For the first time in W-League history the Big Three, Brisbane Roar, Canberra United and Sydney FC, all lost in the same round.  The Round 5 results have seen Perth Glory extend their lead to four points at the top of the table while Melbourne Victory bounded into second position.

Here are the talking points.

1. How deep is your squad? (in the tune of the BeeGees): That is the question to be answered over two weeks in the W-League.  While all the clubs knew the Matildas EAFF East Asian Cup qualification was coming, the reality of the impact was more than some anticipated.  All squads were affected, some more than others regarding numbers, but in the end the old football adage applied; you can only play what you got and beat what’s in front of you.  The squads who could cover their losses the better won the battle on the day but who wins the war remains to be seen.

2.  Glory rising: What a difference 12 months makes.  In the corresponding fixture last season Perth Glory were completely and utterly dismantled by Sydney FC 11-0.  Yep, 11 goals to 0. It was a dark day for the club and ultimately put the Glory Women in jeopardy with the men’s team pulling their funding support at the conclusion of the season.

However, the state federation, Football West worked hard to gain funding and build a team.  The end result is almost half way through and they are top of the table, 4 points clear, with one of the best squads in the league. There is still a ways to go in the season but Jamie Harnwell’s squad have set the foundation for them to make their first ever finals series.  From there….who knows.

3.  Is the Big Three domination over?: One by one they fell on Saturday.  Sydney, toppled by Perth; Canberra, overrun by Melbourne; Brisbane, stung by Western Sydney.  If ever there was a sign that this year’s competition is more even than ever before, then the loses of the “big guns” all in one weekend was it.

Is the domination of the Big Three over? In short, no.  All had significant absentees with Matildas duties but what it does highlight is if you lose a couple of key players, you can very quickly come back to the pack. While no longer the lay down misères of previous seasons, the Big Three will still have a large say in who takes out this year’s title.

Top 5 Players of the Week (no particular order)

1.  Jessica Fishlock (Melbourne Victory) was the dominant figure of the Melbourne v Canberra game.  With her flashing blonde hair, Fishlock has was everywhere.  Controlling the midfield, with fellow international Petra Larsson, scoring goals, providing assists and generally living up to the captain’s armband she wore for club as well as she does for her country Wales.

2.  Catherine Cannuli (Western Sydney) seems to be finally returning to top form after injuries curtailed her start to the season.  On the weekend Cannuli reminded all on hand of her skill. One a first time strike and the other an audacious 30 yard chip.  As she achieves full match fitness, the talented striker will only get better.

3.  Tori Huster (Newcastle Jets) controlled the match for the Newcastle Jets from the first to the final whistle.  With Emily van Egmond on international duty, the flame haired midfielder pulled the strings and was involved in three of the Jets’ goals and scored one herself.

4.  Ella Mastrantonio (Perth Glory) never missed a beat in slotting into the Glory central midfield role in the absence of Glory captain Collette McCallum.  Mastrantonio has had to take a back seat to McCallum this season but her performance Saturday demonstrated just what quality she possesses.  That through ball for Sutton’s third goal?  Delightful.

5.  Emma Kete (Sydney FC) was a spark for a Sydney team missing five of their first 11. Dangerous all day, the only thing the Kiwi was unable to do was score (despite an enticing one-on-one).  But in terms of intelligent runs, holding up the ball and playing in teammates, Kete was first class in leading the Sydney line.

Honourable mentions: Rosie Sutton (Glory), Angela Salem (Jets), Rebekah Stott (Victory)

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