Women's Division 1 Preview
Women’s Division One
What is most pleasing about this competition is the year on year growth we are seeing which is highlighted by the inclusion of three new teams this year in Pennant Hills, Campbelltown and Wollondilly. There does appear to be almost two divisions within this competition and with the addition of a couple of new teams next year it would be great to see a Division Two competition be added. A third division would allow the newest teams with many new players to the game get an easier introduction into the game and will be beneficial for the growth of women’s football.
2016 will see up to six teams genuinely challenge for the premiership. Reigning Premiers Gosford will be the team to beat and have a number of stars in their ranks and will benefit significantly from the inclusion of Alison Parking from Newtown. With talls Amy Hessell and Tess Mutton as key position players, the Tigers (formerly Wildcats) will be confident of going back to back.
Wollongong return to the second tier this year after a couple of tough seasons in the top division and are expected to be very strong once again. Boasting a number of younger players on the up, mixed with a good number of experienced players, a finals berth is expected.
Auburn GIANTS were one of the bigger surprise packets in 2015 and their improvement should continue and we expect them to be one of the teams to beat. Falling agonisingly short of a maiden Grand Final appearance last year, the club has been very active in the off season and will benefit from a very deep squad of players. The loss of Angela Priftis for last year’s finals was probably the difference for the GIANTS and her strong combination with Haneen Zreika will drive the side forward this year. A premiership would not surprise at all as they make their charge for Premier Division.
Penrith went ever so close last year to claiming a maiden premiership but just couldn’t get across the line and will be right in the hunt once again. Boasting the best player in the competition in Nikki Perrett and a number of other representative players, the Ramettes will be looking to get off to a better start this year after a slow first half of 2015. They hit their straps in the second half of the season and were favoured by many to claim the flag but would have been disappointed with their final game of the year.
Western Magic and UTS Shamrocks round out the genuine chances and will be looking to improve on 2015. The Magic were the biggest surprise packet being a first year side and playing finals while the ever consistent Shamrocks were bundled out of finals by Penrith for the third consecutive year. Against the Shamrocks in their age profile but they do have more experience than most sides. On the flip side, the Magic have a new, young squad which should hold them in good stead in future years while also being a real chance this year.
Below these sides are new and second years sides who are developing well. While probably only Manly-Warringah from the remaining group are expected to challenge for finals, the pleasing aspect is the huge number of new players to the game which bodes well for the future. Well done to these sides for getting the numbers!
James Medal favourites
Most pleasing about this competition, is that the majority of the players likely to poll well are of the younger generation highlighting the exciting times ahead for female football. Auburn lead the way with two superstars in the making in Haneen Zreika and Angela Priftis. Both NSW/ACT State players already (Priftis also a Youth Girl All Australian), their development should continue and will be two to keep an eye on this year. Zreika was unlucky not to win the James Medal in 2015 and will start slight favourite from the dashing Priftis. With Wollongong returning to Division One, they would be expected to be prominent and as such their younger players including Kate Stanton should catch the umpires attention. 2015 premiers Gosford will again be one of the teams to beat and state player Amy Hessell will be influential. Penrith also boast a number of stars including dual best and fairest Nikki Perrett who always polls well
Jade Van Dartel
- Western Magic
- UTS Shamrocks
- South West Sydney
- Pennant Hills