As we approach the business end of the Westfield W-League season, it’s time to review which teams are on track for success in 2019/20 and which teams have fallen short of the mark.
Heading into the international break, our next live Westfield W-League action is the Melbourne Derby on Thursday, 13 February so we are looking back to review how the campaign has unfolded so far.
Which sides are on pace to compete for silverware and which clubs have it all to do to make the top four and qualify for the Westfield W-League Finals Series?
We review the highs and lows from each team's 2019/20 season below.
Last season: 5th
This season (as of Round 11): 1st
What do Teigan Collister, Katie Stengel and Sofia Huerta have in common?
They are the only players to score past Melbourne City goalkeeper Lydia Williams this season. Those three goals were scored in the first four games of the season. Since then Rado Vidosic’s side have strung together a stretch of five straight clean sheets and marked their report card as Premiers elect.
City are well and truly back as the dominant force in the Westfield W-League after the three-time champions shockingly missed out on the Finals Series all together in 2018/19. In a campaign built on a solid-steel defence, it took City until Round 7 to win a match by more than one goal and only once have they scored more than twice in a game.
But with eight wins from nine matches and a six-point advantage at the top, four more points will secure their second Premiers Plate and full focus will turn to a fourth Championship in five years. While title rivals Western Sydney, Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar have seen key players depart mid-season, City’s all-star cast is as united as ever.
STATS LEADERS: Westfield W-League 2019/20 by the numbers
Western Sydney Wanderers
Last season: 9th
This season (as of Round 12): 2nd
The wooden-spoon upstarts stunned the competition when they surged out to three straight wins in the 2019/20 campaign but it was not until they demolished reigning Champions and Harbour City rivals Sydney FC 5-0 in Round 5 that Western Sydney truly announced themselves as genuine threats to the Westfield W-League’s establishment.
Led by five-goal United States dynamo Kristen Hamilton, Dean Heffernan’s side are the competition’s leading scorers with 21 goals in nine matches, but some cracks began to emerge when they were hammered 4-0 at home by Brisbane Roar and fell to a 3-2 loss at rock bottom Adelaide United.
Wanderers have never qualified for the Finals Series and they have never been in a better position than they are now. Six points behind City, the Premiers Plate may be slipping out of their reach. But five points ahead of fifth-place Roar means that two more wins will take them to the promised land.
Last season: 3rd
This season (as of Round 12): 3rd
The defending Westfield W-League Champions were firmly put in their place by noisy neighbours Western Sydney, but the Sky Blues responded in the best possible way with back-to-back wins and clean sheets.
Ante Juric’s side have the second best defensive record in 2019/20 – only conceding three goals in eight games outside of that 5-0 humbling by Wanderers – and in young Remy Siemsen, they have discovered a striker who has fired them back into the trophy picture with seven goals in nine matches to lead the Golden Boot standings.
The losses of experienced Westfield Matildas Caitlin Foord and Chloe Logarzo have put a dent in the team but their absence opens up opportunities for the likes of exciting young talents Princess Ibini and Amy Sayer. The Champions were not favourites in last year’s Finals Series and it would take a brave person to write them off in 2019/20.
Last season: 1st, Premiers
This season (as of Round 12): 4th
Melbourne Victory’s slow start to 2019/20, winning only one of their first five matches, may have cost them the chance of successfully defending their maiden Premiership crown but they have bounced back in style.
Jeff Hopkins’ side, led by club captain and six-goal top scorer Natasha Dowie and boosted by the returning Laura Brock, have rallied to piece together four straight wins and put their Finals Series destiny in their own hands.
They were the first team to take points off Western Sydney and they collected four points from their Finals Series rivals, Brisbane Roar, setting them up for a strong tilt at the top four. With City and Sydney FC still among their games to play, one big result is likely to be needed to get themselves over the line.
Last season: 2nd
This season (as of Round 12): 5th
After a choppy opening to the 2019/20 campaign, Roar put the competition on notice by announcing themselves as Championship dark horses with a 4-0 trouncing of Western Sydney Wanderers on January 12.
Whether Brisbane can kick on from what is indisputably the result of the Westfield W-League season so far is anyone's guess. On his first season in the dugout after replacing Mel Andreatta, Jake Goodship and his side must contend with the departure of star Westfield Matilda Hayley Raso. The renaissance of another Australia international in Katrina Gorry softens the blow of Raso joining English Women's Super League outfit Everton somewhat.
Fixtures against Perth Glory and Canberra United could put Roar in a good position to secure a Finals Series berth before closing the regular season against Melbourne City, against whom their credentials for silverware will face a more decisive examination.
Last season: 8th
This season (as of Round 12): 6th
Canberra United looked set to mount a Finals Series challenge after the early rounds but a run of four heavy defeats to the Westfield W-League's top four teams ended hopes of extending the season in the nation's capital.
American former college track and field star Simone Charley, Brazilian playmaker Camila and returning Norwegian striker Elise Thorsnes provided bright sparks as Heather Garriock's side collected 10 points from their first six games.
Losses to Western Sydney Wanderers (4-0), Melbourne City (4-0), Sydney FC (4-0) and Melbourne Victory (3-0) have left the Green Machine short of the top four, although they are set to improve on their 2018/19 position going into their last two matches of the campaign.
Last season: 7th
This season (as of Round 12): 7th
The Newcastle Jets have done themselves proud this season despite never truly looking a Finals Series force, which was always going to be a tough ask considering the club's youthful core of players.
Although the table reads seven defeats from 10 matches, the Hunter side – managed firstly by Craig Deans and then Ash Wilson – have only lost three of those games by more than one goal, and none by more than two goals.
Goalkeeper Claire Coelho has delivered a stellar campaign between the posts for the Hunter side, while long-time Jet Tara Andrews is among the competition's top goalscorers with five goals. The likes of Teigan Collister, Clare Wheeler, Tessa Tamplin and Paige Kingston-Hogg have all given Jets fans reasons to be optimistic for the future.
Last season: 4th
This season (as of Round 12): 8th
Any team in the world would feel the effect of Sam Kerr's departure and despite a valiant attempt to remould the team following her absence, Glory have fallen well short of last season's runners-up finish which saw them compete in the Grand Final.
Crystal Thomas has proven an exciting addition to the competition, as has Celia Jiménez, while Natasha Rigby's leadership of Glory's clutch of budding stars has been commendable.
A thrilling 2-2 comeback draw with Adelaide and a 4-2 win over Newcastle Jets in the last month shows Bobby Despotovski's side are not going to let the season slip idly past them as they develop their young prospects in the final three games of the campaign.
PLAY FOOTBALL: rebel Play Football Round is on again this weekend
Last season: 5th
This season (as of Round 12): 9th
After falling agonisingly short of a maiden Finals Series appearance last season on goal difference, Reds fans were hopeful that luck would smile on their side during 2019/20.
How wrong they were. This season has been a tale of misfortune for Ivan Karlovic's team, who have shown they are more than capable of mixing it with the competition's best but have been unable to turn considerable promise into results.
United States import Mallory Weber has provided highlight reel moments and the 3-2 win against Western Sydney Wanderers showed their pedigree, but the South Australians were ultimately not able to convert performances into points like they did during their excellent 2018/19 campaign.
SIGNING NEWS: Fowler departs Adelaide, two more sign on