ALW Player of the Year: McNamara and Wilkinson share top honours

Melbourne City FC’s A-League Women season has officially come to an end with the Player of the Year night held on Monday.

While the season ultimately ended in a disappointing Finals exit, it was a remarkable turnaround for Rado Vidosic’s team. After finishing seventh in 2020/21, City bounced back strongly to finish second on the table with 11 wins from its 14 games.

Forwards Hannah Wilkinson and Holly McNamara both had standout years in their first season in City blue, and deservedly shared the top honour of the night.

Wilkinson scored 14 goals for the season, more than any player in the league, also meaning she picked up City’s Golden Boot. She added a further two assists as she caused problems for defences week in, week out in her first season down under.

McNamara’s first professional season was sadly cut short due to an ACL injury, but prior to that she was the breakout player of the league. She scored four goals and provided three assists, whilst also completing 20 dribbles in just eight games. McNamara’s strong form resulted in a Matildas call-up for the 19-year-old, and she made her national team debut in the Asian Cup back in February.

Another City star who caused plenty of problems for defenders this season was Rhianna Pollicina who picked up the Coaches Award.

She played every game of the season and drew plenty of praise as she was awarded the PFA Player of the Month in both January and February. She scored seven goals and gave off another three assists from her 29 key passes as she picked holes through opposition defences throughout the season.

The final award of the night went to none other than goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, who was voted the Players’ Player.

25 years on from her professional debut, Barbieri showed she still has plenty left in the tank as she set records and defied expectations all season long. She made 46 saves throughout the season and kept a clean sheet on six occasions, all the while providing plenty of leadership and experience in the dressing room.