Samantha Kerr hat trick sends Perth Glory into W-League Grand Final
Matildas superstar Sam Kerr has fired Perth into the W-League Grand Final, scoring a hat trick and setting up another goal as the Glory came from behind to defeat Melbourne Victory 4-2 in a semifinal stunner.
Kerr struck twice in extra-time as the Western Australians denied the premiers a place in the decider in with an effervescent display.
Victory, which led after an early Christine Nairn strike and equalised in second half stoppage time through Grace Maher, finished with 10 women after Sam Johnson's red card.
And while Jeff Hopkins' side were clearly the best team through the regular season, they were outplayed on Sunday by the fourth-placed finishers Perth.
Kerr was the difference; both on the scoreboard and on the pitch.
The hard-running 25-year-old set the tone for Glory's comeback after falling behind in freak circumstances.
Nairn fired an arrow from a tight angle to catch Eliza Campbell unawares, shaping to cross the ball but instead striking an unsaveable shot inside the front post.
Perth set about recovering their lead, and might have had two penalties in the first-half when Laura Alleway handballed and Ella Mastrantonio nudged Kerr from behind in the box.
The task got tougher for Victory when goalkeeper Casey Dumont failed a half-time concussion test and was replaced by Bethany Mason-Jones.
Kerr was tormenting markers Johnson and Teigen Allen, and finally left her mark when she got between the two to bury Rachel Hill's cross on 72 minutes.
Hill then appeared to win it for Glory in the 86th minute, heading home Kerr's cross as Perth cashed in on their momentum and coasted towards the Grand Final.
That was until Maher's late intervention, which turned the match on its head once more.
Kerr always loomed as a likely match-winner, and thus it proved when she dinked the ball over Mason-Jones to return Glory to the lead.
With Johnson dismissed for one too many fouls on the Matilda, she struck again from Leticia McKenna's cutback in the 107th minute, celebrating with her trademark backflip.
Kerr delighted in leading her hometown club into its third Grand Final.
"I don't normally score in finals so it's pretty special for me," she said.
"Once it went to extra time ... I knew we were going to win it."
It's the third straight season that the premiers have failed to win their semifinal and missed out on the Grand Final.
Victory coach Hopkins lamented Kerr's star turn and his side's failure to show up.
"There were a lot of things we did really well previously in the season that we didn't do today. That's the most disappointing thing for me," he said.
"I've got no problem putting my hand up and saying the best team won today."