Two goals within three first-half minutes proved enough to lift Melbourne Victory to their maiden W-League crown with a deserved 2-0 win over Brisbane Roar.
Melbourne, who lost last’s year grand final against Sydney FC on home turf, had never defeated Brisbane in 11 previous meetings but were rarely troubled by a flat Roar side at Lakeside Stadium.
Melbourne enjoyed the early ascendancy and were rewarded late in the first half as Lisa De Vanna and Lauren Barnes struck in quick succession.
Melbourne Victory’s most important contributors throughout the season had been midfielder Jess Fishlock and speedy forward De Vanna, and the pair combined on 38 minutes to give the home side a crucial opener.
Player of the match Fishlock slipped in a short pass to De Vanna who duly finished with ease.
Three minutes later the Victory were well on their way to a maiden crown when American midfielder Barnes lashed home a sweet strike from the edge of the penalty area that left goalkeeper Nadine Angerer – the recently crowned FIFA Women’s World Player of the Year – flapping at thin air.
“I thought we were outstanding, and put in one of the best performances of the season,” said Fishlock.
“To win a grand final 2-0, and what I would say was quite comfortable in the end, is a great achievement.
“I’m really happy for the girls, they all really deserve this.”
The match, which featured 19 internationals, was played at a good tempo throughout but the Roar were on the back foot for long periods and unable to find their usual fluency.
Brisbane forward Hayley Raso had a rare sight of goal early in the second half, while at the other end Angerer made a superb point-blank block from Fishlock as the Victory threatened to take an insurmountable lead.
Melbourne’s Gulcan Koca missed an opportunity with a far-post header, while 16-year-old teammate Beattie Goad hit the crossbar late on – narrowly failing to become the youngest goalscorer in a grand final.
It was clear that it wasn’t going to be Brisbane’s day when Tameka Butt, who had scored in four previous grand finals, failed to find the target when presented with a good opening.