It was an epic, hectic and thrilling A-League Women season, and Kick360 has looked across the league to determine the best XI plus substitutes.
The team is in a 4-3-3 formation similar to what the top five sides played, and hypothetically should function in a game (with a little extra workload for Mackenzie Hawkesby, but she can handle it.)
Here is the Kick360 A-League Women team of the season.
GK: Melissa Barbieri (Melbourne City)
Melissa Barbieri was not expected to play much this season. Her role at Melbourne City was seen as providing support to Sally James as she did to Teagan Micah and Lydia Williams before her.
However, when James injured her thumb, Barbieri stepped up to deliver a commanding season between the sticks.
Alongside centre back Emma Checker, she marshalled and organized a young defence into one of the most miserly in the competition. City’s second place finish was due in no small part to “Bubs” performances.
RB: Charlize Rule (Sydney FC)
Before the season began, she was called into The Matildas camp as an attacker loaded with potential. By Grand Final day, Charlize Rule was the premier full-back in the league.
She is not known for her pace but reads the game exceptionally well. Rule was part of a defence that recorded eight clean sheets in a row and was always willing to join in an attack. She scored three goals and registered two assists throughout the season.
Rule’s move to fullback was one of Ante Juric’s many masterstrokes on the way to another premiership.
CB: Matilda Mcnamara (Adelaide United)
McNamara started the season in patchy form. Adelaide United conceded six goals in their opening two matches with the skilful centre back struggling in both games.
She quickly regained her confidence and started every game as The Reds finished in third place, above eventual champions Melbourne Victory.
Adelaide’s high intensity attacking style was made possibly by the defensive effort of Matilda Mcnamara in another strong season.
CB: Clare Hunt (WSW)
The statistics make Clare Hunt an easy inclusion. In the first eight games of the season, Western Sydney conceded eight times with Hunt in the team. Once she was injured against Adelaide United, their defensive record crumbled.
In the following six games, The Wanderers conceded 19 goals. Although defence is a team effort, Hunt’s influence could not be ignored.
She was physical, committed, and quick. A perfect archetypal centre back who would surely be in the Matildas frame in years to come.
LB: Ally Green (Sydney FC)
Green has been one of the most consistent fullbacks in the competition. She is a left back with game changing ability to join attacks and help link the midfield and attack.
Ally Green’s explosive pace made her a constant threat and gave her the capacity to quickly get back into position.
She was one of Sydney FC’s best performers through a very successful season.
CM: Mackenzie Hawkesby (Sydney FC)
Hawkesby had huge shoes to fill this season. The young midfielder is not new to the Sydney FC squad but she took on added responsibility this season without Clare Wheeler or Teresa Polias alongside her.
Over 16 matches, she scored five times and created 10 assists in a box-to-box role for the Skye Blue. Her clever passing and off the ball movement made her a constant threat in attack. Her pressing game was a feature of Sydney’s early season momentum and a hattrick against Wellington Phoenix was symbolic of her improvement as a player.
At her best, she was the dominant midfielder in the A-League Women.
CAM: Alex Chidiac (Melbourne Victory)
Chidiac was initially signed on loan from JEF United Chiba in Japan. She joined Melbourne Victory in need of game time and ended the season as their best player.
With Kyra Cooney-Cross forced into a deeper role due to injuries in the squad, much of the creativity in the final third fell to Chidiac. Her ability to dribble in close spaces, slip in perfect through-balls and her defensive efforts helped Victory to fourth spot and an eventual Grand Final win.
Her endeavor and skill were on full display in a dominant finals series. Chidiac is an elite footballer who improves any team she is added to.
CAM: Rhianna Pollicina (Melbourne City)
Pollicina was one of the A-League Women’s most improved player in 2021/22. Her ingenuity for City helped bring the best out of Hannah Wilkinson and Holly McNamara up front.
Over 16 games, Pollicina recorded seven goals and three assists and delivered many of them in style.
She was a threat from free-kicks and open play, her close control and ability to quickly change direction made her a nightmare for defenses and a delight for spectators.
RW: Cortnee Vine (Sydney FC)
Vine is a player that makes life difficult for opposition coaches. She is nearly unstoppable on-on-one. Is adept and getting into the box and cutting the ball back to strikers, and can beat off-side traps with ease. Her blistering pace gives her the space and time to make good decisions and her nose for goal is outstanding.
Cortnee Vine is probably the most dangerous player in the A-League Women. When she came off the bench against Melbourne City to score twice in the semi final it was a display of electric attacking football.
ST: Hannah Wilkinson (Melbourne City)
Wilkinson’s first season in Australia’s top tier was brilliant. The New Zealand international struggled to find the net in the opening rounds but scored five times to destroy Melbourne Victory in the second derby of the season.
Wilkinson has pace, technique, height and power. She is an ideal centre forward and a difficult match up for most defenders. She is a composed finisher and can hold up the ball and bring others into play.
Her partnership with Holly McNamara was instant and fruitful as the pair combined for 18 goals between them with McNamara adding seven assists on top of that.
Wilkinson played with style and ruthlessness as she finished in second place on the Golden Boot Race.
LW: Fiona Worts (Adelaide United)
The English striker was another player to score five times in a single game. Worts put Brisbane to the sword in an astounding display of finishing.
The Golden Boot winner ended her second season in red with 13 goals in the regular season. Her ability to drift in from wide positions often deceived centre backs, and her dribbling skills helped create spaces for shots when there was no apparent danger.
Worts was brilliant as Adelaide made the elimination final. Re-signing her was one of the Reds’ top priorities and she was secured almost as soon as the season ended.
Holly McNamara (Melbourne City), Katrina Gorry (Brisbane Roar), Polly Doran (Melbourne Victory), Kate Taylor (Wellington Phoenix), Mie Leth Jens (Perth Glory), Casey Dumont (Melbourne Victory), Michelle Heyman (Canberra United)