Battle for the Golden Boot: How the goals arrived
The Westfield W-League may be done and dusted, but there is still much to be learned from reflecting on the season that was.
The 2018/19 campaign saw 189 goals scored as the players kicked off a big year for women’s football in style.
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Ultimately it was marquee Sam Kerr who finished top of the rankings, netting an impressive 17 goals in 13 appearances, including the Finals Series.
She was followed by Caitlin Foord (10), Veronica Latsko and Natasha Dowie (9 each) and Rachel Hill (6).
But how did they score their goals, and who helped them find the net?
Thanks to Opta data we can go in-depth on the leading scorers from the 2018/19 season.
Sam Kerr - Perth Glory (17 goals)
Another year, another bag of goals for Sam Kerr.
The Westfield Matildas striker was again the star of the domestic scene, scoring a career-best 17 goals, 14 of which came from open play.
History wasn’t confined to the field of play either, as the 25-year-old became the Westfield W-League’s first ever marquee.
Despite being the competition’s leading goalscorer by a country mile, Kerr was the only member of the top five not to use her left foot in the process.
She netted 11 times with her preferred right and six with her head, causing inevitable comparisons to one T. Cahill of Caltex Socceroos fame.
She did not discriminate with her timing, however, landing seven goals in the first half and eight in the second for a very even split (two came in extra-time in the semi-final).
While possessing plenty of individual brilliance, Kerr owes seven of her goals – at least partly – to strike partner Rachel Hill.
Quite the dynamic duo.
Kerr's goal stats
Caitlin Foord - Sydney FC (10 goals)
After rupturing a ligament in her foot during Sydney FC's semi-final win over Newcastle Jets in 2017/18, this was always going to be a big season for Caitlin Foord.
She bounced back in the best way possible, scoring 10 goals as the Sky Blues charged to Championship glory.
Interestingly, she was the only member of the top five not to score a header and like national teammate Kerr she strongly favoured her right foot – scoring eight times from that particular boot.
Unlike Kerr she had a much more even spread of assists, with Danielle Colaprico, Lisa De Vanna and Savannah McCaskill each providing two passes which she duly tucked away.
Foord's goal stats
Natasha Dowie - Melbourne Victory (nine goals)
A great deal of Melbourne Victory’s historic Premiership win can be put down to Natasha Dowie.
The former England international enjoyed her equal-best season in Navy Blue, netting nine goals as her side came from nowhere to beat more fancied rivals.
Unlike the top-two strikers, Dowie was much more two-footed, scoring four goals with each foot in addition to registering a sole header.
The 30-year-old was also a typical fox-in-the-box poacher, scoring all nine of her goals from within the penalty area.
Dowie's goal stats
Veronica Latsko - Adelaide United (nine goals)
Veronica Latsko arrived in South Australia very much an unknown quantity.
Fast forward 14 rounds and the American has found a place in the hearts of Reds fans after a prolific debut Westfield W-League campaign.
Like Dowie, Latsko was not biased when it came to which foot to use, knocking in four with each in addition to a header.
Interestingly she never made fast starts, failing to score inside the first 15 minutes in any of her 12 matches.
She was, however, prolific between the 15th and 30th minutes of play, scoring almost 50% (4) of her goals during this period.
Latsko's goal stats
Rachel Hill - Perth Glory (six goals)
As touched on previously, Rachel Hill’s partnership with Sam Kerr was perhaps the most dangerous in the league.
Often the yin to Kerr’s yang, Hill scored four of her six goals with her left foot, with the pair combining to make a fearsome front two.
While opposition defences had their eyes firmly glued to what Kerr’s feet were doing, Hill played a supporting role that allowed her to take full advantage and chip in herself on a regular basis.
Hill proved something of a handy weapon late on for the West Australian club, with 50% (3) of her strikes coming in the final 15 minutes of matches.
Very much a case of “you run ‘em ragged Sam, and I’ll finish them off.”
Hill's goal stats