Westfield W-League midseason report: The up-and-coming Australian players who have impressed so far

Heading into the business end of the season, the Westfield W-League has well and truly delivered on its promise of providing a platform for some of Australia's best young talent to shine. 

With many of the league's traditional household names absent this year, it is no surprise to see some new stars stepping up to the mantle for their respective clubs. 

Here are a handful of standout performers from the teams who currently make up the competition's top five. 

*All of the players mentioned below represented the Westfield Junior and Young Matildas in their most recent fixtures and/or were members of the 23-player domestic-based squad selected or the first ever Women’s Talent Identification Camp held in Canberra last November. 

READ MORE: Midseason report: Westfield Matildas at home
READ MORE: Made in the Westfield W-League: Up-and-coming Westfield Junior & Young Matildas to watch this season

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Jamilla Rankin - Brisbane Roar 

With eight rounds played, Brisbane Roar are the last remaining undefeated team in the competition. Despite playing in a team packed with Westfield Matildas stars, it has been the performances of young fullback Jamilla Rankin that have attracted significant plaudits. 

The 17-year-old is flourishing in a backline that boasts experienced campaigners Clare Polkinghorne and Kim Carroll, excelling in both the defensive and attacking aspects of her game. 

Jamilla Rankin

In 719 minutes of action so far, Rankin has scored two goals from three shots on target and chipped in with two assists. On the ball she has made 267 successful passes, the fourth highest in the competition, at a 71% pass accuracy. The 33 crosses she has whipped in is also the fourth highest league-wide tally. 

Defensively, the left-back has made an outstanding 28 tackles and 29 interceptions as she established herself as a key part of Jake Goodship's Brisbane outfit who will be eyeing silverware come season end. Rankin capped off her impressive start to the season with a goal and assist as the Roar flexed their title credentials with a 4-1 victory over current competition leaders Sydney FC on the weekend.  

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Jessika Nash - Canberra United

Canberra United have been the entertainers of the competition this season, with one of their standout performers 16-year-old Jessika Nash making her mark in the heart of their defence.

The former Westfield Junior Matildas captain was handed her W-League debut at the start of the season and has re-paid the faith of coach Vicki Linton with a string of solid performances. 

Jessika Nash

Nash's maturity on the ball and leadership capabilities are said to be well beyond her years and she appears to be growing in confidence with every appearance. So far she has played her part in 629 minutes of action, delivering 15 tackles, 16 clearances and 11 interceptions while making 248 successful passes at 78.5% accuracy. 

Emma Ilijoski is another player who has enjoyed their first taste of W-League action this season and is continuing to grow into Canberra's left-back position.  

The Capital club have also seen some consistent performances in midfield from 19-year-old Laura Hughes and 21-year-old Grace Maher, who stole the headlines with a long-range bomb against Brisbane Roar back in round three.

Charlotte Grant - Adelaide United

Adelaide United have been the surprise package of the competition so far and appear set to challenge for their first finals birth in W-League history. 

One player delivering energetic performances week in week out has been 19-year-old right back Charlotte Grant.

In Grant's six appearances to date, Adelaide have utilised her blistering pace to create a constant outlet in the final third. Defensively she has also registered a solid 70% tackle success rate. 

Charlotte Grant

Kyra Cooney-Cross - Melbourne Victory 

The challenge for Kyra Cooney-Cross on her return to Melbourne in 2020/21 was backing up an impressive 2019/20 campaign with Western Sydney Wanderers and so far, the 19-year-old has proved she is up to the task. 

Victory may have struggled for consistency results-wise, but the dynamic midfielder has been an ever-present spark - playing all 540 minutes for Jeff Hopkins' side during their six matches so far. 

In the final third Cooney-Cross has struck two goals from six shots on target, while maintaining a pass accuracy of 75% including 10 key passes and 13 successful dribbles. She has also played her part in Victory's high-pressure defensive system, making an an impressive 12 tackles and nine interceptions. 

Kyra Cooney-Cross

Remy Siemsen - Sydney FC

Last season's Westfield W-League Golden Boot winner may have taken a few rounds to find her first goal of the season, but after breaking her duck Remy Siemsen is back leading the line for Sydney FC with confidence. 

The 21-year-old has found herself in the top scorer conversation yet again after bagging four goals in seven matches, leaving her only two behind Emily Gielnik and Michelle Heyman. Sydney coach Ante Juric has also praised Siemsen's impact in general play, where she has chipped in with an assist and three key passes at an accuracy of 75%, while attempting 22 shots, the second most in the competition. 

Remy Siemsen

Sydney FC's run of six wins in six matches to kick off the campaign can be drawn back to a number of their youngsters coming of age. 

Siemsen's fellow Manly United junior Ally Green, 22, has been resolute in a makeshift Sydney backline that had only conceded one goal in six outings before last weekend's 4-1 defeat to Brisbane. 

21-year-old Princess Ibini stole the show with a stunning brace during the opening round Sydney Derby while Rachel Lowe, 20, and Clare Wheeler, 23, have also played their part in midfield, with both registering a goal to their name this season. 

As the hotly-contested race for the Westfield W-League Premiership and Championship heats up, only time will tell which young players continue to make a name for themselves.  

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