Herald Women’s Premier League action takes a break this weekend as the competition’s eight clubs turn their attention to the Women’s State Cup. Here’s what the coaches had to say ahead of the annual tournament.
Second on the Herald Women’s Premier League table, Broadmeadow coach Jake Curley sees the cup weekend at the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility as an opportunity to further develop the club’s younger players.
“Our main focus of this weekend is to give the under-17s girls that are playing experience playing with the senior squad,” he said.
“We have five regular first graders playing and I think it’s a great opportunity for our 17s to get a better understanding of senior football.”
Warners Bay will be hoping for a return to form when the tournament kicks off on Friday after what has been a rough few weeks for the Panthers.
“We are hoping to use this weekend as an opportunity for some younger players to gain some experience in the top grade and with some of our senior players,” Warners Bay coach Craig Atkins said.
Meanwhile, Mid Coast coach Mick Grass will be using the weekend to shape his side’s approach for the second half of the season.
“State Cup is an opportunity for us to work on some new concepts moving into the back half of the season, as well as develop bonds and relationships within the playing group,” he said.
It is a similar story for New Lambton with first-year coach Maddy Searl confident the weekend can help the development of her young side.
“State Cup for us is about being competitive whilst giving our youth a chance to develop in a senior football environment. It’s a great opportunity for some of our next generation to step up and match it with the big guns,” she said.
Adamstown Rosebud JFC coach Ryan Campbell has his eyes set on the trophy come Sunday though development is also high on the first grade coaches’ agenda.
“This weekend our main goal is to gain results and to ultimately win the tournament,” he said.
“It would be great to get some experience into some other players but our main priority is the result on Sunday afternoon.”
As well as the eight Herald WPL clubs in action, the tournament will also feature community clubs Cooks Hill United, University of Newcastle Women’s FC, North Coast Football, Kempsey Saints FC, Nelson Bay FC and Garden Suburb FC.
The group stage starts on Friday night before continuing into Saturday, with the finals series to be played on Sunday.
The State Cup final will be played at 2pm on Sunday, broadcast live on Bar TV, with the Community Plate Final to be played at 12.30pm.
With many clubs using the Women’s State Cup as an opportunity to also showcase their next generation of talent, we asked some of the coaches who might be a player to a watch in the future.
Broadmeadow Magic – Sunny Mitchell
“Sunny has a great attitude, great work ethic and good demeanour,” Magic coach Jake Curley said.
“She was a player who came across from South Wallsend and has really improved this year which is a credit to the coaching staff Bobby Dodovski and Sam Iuliano.
“Sunny can play anywhere across the midfield and is pretty consistent for someone of her age. She turned 16 on Thursday.”
Warners Bay FC – Mia Cook
“Mia is a talented footballer and at the age of 15 she has already tasted first grade football at WPL level,” Panthers coach Craig Atkins said.
“Mia is a mature young girl who works hard at training and is a good listener. Mia is the future of the club along with her twin sister, Sophie.”
Maitland FC – Tahlia Gossner
“Tahlia has been playing as a central defender but can also play at fullback or in midfield,” Magpies coach Keelan Hamilton said.
“Her discipline to training and her coachability are absolutely fantastic. She is a humble person who just keeps getting better with every opportunity.”
Adamstown Rosebud JFC – Ellen Hughes
“We seem to forget she is only 16 years of age as she is playing so well and has been playing consistently now ever since I came in,” Adamstown coach Ryan Campbell said.
“She is an attacking midfielder with a lot of quality and I hope she gets to show her ability this weekend.”
Mid Coast FC – Evie Bobilak
“She is an exciting young player who plays in the midfield or up front,” Mid Coast coach Mick Grass said.
“At 17, she’s into her second year in the top grade and is calm and composed on the ball while having an incredible work ethic.
“She has a dry sense of humour and often has the whole squad in stitches.”
New Lambton FC – Izzy Winter
“She is coming back from a knee injury and has been firing,” Eagles coach Maddy Searl said.
“Through her injury lay off she attended every training session and game. She’s always putting her hand up to help out within the club.”
Mid Coast FC
Cooks Hill United FC
University of Newcastle Women’s FC
New Lambton FC
North Coast Football
Warners Bay FC
Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Kempsey Saints FC
Nelson Bay FC