Matildas in focus: Victory starlet set to continue rapid rise on Olympic stage

Kyra Cooney-Cross decided the outcome of the 2020/21 Westfield W-League Grand Final off her own boot in stunning fashion to seal Melbourne Victory's shock Championship triumph.

It was the teenager's fourth season of Westfield W-League football, and Cooney-Cross delivered a higher output in goals and assists than her prior three seasons combined in a breakout campaign for the rising star, which resulted in a well-earned Matildas debut in June.

Now, as Cooney-Cross prepares to join Matildas boss Tony Gustavsson's squad targeting medals at the upcoming Olympic Games, read on for a recap of how the dynamic player booked her ticket to Tokyo 2020 after a terrific season in the Westfield W-League.

Kyra Cooney-Cross Westfield W-League 2020/21 stats

  • Games played: 14
  • Goals: 6
  • Assists: 4
  • Chances created: 41
  • Duels: 177

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Round 3: Cooney-Cross off the mark in Melbourne Derby romp

After a 0-0 draw with Brisbane Roar in their first hit-out of the 2020/21 season, Victory blew off the cobwebs in a 6-0 thrashing of local rivals and reigning Champions Melbourne City on January 10.

Cooney-Cross was the final goalscorer for her side on the day, brushing off the chasing Julia Sardo to latch onto a lofted through pass, sliding a neat finish past Teagan Micah to put the finishing touch on a relentless Victory performance.

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Round 7: Back on the scoresheet as Victory shrug off indifferent form

Victory began the season with an inconsistent run of results, putting two wins, two losses and one draw on the board from five games. But a Round 6 win over Adelaide United shifted the momentum as Victory went on a barnstorming run of form.

In Round 7 Cooney-Cross bagged her second goal of the season in a convincing 4-2 win over Newcastle Jets. Just days after her 19th birthday, the Victory attacker found the back of the net from one of six shots on the day and created four scoring chances in a starring role for a team on the rise. 

GOAL: Cooney-Cross slots it home off her non-preferred left foot

Rounds 12 & 14: Cooney-Cross haunts Perth in successive games

Victory faced Perth Glory twice in as many games as the regular season drew to its conclusion, and a pair of wins were to follow as Cooney-Cross shifted gears.

The Victory starlet assisted the solitary goal in Victory's 1-0 win over Glory in Round 12, before scoring twice and assisting Claudia Bunge in a rampaging 6-0 win next time out.

Cooney-Cross wrapped up her brace against Perth in Round 14 with a blistering run and emphatic finish. After combining for four score involvements across two successive fixtures against Glory, Cooney-Cross went on to contribute a goal or assist in all three of the following games as Victory stormed home.

GOAL: Perth can't contain Cooney-Cross' devastating impact

Grand Final: Unforgettable goal immortalised in Westfield W-League history

Victory finished third on the table behind Brisbane Roar in second and Sydney FC who claimed the Premiers Plate. After brushing off an under-strength Roar side 6-2 in the Semi Finals, Victory progressed to a Grand Final Big Blue against the Sydney FC in which 119 minutes passed by without either side breaking the deadlock.

Up stepped Cooney-Cross to etch her name into Westfield W-League folklore. Victory received one last chance to decide the contest before a penalty shootout, as players packed the box to attack Cooney-Cross' swinging delivery from a corner.

The ball into a dangerous area beat Jada Whyman in Sydney's goal, dropping off the crossbar and over the line to stun the Sky Blues. Cooney-Cross was engulfed by teammates in disbelief and an uncontrollable state of joy as the Championship trophy fell into Victory's grasp.

It was the ultimate climax to a season of individual excellence by Victory's emerging star - a feat which caught the eye of Matildas boss Gustavsson, who handed Cooney-Cross her first cap for the national side against Denmark in June, and a slot in the squad bound for Tokyo.

Kyra Cooney-Cross' match-winning performance in the Westfield W-League Grand Final