WOMEN’S FOOTBALL PREVIEW - FROM EFNL
Updated: May 6, 2021
Wow…after a long wait of 18 months, women’s football is back this weekend. A lot has changed for every team across all divisions, with new coaches, new players and new rules, so to help you get into the women’s football spirit, the first women’s preview is here.
Berwick: It will be Berwick’s first season in women’s football in nearly a decade, so it is hard to read how they will go in round one having not played a competitive game yet as a team. The 18-month break was a period of change for many clubs and for Berwick the 2020 hiccup was a blessing in disguise, as it gave the club time to invest in developing their newer female players. Berwick believes their strong list with mix of experience and youth will give them a great opportunity to be competitive in 2021.
Inside word: “We are extremely proud and excited to relaunch our women’s footy program,” women’s coach Matt De Poilly said. “Over the past two years we have focused our energy on building an inclusive culture club wide to ensure that the women’s team integrate into the Berwick football community and create a strong sense of belonging.”
SBL Wolves: There is a lot to look forward to in 2021 for SBL Wolves, after they were promoted from Deakin University Senior Women’s South Division to Division One. SBL Wolves went down by seven points to Rowville Hawks in the South Division decider in 2019 and will look to consolidate their position in Division One in 2021.
Inside word: “I truly believe it is going to be a very even competition in 2021,” SBL Wolves Senior Women’s Coach Simon Mehegan said. “I personally can’t see any easy games, having some knowledge of a few teams from 2019, they weren’t easy games then, they are not going to be any easier in 2021.”
North Ringwood: Exciting times ahead at North Ringwood following their promotion of moving two divisions to Division One and winning the 2019 Deakin University Senior Women’s North Division premiership in comprehensive fashion over Park Orchards by 54-points. It will be a fair step up for North Ringwood this season and there are many unknowns, but they are looking forward to the journey ahead.
Inside word: – “ (The ) Goal really is to enjoy ourselves; we’ve jumped up two divisions and it’s really largely unknown to what to expect in the premier league,” North Ringwood senior women’s coach Jules Hanson said. “Obviously, they were standouts before my time winning the flag, but jumping up two divisions is a fair step up and we don’t know really to expect.”
Park Orchards: The 2021 season is sure to be a learning season for coach Simon McAuliffe, who is yet to coach a match in the regular season. But expect his side to be competitive on their quest to feature in back-to-back finals series following their grand final loss in the 2019 Eastern Region Women’s North Division to North Ringwood.
Inside word: As McAuliffe embarks on his second year as coach and first regular season, he said he is “looking forward to a strong showing from the girls.”
The Basin: Expect the Basin to come out firing in 2021, as they look to liberate themselves after a heartbreaking grand final loss in Division One to South Croydon. Over the 18-month break, the club went on a strong recruiting drive after they lost some key senior players to the Gold Coast, with players joining from Upwey/Tecoma, Knox and Donvale.
Inside Word: The Basin women’s coach Mat Bailey said that their opponents in round one (East Ringwood) should not be underestimated. “They are a strong side, coached well and full of strong able bodies,” Bailey said. “They always give us a good run for our money our first round match up with East Ringwood will tell us a lot about the new Basin team.”
East Ringwood: 2021 marks senior women’s coach Peter Baker’s fourth year at the helm and he will hope his team can improve on their week one finals exit in 2019. Despite a number of players not returning for the 2021 campaign there are still a core group of players who have been working hard, but they have struggled to get to training.
Inside Word: East Ringwood played in one practice match against The Basin two weeks ago and even though they were unexperienced, Baker was pleased with the efforts of his team. “We will have a few girls who are playing football for the first time and I expect we will get better as the season progresses,” Baker said. “Our new captain, Rebecca Gallagher and her vice captains, Steph McNamara, Jen Hicks and Keeley Hudson all played well in the practice match and they will all be instrumental to us being competitive.”
Boronia: It was a first round finals exit from Boronia in 2019 Deakin University Senior Women’s South Division and in 2021 the club has 20 new players who will play in their first season of football. Boronia cannot wait for the season ahead and to get back to a sense of normality after two preseasons. The Hawks will play Ferntree Gully in round one and expect it to be a close match as the two sides have played some tight matches in recent times with the most recent encounter being the week one final in August 2019.
Inside Word: “We’re excited to see them in action,” Boronia Senior Women’s Coach Scott Nicholas said. “Lots of players will have the chance to step up into new roles and see how they go.”
Ferntree Gully: Expect Ferntree Gully to be no easy beat this season after they just missed out on playing in the big dance last time out, losing by seven-points to SBL Wolves.
Inside Word: Looking ahead to the season, senior women’s coach Tim Cavanagh cannot wait for actual football to commence and to see his team fulfill their untapped potential. “We’re excited to be playing Division One, knowing we’ll be playing quality opposition each week and can continually test ourselves and keep improving,” he said. “There’s a heap of potential in our team and we know once we click as a group, (with new players and after the year off), we’ll be very competitive.”
Rowville: Following their premiership glory in Deakin University Senior Women’s South Division, Rowville are excited and hungry for more success after a long layoff.
Inside Word: Rowville women’s coach Sean Alston said, “we’ve recruited some new talented players who have fitted into our culture beautifully.” After an 18 month wait, Rowville will play their first home game in round two. “We’re very excited to unfurl our premiership flag in round two after such a long wait,” Alston said. With Rowville working on constant improvement after being the 2019 premier, expect them to be vying for finals once again and the team to beat in the Division One competition.