Westfield W-League 2018/19 report card: Brisbane Roar
After claiming the Premiership and agonisingly losing to eventual Champions Melbourne City in last season’s semi-finals, the Westfield W-League 2018/19 campaign was always going to be an important one for Brisbane Roar.
Mel Andreatta strengthened her side in the off season, bringing in internationals Chioma Ubogagu (England) and Yuki Nagasato (Japan).
We take a look back at how they fared as they sought to go one better than in 2017/18.
Record: 6W, 2D, 4L
Top Scorer: Allira Toby (5 goals)
Most appearances: Celeste Boureille, Hollie Palmer, Carson Pickett, Clare Polkinghorne, Natalie Tathem - 13 games (including Finals Series games)
Although they ended up just four points off consecutive Premiers Plates, Brisbane’s season took a while to get going with inconsistent form plaguing them early on.
After a 1-1 draw with Perth Glory to open the campaign, Brisbane achieved their first win thanks to a tough 1-0 away victory at Western Sydney Wanderers.
A 1-0 loss to Adelaide United was cancelled out by a win over Newcastle Jets by the same score line before the Roar were rocked by a 5-1 thumping at the hands of Sydney FC.
They responded in the best possible fashion with a pulsating 4-3 triumph over Victory, and then won two out of their next three including a 1-0 triumph over 2017/18’s tormentors Melbourne City.
More inconsistencies followed as they lost again to Sydney and then thumped Canberra United 4-1 before a bitterly disappointing 1-0 loss at Adelaide United that ended Roar's Premiership hopes.
They brought down the curtain by facing the Sky Blues at Dolphins Stadium but were unable to make it third time lucky as the eventual Champions triumphed 2-1.
2018/19 W-LEAGUE SEASON REPORT CARD: Adelaide United
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It was Melbourne Victory who took the Westfield W-League by storm during the opening weeks, outshining the usual favourites of Brisbane, City and Sydney FC.
So, when Victory headed up to Lions Stadium in Round 7 still unbeaten, few expected the Roar to present much of a challenge.
What followed was a crazy game as the home side took it to their more fancied opponents, scoring four goals, two of which were own goals, while Victory scored three, including two in the closing minutes to set pulses racing.
All this went on as storms raged around Brisbane, a fitting backdrop for a thunderous performance.
Allira Toby enjoyed a fantastic campaign for the Roar, scoring five goals from 12 appearances as well as racking up the third-highest number of shots with 38.
The Ipswich-born forward is now in her third season in Brisbane after making her Westfield W-League debut back in 2015 with Adelaide.
The 24-year old has well and truly come of age and will likely be front and centre of Mel Andreatta’s plans for next season.
Elsewhere, goalkeeper Mackenzie Arnold did her chances of featuring for the Westfield Matildas at June’s FIFA Women’s World Cup in France no harm with a standout campaign, making 39 saves and standing tall even when the defence crumbled around her.
Hollie Palmer made a bright start to her Westfield W-League career, playing 13 matches in defence, including Finals Series.
The 18-year old applied herself well enough to earn 10 starts, enjoying a 71 per cent tackle success rate as well as 15 interceptions as a valuable part of the Roar’s back four.
Fellow youngster Indiah-Paige Riley also enjoyed a memorable debut season, playing 10 matches and scoring once.
Despite finishing second and being in contention for the Premiership heading into the final round, it was ultimately a season of disappointment for the Queensland club.
They bolstered their squad but a failure to put together a consistent winning run meant you never really knew which Roar would turn up on any given day.
Throw in an inability to best Sydney FC, even at home with hosting rights for the Grand Final on the line, and fans will remember Season 2018/19 as one that could have been.
On the positive side, even with inconsistent form they managed to finish second and the unearthing of some real prospects proves that the academy is doing its job.
If the creases can be ironed out there is no reason to think Brisbane will not be up there again next year. Now to take that next step...