Last season, Impetus‘ weekly awards for the A-League Women proved to be a real hit with our audience, and they’re back for 2022/23.
Each week the writing and photography team covering the competition for us will nominate a player, coach, and event of the week. We’ll keep a tally of the player and coach votes as the weeks go by and at the end of the home and away season announce our winners for 2022/23.
Last season’s player of the year was Cortnee Vine of Sydney FC, with Perth Glory’s Alex Epakis taking coach of the year. Here’s this season’s first winners:
Player of the Week:
KIERAN YAP: It has to be Cote Rojas. She was only signed to Melbourne City days before the team travelled to face Wellington. The Chilean trickster scored one, earned a penalty, and set up another. Nobody else was near her this round.
BEN GILBY: Cote Rojas had her magic wand out and flourished it with style at the start of the second half for Melbourne City at Wellington Phoenix. When the Chilean is in that type of form she is unstoppable. Mazy runs, outrageous skill, pin-point passing, and deadly finishing. The A-League Women is always a better place for her presence.
JONATHAN TAY: Maria Rojas produced a stunning performance in Melbourne City’s first game of the season, made even more incredible by the fact she’s only been with the team for about a week. The Chilean striker dazzled against an overmatched Wellington Phoenix backline, notching a goal and an assist. Salient throughout the game, Rojas’ magnetic ball control and tricky movement were on display for the first three goals of the 4-1 blowover: laying the opener on a plate for Bryleeh Henry, dancing her way through the defence for her own tally, before winning a penalty for the third.
BEN CAREY: Annalee Grove – It’s so hard to go past Pollicina’s two goals and an assist, but in my opinion, Grove making five saves and keeping a clean sheet against Sydney FC, probably the most offensive team in the league, is even more impressive. Honorable mentions to Shea Connors and Grace Maher for excellent first-round performances too.
RYAN MILLER-WOODS: Despite only being an injury replacement player for Hannah Wilkinson at Melbourne City, how Rojas played against Wellington truly made herself known as well as making a quick-fire impact early on in the second half, really showed that she should be a permanent member of the City squad (although her Cypriot parent club will have a thing to say about that!) For however long she will be playing this season, she will be crucial to Melbourne City if this performance was anything to go by.
KIERAN CHEA: Sydney Cummings. Her presence in the air and strong tackles helped ensure that Western United got their historical debut win.
JOHNATHAN STACK: Shea Connors of Brisbane Roar. She played her part in both her team’s goals and caused the Jets’ defence countless problems.
Coach of the Week:
KIERAN YAP: Adrian Stenta was brave to substitute proven stars at Adelaide in favour of rising hopefuls. But it paid off when Emilia Murray scored the winning goal. On paper, Adelaide did not have the depth on the bench that Sydney FC did, but the 1-0 win proves otherwise.
BEN GILBY: Can’t go beyond Mark Torcaso at Western United. A brand new team come together containing some of his Calder United NPLW Victoria stars and some other excellent signings take on the defending champions in their first-ever match and gets the win.
JONATHAN TAY: Adelaide United have big expectations going into the season, having brought back the majority of their squad, including the dangerous forward duo of Fiona Worts and Chelsie Dawber. Against Sydney FC, they were still the underdogs on paper, but head coach Adrian Stenta’s charges managed to frustrate the reigning Premiers all afternoon. They defended solidly enough, with Stenta asking his midfield to tightly man-mark, preventing easy passage through the centre of the pitch. Adelaide then managed to pull off a classic smash-and-grab, with substitute Emilia Murray popping up in the 88th minute to head home the winner, laying down an early marker for the top four hopefuls.
BEN CAREY: Mark Torcaso (Western United) – Leading an expansion team to win their first match against the reigning champions is an incredible achievement.
RYAN MILLER-WOODS: In place of father Rado, who was unable to take charge in Wellington due to illness, it felt almost like nothing had been changed as Dario Vidošić for his sides impressive opening win against Wellington Phoenixslotted himself perfectly into the role. Whatever was said by him to the team in the half-time break worked as Melbourne City really showed their quality against Wellington in the second half with how they changed the perspective of the match in a blink of an eye.
KIERAN CHEA: Western United’s Mark Torcaso capped off a great start to the season with a win against the reigning ALW champions
JOHNATHAN STACK: Dario Vidošić for stepping in at the last moment to lead Melbourne City to an impressive opening win against Wellington Phoenix in the absence of his father.
Event Of The Week:
KIERAN YAP: Aleks Sinclair’s arrival on the pitch for Western United drew a bigger cheer than the first goal of their season. Sinclair is a Calder United legend and her adulation was an encouraging sign that the supporters have crossed over to the A-League Women’s. It was also recognition for what she means to Victorian football.
BEN GILBY: After an entire season based out of New South Wales, finally Wellington Phoenix could play the first home game in their history. The first ever game of professional women’s club football played in New Zealand, the first A-League Women match to be played outside of Australia and a record crowd for a stand-alone home and away season game as well, 5,213 – all factors that made this a historic event.
JONATHAN TAY: After a whole season stricken by Covid lockdowns and travel restrictions keeping them in Australia, the Wellington Phoenix finally played their first real home game. It was a history-making moment for the Phoenix, hosting the first-ever professional women’s football game in New Zealand, and at the same time breaking the record attendance for a standalone A-League Women’s match. The pōwhiri , a traditional Maori welcome, led both Wellington and Melbourne City sides onto the field, with the mayor of Wellington and the Deputy Prime Minister of New Zealand part of a crowd of 5,213. The final scoreline could not put a dampener on the significance and emotion of the occasion.
BEN CAREY: The Wellington Phoenix corner in the 83rd minute that saw a sympthony of headers and failed clearances by Melbourne City and eventuated in a high curling shot from Ava Pritchard that deflected off Torpey and past James in goals to score The Phoenix’s first goal of the season.
RYAN MILLER-WOODS: Even though it wasn’t the result that they would have wanted going into the match, the fact that Wellington Phoenix were able to play not only at home in New Zealand for the first time but in front of a record crowd for a regular season match in the A-League Women as well was momentous. Hopefully, this is a sign of things to come and that from a Wellington perspective, more people come to support them in both the build-up to New Zealand co-hosting next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.
KIERAN CHEA: Western United v Melbourne Victory. A great crowd at City Vista was further solidified by a fantastic game culiminating in Western United’s first-ever game and win in the ALW
JOHNATHAN STACK: Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City for breaking the attendance record of a stand-alone game in the Liberty A-League.