It’s hard to believe it’s been almost 10 years since a 16-year-old Sam Kerr scored in a victorious Asian Cup final.
In that time, she's delivered many outstanding performances that put her in a class of her own. Although not a complete list of her highlights, these are the moments that put her on another level.
2017 Sky Blue vs Seattle NWSL
Although she has always delivered for the Matildas, perhaps Kerr's most stunning individual performance came at club level to single-handedly defeat Seattle Reign in spectacular style.
With her team down 3-0 at half time, Kerr kick-started the comeback by prodding home through a crowded defense and reducing the deficit to one goal, with a long sprint and calm finish against two defenders.
Neither goal was celebrated though, as her job wasn't yet over.
After receiving the ball on the left-wing, Kerr cut inside, ran at the four defenders and unleashed a rocket of a shot from the edge of the penalty area to level the scores.
An action-packed 20 minutes saw the scores change to 4-4 before Sam Kerr decided the game, rising above a pack of players to head home in the 94th minute and solidify her reputation as the best striker in the league.
2019 World Cup: Australia vs Jamaica Group C
The Matildas World Cup campaign had not gone exactly to plan. In a tough group featuring Brazil and Italy, Australia faced Jamaica relying on goal difference to hold onto second place.
Two first-half headers and two close-range finishes in the second gave Australia the 4-1 win they needed.
Going into the match the team was unaware how many goals were needed to score, but Kerr played with an almost single-minded determination to get the result, scoring a crucial fourth goal by ruthlessly chasing down the keeper to tap into the net.
“I actually wanted more” was her response to the historic achievement.
She became the first Australian to score a hat-trick in a World Cup match and most importantly, the Matildas were through to the next round.
“I told her after the match that its good to sit back and watch her play” said Jamaica coach Hue Menzies, “I’d pay to watch her.”
W-League Semi-Final 2019, Perth Glory vs Melbourne Victory
The 2018/2019 season saw Kerr presented as the inaugural W-League Marquee Player and her combination with Rachel Hill helped lead Perth Glory to the semi-final against an in-form Melbourne Victory.
Victory hit the lead in the opening stages, but Kerr smashed home an equalizer from closer range in the 71st minute. After goals to either side, courtesy of Rachel Hill and Laura Bock (nee Alleway) in the final ten minutes, Kerr took centre stage as the game went into extra time.
Running onto a long ball and squeezing into a pocket of space between two defenders, Kerr lofted the ball over the onrushing keeper to put the Glory 3-2 up.
The result was put beyond doubt when Kerr split the defence with a pass to Leticia McKenna, who squared it back for Sam to finish emphatically and complete an amazing semi-final hat-trick.
This manoeuvre no doubt justified her standing as the W-League’s star player.
International Friendly 2017 Australia vs China
Sometimes the high-pressure situations can exist in the lower stakes matches. After winning the Tournament of Nations in the U.S.A, the Matildas hosted China at AAMI Park in Melbourne.
Although the 10,000 in attendance would cheer all of the Matildas players in action, many were there just to see Sam Kerr do something special.
After a trademark headed Kerr goal from a corner Tameka Yallop (nee Butt) doubled the lead, the Matildas were in cruise control, but the star striker would not let the fans go home without a story to tell.
A Caitlin Foord throw-in found Kerr 25 yards from goal in the 64th minute. She let the ball bounce and run across her body before unleashing a spectacular half volley into the top corner of the net, sending the crowd and commentary team into raptures.
Days later she would score another brace against China, but it was this screamer that made the news and in a competitive sporting landscape, it mattered.
Tournament of Nations, 2017 Australia vs Brazil
At her best, Kerr’s game is not just about goal scoring. Facing Brazil in 2017, she demonstrated a complete attackers’ skillset as the focal point of a dominant Matildas side against a prestigious opponent.
Kerr was a menace throughout and the Brazilian defence had no answer for her pace, work rate and skill. With scores at 1-1, Kerr sprinted past the defense, drew two defenders and the keeper to supply Caitlin Foord with a simple tap in.
A few minutes later, the move was replicated, a long ball from the defense found Kerr who sprinted clear to supply another tap in, this time for Lisa De Vanna.
In the 80th minute, Kerr finally got onto the score sheet after receiving a clipped Tameka Yallop pass 20 yards out.
Controlling it between the two defenders, Kerr sped through and held them off to slot past the onrushing keeper. Australia’s sixth goal of the game was the most audacious of a devastatingly efficient team display.
"Suck On That One"
Australia went into the 2019 World Cup as one of the favorites. The players were expected to perform well but the opening loss to Italy put them on the back foot.
Unbeknownst to the public, players had also been subjected to online trolling and abuse that had nothing to do with results.
After defeating Brazil 2-3 in a classic game, the skipper exclaimed, "We're back, so suck on that one!" her joyous rebuke giving fans a new rallying cry.
It was a trace of the moment comment made in the euphoria of victory, but it made headlines and made a point.
Asian Cup 2018: Australia vs Japan, Group B.
A crucial goal in an important game, the 2018 Asian Cup doubled as a 2019 World Cup Qualifier with the top two sides from each group advancing to the tournament in France.
To guarantee qualification Australia needed a draw in the final match with Japan but trailed until the 86th minute, before Sam calmed the nerves of Matildas fans with a skilful finish.
In real-time, the goal looks like a scrappy goalmouth scramble after Kyah Simon's shot into the six-yard box, but Kerr reacted quickest, beat the keeper to the ball, maintained her balance and shot home on the turn.
Although it was far from her most spectacular goal, this was one of her most important up to that point and one of incredible poise, skill and strength.
Sam has spoken before of striving to be an “insurance policy” that guarantees one goal per game. In this match, the policy paid out in full.