Catley relishes 'dream' W-League triumph

Matildas defender Steph Catley delivered a standout showing in the W-League grand final, capping off a season where she took her game to another level.

Steph Catley has won five W-League championships and two premierships but the Melbourne City captain's most recent triumph might be the sweetest.

The Matildas vice-captain was named best afield and scored the winning goal in City's 1-0 grand final win over Sydney FC on Saturday, claiming a premiership-championship double in an unbeaten season.

"It's been honestly a dream season," Catley said post-match.

"This team is incredible and it's been so fun to play alongside so many talented players but also alongside so many people that genuinely want to win for each other."

Playing alongside a cluster of high-profile attacking teammates at national team level, Catley has somewhat gone under the radar in the public eye.

But this season, playing as a wing-back, Catley's offensive prowess has been as prolific as her defensive reliability, with coach Rado Vidosic effusive in his praise of the 26-year-old.

"Steph is the ultimate leader," he said.

"She is as professional a player as I've seen in the A-League or W-League that I've been involved (with).

"It's a pleasure to coach players like Steph and you know that you can rely on her every day of the week and definitely on the weekends and she's been a very important part of the way that we play with wing-backs and allow them to contribute in our attack and in our defence.

"I think she covered every blade of grass in the last 14 games so that's been just fantastic. So hopefully she will continue wherever she ends up next, and continue to do a good job."

Catley's "next" destination is on hold.

The defender was linked to a move to Europe but had planned to return to America's NWSL before the coronavirus outbreak scuppered those plans.

As things stand, Catley is uncertain whether her fifth season at City, where she was a foundation player and has won four championships, will be her last for the foreseeable future.

"I still haven't made any further decisions obviously with what's going on in the world right now - it puts a lot into turmoil," Catley said.

"So haven't made any decisions on what's next.

"But, I mean, this is my club. When I'm in the W-League, this is where I want to play, this is where my heart is."


AAP