Season Preview – Women’s Premier Division
The South Coast Seagulls Preview
The 2nd season of Senior Women’s football on the South Coast is upon us and all teams are ready to get back into it, or for the Shellharbour City Suns case, get into it for the first time.
We are excited to be bringing two women’s competitions to the league in 2019, a true showing of the growth in women’s footy not only in the region but around the nation.
The two competitions (Premier Division and Division One) now provides an opportunity for all players of all levels of ability to develop appropriately which bodes well for the region for many years to come.
The Premier Division competition will consist of seven teams and below is a brief preview of each team for the season ahead as well as a few predicitions.
Bomaderry lost only 1 game throughout the season and were shocked by the Lions in the Semi Final, but turned it around to win by 2 points capping off a stellar season winning the 2018 Women’s competition. New coach Geoff Gibbs takes reign from Kristy Dickson who will be focusing on playing this season. Gibbs will push the Bomo girls for back to back premierships and it all begins this Saturday as the Tigers will unveil their flag at home when they take on Northern Districts.
It really is hard to look past young gun Sophie Phillips here. Sophie won everything there was to achieve in season 2018. The Maddy Collier Medal winner has also joined the Illawarra Academy of Sport advancing her skills and knowledge of the game. She’ll certainly be aspiring to win back to back Maddy Collier Medals and Premierships.
Kiama Power finished 2nd on the ladder last season but couldn’t overcome the Bulldogs in the semi-final. The Power will have taken a lot of experience from their short finals campaign and are looking to surge to the top in 2019. Power’s 2018 leading goal kicker Phoebe Roman will look to improve on her 14 goals from last season to help the Power be up there come September.
Last year’s club Best and Fairest Tennille Shelley was amongst the best regularly and with a full season under her belt last year should improve again so keep an eye out for her name throughout the season and may very well be there on Maddy Collier Medal night.
Northern Districts Tigers
The Tigers will be pushing for a finals berth this season after falling a couple of games short in 2018. They will be looking for Brianna Davies and Valentina Siskoska to lead the charge, while down forward 2018 leading goal kicker Ashlee Smith will need her team mates to add to the score board if the Tigers are to shake up the competition. The Tigers were one of the form teams in the competition at the back end of 2018 and if they continue that this year could be one of the surprise packets of the competition.
Runner up in the Collier Medal, Valentina Siskoska will be striving to go one better and take her game to the next level and help push the Tigers case for finals. An exceptional talent, Valentina will be leading from the front and one to keep an eye on!
Shellharbour City Suns
New girls on the block, the Shellharbour City Suns enter the AFL South Coast for their inaugural season in 2019. At the helm for the Suns will be club stalwart John De Sousa who would have put the girls through their paces this pre-season to get them ready for their first game in round 2 against reigning Premiers the Bomaderry Tigers. A year behind in development may see the Suns take a few games to get use to things but after that we will certainly see them being competitive against the rest of the teams in the competition.
The Suns will be led by former Wollongong Saints premiership player, Talarah Bull. Talarah comes back to the game after a couple of years off and who better to have captain your brand-new team than her. A Shellharbour local with plenty of footy experience and footy certainly runs in the family with her brother Jimmy being on the Sydney Swans list.
Wollongong Bulldogs will be looking to improve on last year’s Preliminary Final loss and will be one of the premiership threats in 2019. They certainly won’t be lacking depth with the club becoming the first South Coast club to field teams in both Womens competition. The Bulldogs begin their season at home to cross town rivals and 2018 Runners up the Wollongong Lions which should give a great guide to their chances this year. With such a long list of players at the club, a big jump up the ladder is expected and probably start the season as Premiership favourites!
Kelsey Hogan finished equal 4th in the Maddy Collier Medal and won the Bulldogs Best and Fairest in 2018, a genuine candidate for the Collier Medal in 2019, Hogan will push this Bulldogs side to glory.
Falling just short in last year’s Grand Final by 2 points, Wollongong Lions are aiming to take out that Premiership title, the Lions will have some good depth this season and have added to their talented 2018 playing list. Midfielder April Maciejowski will return throughout the season to bolster the Lions premiership hopes after her 2018 finished early tearing her ACL. Rising Star Rani Sossai will be on the hunt to tackle anything that moves and improve her 9th place finish in the Collier Medal.
Lions new recruit Jacqueline Wilson joins the club from AFL Sydney’s Premier Division. Wilson, a key forward who can kick plenty of goals, will be up there amongst the leading goal kickers and the best for the Lions on a weekly basis.
The Saints have had a strong pre-season mixing in with their Sydney side and winning all their pre-season matches comfortably. With the deep list of players and the split between Sydney and South Coast football it is hard to know who will play in which team for the majority of the season so the Saints are the real unknown quantity of the league. The top 4 in this league will be very close so every game is vital to play finals football and with players like Majenta Collis causing headaches for any forward lined up against her along with young gun Kiara Camilleri who is on the rise in her 2nd year of seniors football the Saints are sure to be a force to be reckoned with.
Vice-captain Paige Allen was among the best last year on 7 out of 12 occasions, she’ll certainly be up there amongst the best players in the competition on a regular basis this year.
The South Coast Seagull’s Predictions
1st: Wollongong Bulldogs
2nd: Bomaderry Tigers
3rd: Wollongong Lions
4th: Kiama Power
5th: Northern Districts Tigers
6th: Wollongong Saints
7th: Shellharbour City Suns
Maddy Collier Medal: There will be plenty of newcomer talent to the league this season but from what we know Bomaderry’s Sophie Phillips is certainly the front runner for the medal although Bulldogs Kelsey Hogan will right on her tail. Sophie polled amazingly well in her first season of football with an amazing 9 Best on Ground performances while also polling in 2 other games. Other candidates are Jacqueline Wilson and pending return April Maciejowski from the Lions, April polled maximum votes in the 3 full games she played last season. A smokey would be Talarah Bull if the Suns can get some wins on the board.