Graphics by: Ben Carey.
Throughout the home and away season, Impetus‘ team of writers and photographers covering the A-League Women have been voting for their player and coach of the week. Now, just days before this year’s Grand Final, we have finished tallying up the votes and can announce our winners.
Impetus A-League Women Player of the Year:
Our player of the year poll sees a tie between Alex Chidiac and Cyera Hintzen. Chidiac built up a large chunk of votes during the opening two-thirds of the season that she spent at Melbourne Victory. Over the final third of the campaign, Hintzen and Michelle Heyman began to close the gap rapidly, but couldn’t quite overhaul the Matildas’ midfield dynamo. Impetus contributors give their thoughts on the final standings.
Alex Chidiac is a master of the midfield arts. A player who can see the runs her teammates will make before they set off, Chidiac has time and again this season played passes that threaded the eye of her needle to meet their runs and create chances. If this isn’t enough, the Matilda can also pop up with a superb goal or a well-timed challenge. The fact she remained top of the voting charts despite only playing two-thirds of the season perfectly highlights her qualities.
Throughout the second half of the season, Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis constantly said that he viewed Cyera Hintzen to be “the most complete number nine in the league.” The way she stepped up to the plate after Rylee Baisden’s season-ending ACL injury was superb. Playing with a range of different attacking players, each with differing strengths didn’t faze the American – she linked up with them brilliantly, and had a deadly link-up with Izzy Foletta outside her on the flank.
Alex Chidiac missed the last third of the season but was dominant enough when she was here to take out this award. She was in spectacular form for Melbourne Victory and was simultaneously their best midfielder and attacker for a time.
Her ability to break open defences combined with a work ethic to press and track back made her one of the league’s most watchable players. A Matildas call-up was well deserved and perhaps overdue.
Victory are a game away from another title decider, and without Chids it is hard to imagine that being the case.
Cyera Hintzen was one of Perth Glory’s most dangerous and effective players and shone in her second campaign in the league.
Six goals and seven assists is impressive, but they often came in spectacular fashion. What sets the American striker apart is her ability to combine with different styles of strike partners, and to be effective dropping deep or wide. Hopefully, Hintzen returns for more A-League Women’s seasons, because she is a joy to watch.
It’s pretty close with the votes for player of the year, but I like who has come out on top. A midfield general who commands the play and can pop a goal when you’re least expecting it and an exciting foreign forward who helped to get Perth Glory to one point from finals contention.
No one can deny the brilliance of Alex Chidiac. She’s the definition of a game changer and has played that role with both the Matildas and Melbourne Victory. She’s a master of both attack and defence and is everywhere on the field.
In her second season in the A-League Women, Cyera Hintzen has shown class, done her job to both score goals and deliver assists, and brought some flair to the Glory front line. She’s got the speed and positioning to assert in front of goal and this has won Perth matches.
Melbourne Victory had a challenging regular season, dealing with a host of injuries and an inconsistently performing midfield and only just squeaking into the top four via goal difference. In amidst that, Alex Chidiac was so often the dynamic difference-maker for them, popping up with crucial goals and assists, never afraid to take on a shot or cut through an opponent.
In her second season at Perth Glory, Cyera Hintzen led the line very well, finishing up as top scorer for the Western Australians. The American notched six goals, to go along with seven assists, capped off by an incredible display in a 4-3 come-from-behind win over Melbourne City, as Perth narrowly missed out on the Finals for the second season in a row.
Even though she didn’t play the full season, Alex Chidiac’s impact was immense. She dominated the midfield with energy, intent, and creativity. She scored six goals and bagged five assists. Time and time again, Chidiac was the best player on the field and was the difference-maker in tight matches.
Cyera Hintzen played her debut season in the A-League during 2021/22 and showed a lot of promise, but this year that promise was fully realised. She scored six goals and assisted in seven more. There were several players who scored more goals than her, but more often than not Hintzen scored exactly when Glory needed it the most. Whether she was in the starting line-up or used as a super sub, Hintzen’s impact was always palpable.
Impetus A-League Women Coach of the Year:
Western United head coach Mark Torcaso picked up the most votes across the home and away season to be named as our Coach of the Season. Holding off Ante Juric, boss of Premiers Plate winners Sydney FC, Torcaso was a deserved winner as he guided his team to a Grand Final in their maiden season.
Whilst his final margin of victory was only two votes, Western United head coach Mark Torcaso led the chart from start to finish. Taking a newly constructed team to a Grand Final is a sensational achievement. This was Torcaso’s team, and he cleverly blended a group of Calder United NPLW Victoria players with an experienced spine of experienced Australian players along with some astute overseas signings.
Mark Torcaso has had two jobs this season. First, he had to prepare a team made up of mostly new faces to the league, then he had to get results. Most observers would have expected Western United to be competitive, few would have predicted they would make the Grand Final in their first season.
Western United have been impressive for the majority of the campaign, and a second-place finish is a significant achievement. As a manager, he trusted in players from the NPLW and recruited excellently. Hillary Beall and Hannah Keane were unknowns in Round One. Now one has a Golden Boot, and the other is up for fans’ player of the season.
In the Semi-Final win over Sydney FC, he adjusted tactically and made game-defining substitutions. This was a remarkable first season at the helm.
The voting has been very accurate here with the coach of the first club to qualify for the Grand Final topping the list. What a year it will be for Mark Torcaso if Western United take the trophy. Admittedly, he has a lot of talent to work with but he chose his team well and has them working well together in their first year. It’s highly unusual for a brand-new team to do so well, so he’s clearly doing something right. There have been a few hiccups along the way, particularly their first loss to Western Sydney Wanderers and Jess MacDonald having to return to the NWSL mid-way through the season.
Beating Sydney at home last week in the semi took some fortitude and a solid match plan to stand up to that assault. Torcasco’s had the answers time and time again and deserves to come out on top here.
Whether they win the Grand Final or not, it’s been a hugely impressive debut campaign from Western United and head coach Mark Torcaso. They’ve defied all expectations to produce a second-place finish built on the back of a squad with familiarity from their time in the National Premier League together. Torcaso has been able to take them to the next level by instilling in his charges a grit, willpower, and determination to defeat more heavily-fancied opponents all season long.
Mark Torcaso’s debut season in the A-League was phenomenal. His team, Western United, beat all of the best teams in the league, and although they suffered some inconsistency near the end of the regular season, they were only one point away from dethroning the five-time Premiers, Sydney FC. Western United, under Torcaso’s tutelage, also showed incredible resilience and fight and were able to make the Grand Final at the first time of asking.