MATCH OF THE ROUND
Woongarrah v Kanwal
Our WPL Round 1 Match of the Round is local derby that sees Woongarrah hosting Kanwal at Hamlyn Terrace, Sunday at 3:00pm. Round 1 is always as big as it comes, but when it’s a local derby it makes it just that extra special for the players, coaching staff, spectators and clubs involved. Woongarrah and Kanwal faced twice last year as Kanwal came out winners on both occasions (3-0), (1-0).
Woongarrah finished in 8th spot on the ladder last year, only picking up 4 wins from their 14 games. Woongarrah Coach Dave Hurley says his side will have a “new look” for the 2021 Season. Dave also went on to add “with the ability to retain a core group of 14 players returning from the 2020 season and a number of new players joining us. We are really excited, with the balance of youth and experienced players and are happy that the new players have decided to take this opportunity to join our squad for 2021”.
“It’s going to be a huge year ahead for our youthful squad, competing against several well-established teams that have formed some very notable combinations. Taking this into consideration, we will learn to adapt to these conditions and look forward to this season”, Dave stated.
A win in the opening round for Dave and his side over their rivals could do wonders for the WPL Wildcats side going forward.
Kanwal come into Round 1 full of confidence after not only taking maximum points away from Woongarrah last year but coming out victorious in their Mate Association Cup fixture (5-2). Kanwal WPL this season will have new faces in charge as they welcome Jennifer Tatum and Hayley Ballard to their coaching staff. Kanwal who finished in 3rd place last year will look to once again challenge for League Champions after being the only team to beat 2020 WPL League Champions Gosford during the regular season last year.
Coaches Jen and Hayley are anticipating “Another close year in the WPL competition but we are excited about what our squad has to offer and are hoping to be one of the top contenders again this season. We are excited about what the year will bring for our squad both on and off the pitch”.
Kanwal who was very unfortunate not to reach last year Grand-Final will look to come out quick against Woongarrah as they are “expecting a good hit out for the first round”.
East Gosford v Southern & Ettalong
East Gosford welcome Southern & Ettalong to Hylton Moore for their Round 1 clash this weekend. These two sides would get one win each over each other last year during the regular season (2-4), (3-0) but when the two sides met in pre-season it was the Rams who won with a significant 8-0 win over Southern.
East Gosford just missed out on the 4th spot last year, but East Gosford Coach Jorge Chavez has had quite an influx of new players to his WPL Squad. Not only has the influx of new players helped Jorge, but he credits the club also. “As a club a lot of work behind the scenes has taken place to improve and grow our women’s program. With so much in the pipeline, the excitement can be felt throughout the club.
As for this weekend Jorge knows Southern are not to be counted out and excited for the match-up ahead, “The squad is excited to see what the year brings and can’t wait for our first round against the Lions who we know will come out a much better team”.
Southern & Ettalong had quite the disappointing year finishing in 6th place with 6 wins from 14 games. Southern who were crowned League Champions in 2019 will look to get back to their dominant way starting this weekend against the Rams.
Southern introduce new coach Augusto Terra for the 2021 Season. Augusto has made some changes to the squad and is happy with the way his squad is shaping up. “This season we are building a new team, the pre-season went well, and the team is now starting to look good both physically and technically”.
Having already faced East Gosford in the cup, Augusto knows that round 1 will be tough. “The first game is not going to be easy, and I believe that every single weekend we are going to face challenges. However, we have been training hard and we are ready for this”.
Killarney v Terrigal
Killarney will do battle against Terrigal at Edsaac Field for round 1. Killarney and Terrigal only faced once last season and it was the Terriers who came out on top in a very close match (1-0). It was Killarney once again who came out victorious in their Mate Association Cup meeting with a dominant 3-0 win.
Killarney Vale welcome back Adam Tait who will takes charge once again in 2021. Killarney will look to improve on last year where they finished in 7th place, but Adam knows that will be easier said than done. “We have had a disruptive pre-season with a few injuries and player losses to other clubs, our players are aware of a tough season ahead”.
This tough season will start this weekend for Adam and his side who says, “We are expecting a tough game against Terrigal for our first game of the year”.
The Terrigal ‘Olasses’ will enter this year relatively unchanged from last season’s squad who placed 4th. Terrigal who was unlucky not to go on a final’s run, got knocked out by Kanwal in a very intense game that had to be settled in extra time. Terrigal Coach Darryl Darke has focused his off season recruiting both experienced players and promoting the youth.
“We have attempted to recruit both experienced players and promote players form our youth system and integrate the squad to our culture and playing style, we are looking forward to the season starting and expect Killarney to be a competitive and tricky first round opponent “.
Umina v Kariong
2020 WPL Premiers Umina will start their 2021 campaign hosting Kariong at Umina Oval. Umina got the best of Kariong last year on both occasions they faced (7-1), (2-0) and will look to do the same come this weekend. Kariong who finished in last place last year will look to get their season of on the right foot and what better team to beat then the Premiers.
Umina’s main focus this year will be to continue on last years success. Umina only lost two games during last year’s winter season, which so happened to come from League Champions Gosford. Although Umina did get some revenge beating the Gosford side on penalties in the Grand-Final, Umina will most certainly be confident they will be able to take out both titles this year.
Umina coach Steve Donaldson is not overlooking his first-round opponents, “despite their unfortunate results last year, Kariong are no pushover team. More importantly, I’m hoping my team is able to start off the year with the same quality we were able to produce which got us to win Premiers”.
Kariong will be looking to start their year off on a high and put last season behind them. Kariong coach Haylie Eyers is very confident in her squad’s ability for the 2021 season. “This squad is continuously being developed, so after a tough season it will certainly be challenging to prove ourselves once again and win the games, we know we can”.
Haylie also went on to add, “We are expecting the strong teams within the competition to retain their position, however hopefully with the right training and conditioning we can maintain composure on and off the field to show that we are a fighting force in the season ahead”.
Gosford v Wyong
Gosford will look to go back-to-back League Champions this year as they will start their season welcoming newcomers Wyong to Gavenlock Oval. Gosford who will be disappointed they could not complete the double last year and have very high expectation’s for the year ahead. On the other hand, Wyong will enter the 2021 WPL season as an unknown as they will look to shake things up.
Gosford who almost completed a perfect undefeated season fell short in their last game of the winter season to Kanwal (1-0). The Gosford WPL squad will be looking to go all the way this year as they set their eyes on completing the double. Coach Peter Edwards is happy with the way his side is shaping up. “We have managed to keep most players from last year, so the atmosphere and team culture is better than ever”
Pete also went on to add, “Our first game is against Wyong, so we’re not sure what to expect. We are focusing on our game and our style of football and come game day we are confident that if we deliver and execute, with the quality of players we have, we should have a good start to the 2021 season”.
There is a lot unknown about Wyong’s WPL side and what they have to offer this year. Wyong’s WPL side for 2021 will be coached by Paul Halton. Paul is well aware of the difficulties with starting a new side from scratch but is happy with how his side has come along.
“This is Wyong Football Clubs first year back in WPL, it’s been a challenge building a squad but we have made great signings. We are looking forward to our first challenge against Gosford in round 1”.