Adamstown Rosebud JFC
Premiers, 46 points
After overachieving in 2015, Rosebud strengthened their squad for 2016 with handy acquisitions Rhali Dobson and Jasmin Courtenay and under the watchful eye of new coach Ben Herron, which proved to be the powerhouses of the season. They lost just two games on the way to the premiership but were unable to get past a firing Wallsend at the final hurdle and make it through to the decider.
What coach Ben Herron said: “I can’t fault the girls. Obviously, they are upset in not making the Grand Final but they’ve definitely had a good season and should be happy with what they have achieved. I don’t think others expected us to go as well as we did.”
Warners Bay FC
Second, 38 points
Under the guidance of Leon Davis and with some key recruits, Warners Bay went from wooden spooners in their first Herald WPL season last year to second from the top, playing a high-tempo and potent brand of football. Now they are lining up for their first Herald WPL Grand Final appearance in a remarkable turnaround for the club. They also had all four grades feature in finals football.
What coach Leon Davis said: “We hadn’t won by round four and were coming last and I said to the girls, ‘We’ll finish second and win the Grand Final”. I believed once we found our way we could beat anyone.”
Merewether United FC
Third, 35 points
It was always going to be a big ask to back up from the historic achievements of last year when they became the first team in the league’s history to capture the minor premiership-championship double. United lost several players in the off-season and it took some time to find their feet again this year. They were looking like the team of last year through the final series but paid the price for not being clinical enough in the final third.
What coach Cassie Koppen said: “It’s been a bit of a frustrating year because we have had more than our fair share of opportunities and haven’t capitalised, but on the flip side we’ve formed a good team bond.”
Fourth, 30 points
Another strong improver of the season. Last year the club had a baptism of fire in Herald WPL and finished second from the bottom. Captain Keely Gawthrop stuck loyal to the Red Devils and new coach Marc Hingston recruited well, signing a host of quality players including Newcastle Jets pair Jenna Kingsley and Libby Copus-Brown. They were the best team on paper at the start of the year but struggled with inconsistency. They appear to have hit their straps now though.
What coach Marc Hingston said: “I thought it was going to click straight away but it has taken time but I always knew when it did click it was going to be something special.”
South Wallsend JSC
Fifth, 20 points
South Wallsend looked strong on paper but suffered a double blow when they lost former Newcastle Jets player Stacey Day to injury in pre-season then former Newcastle Jets player Hannah Brewer headed to Sydney. They recruited former Matildas player Amber Nielson midway through the season who gave them impetus and direction. They played a nice brand of football but struggled in the final third and with depth but will be stronger for this season next year.
What coach Elyce Bates said: “Although we didn’t get the results we were hoping for I was proud of the effort from the girls towards the end of the season. It would have been easy to walk away but the girls showed some great character and proved to be a real competitive side. It’s early days for South Wallsend as a WPL club.”
Thornton Redbacks FC
Sixth, 12 points
Thornton showed some promising glimpses but struggled with both squad depth and costly lapses in games. When they were switched on they earned the praise of many of the top sides and will be a force next year if they can add a couple of Herald WPL seasoned campaigners.
What coach Alan Primmer said: “We competed with most teams; we really just need to add some depth. The biggest thing is that we’ve just got to get numbers. We need to find four or five experienced first-grade players.”
Football Mid North Coast
Seventh, two points
They suffered massive casualties in the off-season but still turned up every week and refused to say die. Mid North Coast, a team of youngsters, played some brilliant football and challenged the top sides but youth, inexperience, and depth cost them. They have a bright future if they can stick together.
What coach Matt Baker said: “Obviously it was a tough season but the girls that did play, because of their age, did get a lot out of it and I think the last game proved that. If they stick together for another two or three years it will really pay off.”