There may be just six teams in this year’s senior women’s competition, but the quality is high.
The Border Mail’s Beau Greenway and AWFA News review the first half of the season and rate every side’s chances of glory.
Albury City is unbeaten through the first 11 weeks, but Albury United, Wangaratta and St Pats have shown signs that the defending league champions won’t have it all their own way come the business end.
Next three: Wangaratta, Wodonga Diamonds, Bye.
Season high: Going through the first half of the season unbeaten to remain in the box seat for back-to-back league titles.
Season low: Missing key players.
Star Player fancies: Bridget McDiarmid, Emily Williams.
Injury list: Emily Hitchens.
In a nutshell: After going through the entire league season unbeaten last year, Albury City has done everything possible to repeat that feat. The scary thing for the rest of the competition is that coach Robert Brown feels there is still room to improve. Brown hopes his side can make the most of its chances on goal to get full reward for their dominance on the park.
Next three: Melrose, Wangaratta, St Pats.
Season high: A 10-0 win against Melrose in round six of the season.
Season low: A late lapse in the side’s 3-0 loss to Albury City in round nine.
Star Player fancy: Lisa Cary, Brea Quinlivan.
Injury list: Nil.
In a nutshell: Have beaten every side in the competition except rivals Albury City. Coach Tony Cigana is confident the forward combination of Molly Goldsworthy and Alicia Torcaso is starting to fire, which will make them a force to be reckoned with in the second half of the season.
Next three: Albury City, Albury United, Wodonga Diamonds.
Season high: A gutsy 3-2 win against Albury United in round four to move to second on the ladder.
Season low: A 4-1 defeat to Albury United the week before the mid-season break.
Star Player fancy: Leanne Branson, Christina Mancuso.
Injury list: Mel Scott, Laura Antonello, Bella Gigliotti.
In a nutshell: A few key injuries halted Wangaratta’s momentum in the lead up to the mid-season break, but coach Tom Marshall is confident there is enough depth to call upon. Apart from the injuries, Marshall has been pleased with the start to the season. “I’ve always said we would look for top-three and a good finals place and I think that’s where we are so far,” Marshall said. “What I would like to see in the second part of the season is to consolidate second place.
Next three: Albury United, Albury City, Wodonga Diamonds.
Season high: A classy 6-0 win against Wodonga Diamonds and coming from 3-1 down to draw 3-3 against Wangaratta away from home.
Season low: A 4-1 loss to Albury United in the season opener.
Star Player fancies: Claire Mahoney, Gracie Wilson-Cooper.
Injury list: Emma Timmermans.
In a nutshell: Competitive across the board, but need to get some points against the top-two teams in the coming weeks and show their young squad is ready to mix it at the top. The loss of Timmermans will be difficult to cover in the midfield. Could go very deep into finals with a couple of good games.
Next three: Bye, Albury City, Wangaratta.
Season high: Having a full compliment of seniors at the start of the year as other clubs were struggling to field teams.
Season low: Losing three key players to injury in one game.
Star player fancies: Nichola Schubert, Holly Eckert.
Injury list: Meredith Quick, Jacqui Hawkins.
In a nutshell: Injuries struck Diamonds early before they had the chance to settle, forcing the side to manage substitutes every week since to keep the season going. Now that some of the younger girls have been forced into more game time than initially intended, the team may finally be able to settle and work towards finals.
Next three: Albury United, Bye, Bye.
Season high: Playing one of their best games against Wodonga Diamonds with only 10 players.
Season low: Losing to Wangaratta 7-0 after conceding five second half goals and falling 10-0 to Albury United.
Star Player fancies: Rachael Reitano, Tahlia Hartwig.
Injury list: Nil.
In a nutshell: Fighting each week as it comes, struggling to get enough players to training and to games. Unlike many clubs, Melrose opted to keep its side in the division one competition rather than dropping to reserves. Will grind out the year and build for the future.