50 Club

Whilst only 18 players have reached the triple figure mark, 80 players have reached the half-century milestone, with Melbourne City's Lauren Barnes becoming the latest to achieve the feat during last Saturday's derby against her former club Melbourne Victory.

Of the 80, only two have hit the milestone this season, however, with Jets midfielder Clare Wheeler claiming her half-century against Perth Glory on the 15th of last month.

Brisbane skipper Clare Polkinghorne (Credit @StephanieMeekPhotography)

First to 50 - Clare Polkinghorne

It may not be a total surprise, but the Roar's Clare Polkinghorne was the first to reach the half-century mark, having also been the first to reach her century of appearances. Polkinghorne has been a virtual ever-present for Brisbane since day one, and on the 3rd of November, 2012, Polkinghorne made her 50th W-League appearance as Brisbane went down 3-1 at home to Sydney FC.

Polkinghorne was the first of a whopping 16 players who reached the half-century during the 2012/13 season, edging out Lana Harch (10/11/12), Renee Rollason (24/11/12) and Caitlin Cooper & Ellie Brush (both 5/12/12). 

Interestingly, Teresa Polias and Marianna Tabain were just 11th and 12th to reach the 50 appearance mark but went on to be 3rd and 2nd, respectively, to reach 100.

Youngest to 50 - Caitlin Foord

On the 5th of October 2014, at just 19 years, 10 months and 24 days old, Sydney FC's Caitlin Foord, playing for Perth Glory at the time, became the youngest player to reach 50 W-League appearances and celebrated the milestone by scoring two goals in a landslide 10-1 victory over the Wanderers.

Foord was the 44th player overall to reach the 50 game landmark and bettered Teigen Allen's record by just 33 days after Allen had claimed the mantle eight months earlier. 

Caitlin Foord during her spell with Perth Glory (Credit to Perth Glory)

Oldest to 50 - Melissa Hudson (nee Barbieri) 

Better known by her maiden name of Melissa Barbieri, the former Victory, Jets, Reds and Matildas shot-stopper became the oldest player to reach the half-century when she appeared for Adelaide United in the opening game of the 2014/15 season. At 34 years, 7 months & 25 days, Hudson eclipsed the mark set by Joanne Burgess by 119 days.

To put this into perspective, by contrast, every single player to reach 100 W-League appearances has been younger than Hudson when she made her 50th appearance.  

Soon to join...

Currently sitting on 49, Sydney FC's Amy Harrison and Adelaide United's Emily Condon should each make their 50th W-League appearance in this weekend's round of fixtures. Melbourne Victory's Angela Beard is also sitting on 49 but will need to wait an extra week as her Victory side enjoy the bye this round.

Melbourne City's Helen Caceres (48) is also within touching distance of the milestone, whilst teammate Jasmyne Spencer (45) will need City to reach another Grand Final if she is to reach the half-century this season.

Similarly, Victory's Christine Nairn (45) will need to guide her side to the decider to reach the mark, whilst Adelaide's Georgia Campagnale (45) will need the Lady Reds to at least make the semi-finals for her to rack up five more appearances this season.

Canberra United's Ellie Carpenter should break Foord's record (Credit @StephanieMeekPhotography)

Looking further down the list, youngsters Princess Ibini and Ellie Carpenter both currently sit on 42 W-League appearances. Both superstars look set to break Foord's record of Youngest Player to 50 appearances, with Ibini having until Christmas Day this year to reach the milestone, whilst Carpenter has an extra 3 months on her side, giving her until March 2020 to amass the eight appearances required to break Foord's (or potentially Ibini's) record.

The fact that Ibini and Carpenter are both born in the year 2000 is enough to make most of us here at The Women's Game feel old, but also reminds us that the future of women's football in Australia continues to grow and hopefully our Matildas can show the whole world just that at the World Cup in June this year.