We have just passed the half-way point of the National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s season and it’s Sydney Olympic FC that leads the competition with only five points separating second to eighth.
There have been some standout performers for each club in this year’s league both up and coming and experienced, so let’s take a look at who has made headlines for their performances in 2021 so far.
APIA Leichhardt – Lisa De Vanna/Georgia Yeoman-Dale
The signing itself made headlines not only in New South Wales but also across Australia as Lisa De Vanna put pen to paper with APIA Leichhardt. It was without doubt the inner-west club’s highest profile signing ever and the Matilda didn’t disappoint with her return.
Five goals in five games, along with all the experience she brought to her teammates makes her one of the best signings of the season.
But having only played five games in 2021, Ms Reliable and club captain Georgia Yeoman-Dale has been APIA’s most impressive player this season.
Fine leadership, a hard-worker and happy to play wherever Spencer Prior needs her to play. To go with that, she’s played in every game this season, scoring four goals along the way.
Bankstown City – Liana Danaskos
A tough campaign at Jensen Park this year but without a doubt, definitely better than last season.
A lot of that comes down to club captain Liana Danaskos. After suffering a long-term injury, Danaskos managed to overcome that and lace the boots up once again and take the football field.
A name that is first on the list every week for Matthew Costatini and one that will fight tooth and nail for the red and black. Danaskos hasn’t missed a game this season and you can’t imagine this Bankstown team without her.
Blacktown Spartans – Sally James
They usually don’t get a lot of credit, don’t find their names in the running with the big awards at the end of the year, but Sally James should be right up there.
The Spartans goalkeeper has been phenomenal in 2021, and even that is an understatement on the performances she has put in.
Some absolute incredible saves in the eight games she has played and when you see that she has only kept two clean sheets, you’d think I’m crazy. But James has kept Brad Attard’s team in quite a few games and is a rock in front of the Spartans goal.
Emerging Jets – Moana Walker
She has been a fine leader for a struggling Jets team but a great prospect for the future with a lot of potential. Moana Walker has been one of the Newcastle based team’s shinning lights.
With one goal to her name this year, a spectacular one at that, Walker has been a consistent starter for the Jets, playing in 10 games.
Football NSW Institute – Holly McNamara/Charlie Rule
It’s one of those generations at HQ with a squad full of super talented players. And to separate two players is extremely difficult, let alone one, in particular knowing that Bryleeh Henry has been out with a long-term injury since round three.
Holly McNamara is one of the stand outs for Jaime Gomez’s team, the silky attacking midfielder also has five goals to her name and is a joy to watch on the park.
Her teammate, Charlie Rule is the second, leading the team’s scoring charts with six goals in eight games. Rule has been unstoppable at times and most of the time when she is on, it’ll be difficult to deny the Institute.
Manly United – Nicole Stuart
Everyone will expect to see Remy Siemsen’s name headlining this list and it probably should, leading the club’s scoring charts with six goals but it’s another Manly player that takes the mantle.
That name is Nicole Stuart who has exploded into the United squad and one of only three players that have taken part in every game this season for the team from Cromer Park.
Versatile and one never to shy away from a tackle, Stuart has grown into her role within the Manly team.
Sydney Olympic –Mackenzie Hawkesby/Taylor Ray
It’s been Mackenzie Hawkesby’s season at Sydney Olympic and she is a major reason the team is in first place. With the absence of club captain Teresa Polias, Hawkesby has been the one to step up and be a leader.
She’s the club’s second top scorer, chipping in with six goals in twelve games, some very important ones at that.
Taylor Ray wears the blue and white jersey for the first time in 2021 and doesn’t look at all out of place. Playing alongside a club legend like Polias would’ve helped her adapt but she’s had to do it without her for so long and what a player she is.
So calm, so controlled, running the Olympic midfield almost single handedly with a fantastic passing range and incredible vision.
Macarthur Rams – Renee Rollason
When you think Macarthur Rams, you think Renee Rollason. The Rams captain is having one of those seasons and is a major reason for the turnaround at the club after a disappointing last campaign.
A leader from the back, keeping things tight for the Rams and marshalling her teammates around her, has helped her team register six clean sheets in 12 games, a fantastic defensive return.
Not to mention, the veteran has also popped up at the other end, scoring four goals and sitting in second place in the team’s scoring charts.
Northern Tigers – Aideen Keane
Excelling across the squad, it would be easiest to say that the Northern Tigers whole team has been a standout in 2021. Currently sitting in second place, a win away from first, Jason Eagar’s side is looking good this season.
Coming across from the Football NSW Institute, Aideen Keane has definitely caught the eye this campaign. Her directness, speed, strength and will to win maybe edges her just in front of her teammates.
Every time Keane gets on the ball, you expect something to happen with opposition defenders finding it difficult to deal with her robustness. She’s contributed with four goals this season and will definitely add to her tally when the season resumes.
North West Sydney Koalas – Sophie Harding
A tough campaign at Christie Park with no one really able to take the mantle and lead the side through a tough patch.
When you think of dangerous attacking players in the competition, Sophie Harding is without a doubt right in the thick of that conversation.
Not her best season in terms of return of goals but she has managed to score three this season along with a few assists with her speed causing opposition defences major issues.
Sydney University – Kaitlyn Torpey
After wholesale changes at Sydney University, the Students have recovered well and are coming along slowly.
One of their standouts without doubt is Kaitlyn Torpey. The lanky striker has a fantastic return of seven goals for the season so far and had she been slightly more concentrated, could be well into double digits.
Her ability to spring high defensive lines, score with her head and both feet make her an extremely difficult player to defend.
Illawarra Stingrays – Michelle Carney
If you made this list every season for the last decade, Michelle Carney would be heading this list for the Illawarra Stingrays.
It seems as though Carney doesn’t age and if she does, age hasn’t affected her football ability, at all.
Not only is Carney the Stingrays top scorer, but she also leads the competition’s scoring charts with nine goals this season. Turning 40 this year, the Rays captain doesn’t look like stopping and is so important in what the south coast side does.
BY: NIKOLA POZDER, CHIEF NPL NSW WOMEN’S WRITER