It's a decision that sent shockwaves around the football community, but there was little predicting the outrage that Sam Kerr's exclusion from the 2017 FIFA Women's Player of the Year finalists was going to produce.

After all, 2017 is arguably Kerr’s first year as an undoubted superstar.

The context

After years of fulfilling the immensely quick, agile winger role for the Matildas, over the last eighteen months Kerr had finally become the consistent goalscorer for country that she had been for club(s).

As Lisa De Vanna crept towards retirement age, it was the one thing this Matilda’s squad required, and for Alen Stajcic and co, the results soon followed.

When the Matilda’s beat the U.S for the first time in their history, before routing Japan and humiliating Brazil 6-1 to win the 2017 Tournament of Nations, hope gradually turned to acceptance. Perhaps everyone knew it apart from Kerr herself. The Matilda’s had one of the greatest female footballers in the world.

Sam Kerr had finished top scorer in the Tournament of Nations in the same year that she’d become the all time leading goalscorer in the U.S National Women’s Soccer League.

So when the time came for the announcement of the FIFA Player of the Year finalists – a ceremony that has never captured the imagination of this country before – Australians weren’t just hopeful, they were expectant.

Alas, as is becoming a drearily familiar tale for Australian football fans, hopes can be dashed in an instant. There was no Kerr in the final three, those spots were taken by American midfielder Carli Lloyd, the Netherlands' Leike Martens and Venezuela's 18 year-old striker Deyna Castellanos.

The global reaction was swift and merciless to the award's credibility. There was scant commendation for the three finalists – even U.S national team icons Abby Wambach and Julie Foudy took to twitter to express their shock at Kerr'sΒ snub.

The feeling around Aussie football had changed. Now, there was an air of injustice.

But should there have been? Kerr and the Matildas rise to prominence was exceptional, but was she really robbed, or just beaten fair and square?