They are the last line of defence, often saving their side’s blushes with a spectacular diving save or point-blank stop.
Goalkeepers are a vital ingredient in any successful team and the Westfield W-League is blessed with some of the finest shot-stoppers going around.
With the Dolan-Warren Awards announced for the Westfield W-League 2019/20 Season on Thursday night, we look at some of the contenders for the Goalkeeper of the Year.
Aubrey Bledsoe – Sydney FC
Bledsoe has been a mainstay of the Sky Blues side over the last three seasons and was again at her brilliant best in 2019/20.
The 28-year-old played all 14 matches as Ante Juric’s side reached another Grand Final, making an impressive 60 saves and conceding just 14 goals.
Her consistent form not only makes her one of the best keepers in the Westfield W-League but Bledsoe also earned international recognition, making her debut for the USA Women’s National Team in November.
Casey Dumont – Melbourne Victory
Dumont built a reputation as a penalty-saving queen in 2019/20, saving three penalties as Victory qualified for the Semi Finals.
The 28-year-old saved spot-kicks from Westfield Matildas Tameka Yallop and Emily van Egmond, as well as Perth Glory’s Crystal Thomas in 13 outings for Jeff Hopkins’ side.
In her 12th season in the Westfield W-League in 2019/20, Dumont produced arguably her best season yet and is a worthy contender for top honour.
Abby Smith – Western Sydney Wanderers
Most Westfield W-League fans knew nothing about Smith when she joined Dean Heffernan’s Wanderers revolution but they certainly are aware of her credentials now.
In her season playing abroad, Smith had a huge impact as the Wanderers qualified for the Westfield W-League Finals Series for the first time in the club’s history.
Injury restricted the 26-year-old to just nine appearances, with the Wanderers losing just two of those games and conceding only 13 goals.
Sarah Willacy – Adelaide United
Long considered a star of the future, Willacy showed she has arrived now with a superb campaign in a Reds side that struggled for results.
The 24-year-old played all 12 games and was a model of consistency, often bailing out her side with some memorable saves.
If she keeps performing as well as she did in 2019/20, it won’t be long before Willacy is earning higher honours.
Lydia Williams – Melbourne City
It’s not hard to see why Williams has been the Westfield Matildas’ no.1 for as long as she has.
At the spritely age of 32 Williams is showing no signs of slowing down as was again instrumental as City secured their fourth Championship in five seasons.
The numbers speak for themselves. 14 games, just five goals conceded and nine clean sheets!