It’s not easy picking one team of the year. And I’ll be honest, I don’t particularly like picking ToTYs because it’s soooo subjective and it depends on so many different factors. But I was set a cheeky challenge from a conversation of who would win out of the younger and older players, with under 19 and over 19 the decided marker to allow for equali-ish depth in the playing pool.
Disclaimer, the shirt numbers don’t align, that’s me being lazy and using an auto-generator system online that clearly doesn’t know how positions and numbers work in soccer.
THE UNDER 19’s
Georgia McMullen is tasked with the gloves due to being a huge reason behind how stingy South’s defence has been all season. Add on an ability to know how to waste time and the choice is readily made.
The fullbacks are picked on a matter of pace, recovery runs and forays in attack, both Courtney Hingston and Meg Gaffney have been solid for Ulverstone in this light. While at centre back the experienced tough tackling, ball carrying Sophie Leszczynski is a no brainer. While Airlee Lawson has stepped up to be the rock at the Lions defence, earning a spot here.
If tenacity, fighting spirit and clever passing is the aim of the game, it’s difficult to go beyond either Bronte Gadon or Christabelle Moore. The well rounded players bring a high work rate that would keep this side ticking, while also providing creativity moving forward. Olivia Bomford receives the nod in attacking midfield for her consistency in picking defences apart and danger in supporting the attack.
A front line that’s not scared to implement a high press with urgency and pace. Isabella Ferrier and Bridie Cooling could both be picked at fullback too, however their hunger to turn the ball over high up the pitch is a game changer. While Laura Davis has produced another stellar season, bagging goals with super cool composure, particularly into the later rounds.
The Bonertz-Benn twins have had a breakout season in their first year in the WSL. The youngsters together were hard to overlook in the starting XI, with the omission purely down to competition for places and a theory both would be brilliant impact subs. They’re able to pick out passes, unafraid to shoot and have an engine that can fit in the midfield or attack with ease.
THE OVER 19’s
A goalkeeper who can also play centre forward is forever a great option, Shelley Cook has shown she can do both this season. The Zebra received the nod over Jenna Farrow purely for facing more shots, resulting in more saves this season.
Mady O’Brien’s leadership at the back, encouragement and experience have been on full display this season. Pairing her with Lucy Reimer who has been strong in her tackles and possesses an excellent left boot provides a strong base. While at fullback it’s all about consistency, with Isabelle Dadswell and Louisa Marmion provide that in bag loads this season.
The Warriors season was won off the back of Innocent Michael’s ability to protect her defensive line, as well as her strength on the ball. In contrast, Olivia Young has been consistently solid in a difficult season for University. While Eli Cropp receives the nod for her driving runs being a point of difference for Ulverstone in attack this season.
The obvious choice at number 9 is Bonnie Davies, over 25 goals in one season is an unreal return from 15 rounds. The shift centrally for the Warrior reaped reward, adding the bite of a goalscorer to her repertoire. Goals continue to speak, with Eliane Fader and her back post lurking ability, adding composure in front of goal to her speed down the flank. While Allie Berry may not have spent time on the wing this season, her dynamism fits the role, speaking volumes even through tough spells in front of goal.
It’s always handy having a defensive sub, and it’s difficult to look beyond Maddie Black who brings confidence on the ball and knows how to play the anchor to a 3 player defence. While every squad would love to have an impact sub with the experience and hunger of Danielle Kannegiesser. The Clarence Zebra easily makes her way to the bench.