A NEW season of NTFL Women’s Premier League is set to begin this weekend, with a new team added to the mix and plenty of excitement as we head into the 2019/2020 season.
The 2018/19 premiers well and truly held their own in convincing fashion, defeating Southern Districts in the grand final to be premiers for the seventh time in eight years. The side had a plethora of talent up forward, with Amy Chittick the leading goalkicker for the season with 27 goals, closely followed by Lisa Miceli (24) and Lauren O’Shea (21) to round out the side’s impressive forward onslaught. Defensively, the efforts of Lisa Roberts were key throughout the season to rebound the footy and propel it forward. With a massive percentage and three 20-plus goalkickers to boot, Waratah are sure to be back for another bit of silverware this season.
Position: 1st (Premiers)
Though the Magpies were frontrunners for majority of the season, they unfortunately went down to Southern Districts in the semi-final to be knocked out of flag contention. Despite a much lower percentage than the top side in Waratah, the Magpies kept in touch with dominant goalkickers of their own as well as a smattering of high impact players that could well and truly change the game when required. Rounding out the goalkicking leaderboard for the season were Magpies’ Freda Puruntatameri (20 goals) and Natasha Medbury (17) while key players Tabitha May and Billie Byers proved their importance on the field time and time again.
The grand finalists may not have been good enough on the day, but they certainly proved their ability to impact the contest time and time again to make it to the big dance with huge wins over St Marys and Palmerston during the finals. With impact players the likes of Tahlia Holtze, Tayla Thorn and Lateesha Jeffrey in the mix the side had plenty left in the tank, however just could not compete in the wet weather against Waratah. A solid percentage and plenty of goalkickers gave Districts the push they needed to make it to the grand final last season but an inability to compete in wet-weather footy was their downfall, meaning they will be back and raring to go once more this season.
Pint will be frustrated by their season-ending elimination final against Darwin Buffettes, knocked out well before they had an opportunity to prove their fourth place finish was deserved. With the likes of Cassie Henderson, Erin Hetherington, Kristen Smits and Danielle Suddaby among the side there was plenty of talent across the field, however it was not enough against powerhouse sides despite their form in the home and away season. It was the side’s inability to impact against teams higher on the ladder early on that kept them out of the top of the ladder, so Pint are likely to push even harder this season to get out of the rut of fourth position and contest against the hard-hitting sides.
Another side with a wealth of talent, the Buffettes made it to the semi-final before being knocked out by the soon-to-be premiers at the final hurdle. With the likes of Machaelia Roberts, Celina Whan, Kylie Duggan and young gun Dominique Carbone in the mix there was plenty to be excited about for Darwin, however a confidence boosting win in the elimination final was not enough to get the side into the grand final. Having gone close to cracking 100 points on numerous occasions last season, the Buffettes will want to one-up their 2018/19 form this season and keep their eyes on finals contention once more.
Unfortunate to be bumped out in the early stage of finals footy last season, St Mary’s is sure to be back with a vengeance this season, especially safe in the knowledge that the Saints drew even with ladder-topping Waratah back in Round 5 last season – though not much to boast about with the match was called off due to weather conditions. The side had a smattering of big names, with Alana Coombes, Katherine Dann and Marlee Gunderson sharing the load inside 50. Defensively, the likes of Lori Niven and Courtney Webb held up well during the season, unshakeable in their task however were unable to hold up defensively against sides that had a number of goalkicking options in their midst.
With a seventh place finish last season, Tracy Village just missed out on finals contention. Now the side will surely be ready this season to go that extra mile and ensure a finals berth. While it was only the washout and split points that got St Mary’s over the line last season, Tracy Village just did not do enough in the second half of the season to push past St Mary’s and allow themselves an opportunity in the finals. Kristy Irvine was the side’s leading goalkicker last season closely followed by Rachael Bull, with a number of other players able to have an impact on the scoreboard if it wasn’t for the side being plagued with inaccuracy at inopportune times. Meanwhile, Zhoe Clarke proved key around the ground week in and week out.
Finishing in eighth, the Wanderers were fortunate to come out of the season off the bottom of the ladder only by percentage. Arthurina Moreen (nine goals from 11 matches) was key for the Wanderers last season, with the side unable to capitalise in front of goal without as key target forward. That being said, Pierre-Angelique Koulakis and Lauren Motlop proved time and time again that they had what it took to get the ball back down the ground, just unfortunately not working in their favour against teams with key figures across the field.
Last season’s wooden spooners, Nightcliff will be back with a vengeance this season after falling again and again. Despite rarely finishing games with more than 15 points on the board early in the season, Nightcliff proved they have the capacity to improve and put up a fight to finish out the season much better than they started. Emma-Lou Wolsey, Hannah Turnbull and Sophie Hatzismalis did not give up regardless of the match quality, while young gun Shantel Miskin-Ripia played less than half the season but kicked nine goals from her seven games proving the key position player has plenty in the tank if the ball comes to her and that the side has plenty to prove this season.
Big River Hawks
The newest side to the NTFL Women’s League for the 2019/2020 season, the Big River Hawks will have plenty to prove when they take on last season’s finalists St Mary’s in Round 1. With little form to go off, the side will be raring to go and put the Hawks on the map this season, especially when taking on two of last year’s finalists in the opening rounds.