle Jets eager to help the Roar seal a second-place finish on the table. A 3-0 win ensued, sealing a home Semi Final for the Roar which the Queensland side lost 6-2 against Melbourne Victory after Gielnik and fellow Matildas star Clare Polkinghorne departed to join the same Swedish side.
But before her side suffered Semi Final heartbreak, Gielnik ensured Brisbane finished the regular season on a high. A strong header from a corner delivery pushed the gap between Gielnik and Heyman to three goals by the end of the campaign to ensure Gielnik sealed the Golden Boot in convincing fashion.