Team of the Week, presented by Bunnings Warehouse – Round 11

It was time for Finals Series contenders to step up and stake their claim in Round 11, as three sides secured vital victories to stay in the race for the top four spots on the Westfield W-League table.

Canberra United (fifth) faced Brisbane Roar (second) on Sunday and secured a statement 4-1 win, but the Green Machine were not helped by Adelaide United (third) beating the league-leading Sydney FC 2-0 on Saturday as the Reds kept Canberra at arms length.

Melbourne Victory beat Western Sydney Wanderers 1-0 on Thursday night to stay two points above Canberra in fourth place at the end of the round, while Newcastle Jets won 4-0 over Perth Glory on Monday night.

Read on to see which players feature in a 4-3-3 formation in the Team of the Week for Round 11, presented by Bunnings Warehouse.

MW11 REPORT: Adelaide United 2-0 Sydney FC

Goalkeeper

Sarah Willacy - Western Sydney Wanderers

The Western Sydney Wanderers' goalkeeper found herself on a losing side on Thursday night, but Sarah Willacy's performance in goal gave her side a real chance of stealing a point in a 1-0 defeat to Melbourne Victory

Willacy made four saves from her five shots faced, succumbing only to an Annalie Longo strike from virtually on the goal line as the Victory snuck past the Red and Black.

SAVE: Willacy stops Lisa De Vanna getting on the scoresheet

Defenders

Angela Beard - Melbourne Victory 

It's a fifth Team of the Week appearance of the season for Angela Beard who contributed a solid performance in Melbourne Victory's 1-0 win over Western Sydney Wanderers.

The full-back won three of five duels and laid seven crosses into dangerous areas, creating three chances for her side to build on Annalie Longo's first-half opener.

But, as the Victory attack failed to extend the lead, Beard and the rest of her defensive unit dug deep to keep a clean sheet and seal three points. 

Maruschka Waldus - Adelaide United

A towering headed goal scored by Maruschka Waldus sent Adelaide United on their way to a statement win over Sydney FC in Round 11.

The central defender scored off Kahlia Hogg's delivery from a corner on five minutes and the pair almost combined once more in similar fashion in the second half, but Waldus' strong header dropped onto the crossbar and repelled away.

Waldus added three clearances, six interceptions and five out of seven successful duels to a clean sheet earned against the Sky Blues in the 2-0 win.

GOAL: Waldus strikes early to put Reds ahead

Claudia Bunge - Melbourne Victory

Claudia Bunge displayed her commendable ability to repel danger in Victory's win over the Red and Black.

Operating in the heart of defence, Bunge won six of nine duels and made an enormous 10 clearances throughout her side's 1-0 win - six more than any other player managed throughout the game.

Bunge commits to one of her four tackles against the Wanderers
Bunge commits to one of her four tackles against the Wanderers

Lauren Keir - Canberra United

Lauren Keir played her part in Westfield W-League history on Sunday afternoon, assisting the goal which took Michelle Heyman level with Sam Kerr on top of the league's all-time scoring charts.

The first-time ball from deep on the right flank fell perfectly into Heyman's path, allowing the Green Machine spearhead to finish with aplomb. Keir added a 100% tackle rate, five clearances and one interception to her memorable assist for Heyman's finish in her side's 4-1 win over Brisbane Roar.

ASSIST: Keir sends Heyman through to equal Westfield W-League scoring record

Midfielders

Kahlia Hogg - Adelaide United

Kahlia Hogg assisted Adelaide's early goal against the Sky Blues and continued to threaten in the aftermath, bossing a star-studded Sydney outfit and creating the most chances of any player throughout the contest.

Hogg earned one assist from her four created chances, won five of eight duels, made three clearances and three interceptions to go with four crosses in a dangerous display for the surging Reds.

Bianca Galic - Canberra United

Canberra United rejuvenated their assault on the Finals Series places with a 4-1 win over Brisbane Roar on Sunday afternoon, and Bianca Galic's composure and class shone in the centre of the park for the Green Machine.

Galic played 37 passes at an accuracy of 91.9% - the highest of all outfield starters in the game. The 21-year-old put the icing on the cake for Canberra scoring her side's fourth of the day with a bomb from distance which caught Morgan Aquino off her line and the Roar off guard.

GOAL: Galic fires home from distance

Rhianna Pollicina - Newcastle Jets

A goal and assist to Rhianna Pollicina in the first half of her Newcastle Jet's clash with Perth Glory helped the midfielder set her side up for a convincing 4-0 win in the West.

Pollicina scored the opening goal of the game in some style, showing excellent hold-up play to bring the ball down and spark a play out wide which ended back at Pollicina's feet in the box to convert.

An inventive assist to set Sunny Franco free to score Newcastle's second goal came in a game which included five created chances, five crosses and 10 of 12 duels won.

MATCH REPORT: Perth Glory 0-4 Newcastle Jets

GOAL: Pollicina starts and finishes clinical Jets move

Forwards

Mallory Weber - Adelaide United

A thunderous solo strike from Mallory Weber highlighted the American's damaging offensive display for Adelaide against the Sky Blues. 

Weber created two chances, laid in three crosses and took four shots as she refused to let Sydney's defence rest. A blistering run early in the second half almost led to a second remarkable goal of the afternoon after Weber's lashed strike in the first 45 which came off the back of a strong run off the left flank, leaving Jada Whyman no chance of saving the emphatic attempt.

GOAL: Weber scores a stunner against Sky Blues

Michelle Heyman - Canberra United

It was just a matter of time before Michelle Heyman scored her seventh goal of the campaign to draw level with Sam Kerr on 70 Westfield W-League goals, and it was typical of the Westfield W-League legend to choose to do so on the big stage.

Canberra were winless in three coming into their Round 11 clash with second-placed Brisbane Roar, but a goal and assist to Heyman helped the Green Machine along the way to a huge 4-1 win to keep their Finals Series chances alive. 

Heyman will be gunning to take the scoring record all for herself when Canberra face Newcastle on Saturday, March 20.

Michelle Heyman


Lauren Allan - Newcastle Jets

Lauren Allan was involved in almost everything good about Newcastle's energetic display against Perth Glory on Monday night.

Allan created two chances which garnered one assist for Pollicina's opening goal, but the forward was unlucky not to notch another assist when she found Tara Andrews alone in the box earlier in the first 45 only for the resulting shot to fall meekly into Lily Alfeld's gloves in goal for Perth.

But Allan pushed on in the second half, winning two of three tackles, making one clearance and two interceptions to go with a goal scored in typically determined style, as she caught Glory's defence napping to collect a loose ball in the box and poke it past Alfeld to put the cherry on top of a 4-0 win on the road.

GOAL: Allan catches Glory defence out to score Newcastle's fourth