Women’s Premier Division Preview
Women’s Premier Division
2016 will see the top tier of the Women’s competition elevated to Premier Division status which is a positive move for the game and shows the elevation of female football within Sydney. Once again it will likely be the top three sides in Sydney University, UNSW/ES and last year’s Premiers Newtown fighting it out for the flag. The Breakaways will start the year as the clear side to beat following on from the 2015 success. In a tight Grand Final, the addition of the key Balmain Dockers recruits proved the difference and the side should build from that win. What has changed though is the number of teams reduced to six with Wollongong’s relegation to Division One. Ideally a larger number of teams in Premier Division would be preferred but such is the gap between the two competition currently that it would be detrimental to some clubs to force them to a higher grade when not quite ready. In the next 12 – 24 months however that looks likely to change as the experience, depth and quality of all teams increase.
As already stated, Newtown look the side to beat. While they haven’t necessarily added to much to their roster, the biggest competitor Sydney University appear to have dropped away with a few key departures. The Bombers will be very competitive once again though and after two premierships and a runners up finish in the past three years deserve plenty of respect. UNSW/ES have been building for a few years now under Tracey Kick and may well be the side to challenge the Breakaways. With state players in Maddy Collier, Bec Beeson, Jacinda Barclay and Holly Cogle mixed with a few younger players who will be enjoying their third or fourth season their premiership window is now.
Below the ‘big 3’, the bottom three sides look to be evenly matched meaning the last finals position will be an open affair. With reigning Mostyn Medallist Amanda Farrugia leading Macquarie University, they are always a danger. Having built slowly over a number of years, they are beginning to gain some consistency and have some talent among their ranks. Similarly, Southern Power in their second season in the top flight now have a good blend of experience and youth on the rise to improve off a good first season in this division. Both sides boasting a number of state representative players in opens and youth will rely on their new players to help close the gap to the top. Western Wolves have struggled for numbers this season but have been a constant over recent years and play a tough brand of footy and shouldn’t be underestimated. Only just off the top three sides last year, they do need an influx of youth to boost them.
What is most exciting though about this competition is the new wave of young players filtering through the sides which bodes well for the league in future years. The speed, skills and athleticism of the likes of Steph Walker and Nic Barr really stood out during last years Grand Final and you throw in Western Bulldogs draftee Maddy Collier, young forward Bec Beeson and it’s an excitement package competition. And who could forget Lael Kassem’s goal for NSW/ACT against Queensland which was played on high rotation and a great advertisement for the flair of women’s football?
With a firm focus on female football and a national competition now just 12 months away, the talent pool is building quickly which is exciting for all involved.
Mostyn Medal Market
There is an abundance of stars at the top of the Mostyn Medal market including the past three winners. Reigning Mostyn medallist Amanda Farrugia will start as favourite to go back-to-back if she stays fit. While the Warriors are expected to lose as many games as they win, ‘Fridge’ will likely get votes most weeks regardless and if these are two’s and three’s she’ll be hard to top. The previous two winners (Steph Walker – Sydney University and Maddy Collier – UNSW/ES), despite their young age are considered veterans now and will certainly attract votes. As will Sydney Universities Rising Star Nic Barr who’s run and carry really stands out. What is exciting to see is like the Division One competition, the young brigade are coming to the fore which bodes well for the future. While Newtown are expected to dominate the competition, they are likely to have a wide spread of players polling votes which will hurt their individual chances. 2015 Deborah Rogers Trophy winner (for Best on Ground in the Grand Final) Codie Briggs is the pick from the Breakaways however. Fi the Western Wolves can win a handful of games you would expect Lael Kassem to also stake a claim at the top individual honour in the state.
In: Kate Winterbottom
Out: Kathleen Parker, Rheanna Lotter
Out: Tracy Baker
In: Megan Lawrence
Out: Rebecca Villis,
In: Isabella Rudolph, Meg Haynes
Out: Beth Watts, Lauren Grundeman,
In: Rhiannon Coulson, Tia Bool
Out: Steph Tate, Loretta Mcgrath
- Sydney University
- Macquarie University
- Western Wolves
- Southern Power