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With the Liberty A-League Women’s competition coming to an end in dramatic fashion, we turn our attention to our very own National Premier Leagues NSW Women’s competition.

If you want to know how much quality our league possesses, just take a look at the A-League Women’s team of the year, 12 players selected from our competition in a squad of 17, a dominant display.

How will our 12 teams line up after almost 10 months since a ball was last kicked in this competition? Find out below in our 2022, NPL NSW Women’s season preview.

APIA LEICHHARDT

Without a doubt, contenders. They were last season, they will be this year and definitely a team looking for honours.

Spencer Prior remains at Lambert Park with not too much change to his squad.

The Squad 

Georgia Yeoman-Dale, Grace Maher and Susan Phonsongkham won’t don the famous maroon colours this year. But Prior and APIA’s very own Silvio Berlusconi (Matteo Maiorana), worked hard in the off season to bring in some quality players.

Melbourne City’s Holly McNamara was arguably the biggest signing of all, but her devastating ACL injury has ruled her out for more or less the season.

McNamara’s team mate at City, Kaitlyn Torpey also joins the club, having formally played for Sydney University. While Sarah Hunter (Syndey FC), Sarah Langman (WSW) and Shea Connors (Brisbane Roar) have all made the move to Lambert Park.

Despite signing ahead of last season, Nicki Flannery will seem like a new signing for APIA having missed 2021 through injury.

The Expectations 

Prior is happy with the squad he has at hand but also the depth across the club.

“We’re expecting to be competitive across all age groups and will be looking to promote those that are playing well,” Prior said.

“We were disappointed with how the season ended last year having been leading the club championship despite so many injuries and a significantly smaller budget than other teams.

“The Club Championship will again be a strong focus in 2022.”

The Youngsters 

With APIA’s under 18’s team travelling to Italy and gaining some important experience against some of the world’s best teams at the Viareggio tournament, Prior believes there are some up and coming stars to keep an eye out on.

“Keep an eye out for Estelle Fragale. She came through the Institute program, and once she starts training with the Senior squad I think she’ll thrive in the environment.

“I’m also expecting Claudia Cicco to follow on from her 1st Grade exposure last year. She was a train-on with WSW this year and looks ready for a big season,” Prior said.

The Competition 

Prior echoes much of what everyone else has said about this season being one of the toughest yet.

“This will be the strongest NSW NPL season I’ve seen for a long time. With players coming in from SA, VIC and QLD to be part of our comp it’s hard to pick one team.

“It’s hard to compete with clubs that have significant links to A League clubs or can offer academic scholarships. We’ve managed to retain some very good players and will be competitive,” said Prior.

The Prediction 

Anything less than the Top 5 would have to be considered a failure for this team. Expect them to challenge for the title.

Team List 

Sophie Magus, Deborah-Anne De La Harpe, Claudia Cicco, Lizzy Ralston, Tori Tumeth, Leah Davidson, Sarah Hunter, Kaitlin Torpey, Shea Connors, Rhianna Pollicina, Princess Ibini, Logan Garard, Estelle Fragale, Sophie Hoban, Nicki Flannery, Sarah Willacy, Holly McNamara, Alex Tims, Zoey Halpin,Jess Urquhart, Isabella Di Sipio.

 

BANKSTOWN CITY

Improvement. Massive improvement in 2021 and they’ll expect the same in 2022 under head coach Matt Costantini.

Since Vesna Milivojevic’s Bankstown flirted with the Top 5, they’ve been nowhere near, but last year looked much better.

The Squad 

There has been a bit of change at Jensen Park but two notable departures have to be Izzy Hodgson and Meleri Mullen and they will be missed.

Costantini has been busy though in the off season, bringing in a number of quality players to improve the squad, in particular in the front third where the team struggled over the past few seasons.

The long list of arrivals comes with a heap of NPL NSW experience including Daisy Arrowsmith, Emma Stanbury, Paige Hayward, Alexia Karrys-Stahl, Demi Koulizakis, Baxter Thew, Brianna Edwards, Siobhan Edwards, Tiana Jaber and Emily Condon.

“We’ve hopefully fixed our scoring woes from last season,” said Costantini.

“Squad is shaping up well, we’ve had a long pre-season and we managed to keep all the players we wanted from last seasons squad while also being able to strengthen in areas we needed to,” Costantini added.

The Expectations 

That word improvement is thrown around a lot with Bankstown and their coach echoes that word also with his season expectations.

The expectations don’t stray too far from last season’s either.

“We want to continue to build on the foundations we laid down last season, continue playing our brand of football and be competitive in every match we play,” Costantini said.

The Youngsters 

There have been some gems produced by Bankstown over the years and Costantini thinks he may have the latest ready to take off this term.

“Young player to watch would be Skye Casacchia, she’s taken her game to another level,” said Costantini.

“She’s been awesome all pre-season and I believe she’s in for a great year, that could hopefully put her in the shop window for A-league sides come the end of the season.”

The Competition 

For the Bankstown coach, there are two teams that stand ahead of the rest of the pack.

“Obviously the two big teams are always Olympic and APIA it’ll be hard to split them this season.”

“If I had to pick one it would probably be APIA, they have a lot of quality players that at any moment can change a game,” Costantini said of his former club.

The Predicition 

If they have genuinely fixed their goalscoring problems and Daisy Arrowsmith is firing, Bankstown will most definitely not be a pushover by any stretch of the imagination.

Mid-table with a potential push for finals football if things go their way.

Team List 

Briana Edwards, Skye Casacchia, Stephanie Ambrose, Kate Macpherson, Marayam Mostaghimi, Liana Danaskos, Olivia Price, Lorena Bugden, Daisy Arrowsmith, Emma Stanbury, Panayiota Petratos, Georgia Plessas, Demi Koulizakis, Elin Rosenberg, Paige Hayward, Tiana Jaber, Emily Condon, Alexia Karrys Stahl, Siobhan Edwards, Baxter Thew

 

BLACKTOWN SPARTANS

It was a solid 2021 for the Blacktown Spartans with visible improvement and Brad Attard will be hoping he can continue that rise.

The Squad 

The Spartans had a fine squad on the books last campaign but will enter 2022 without some big names on the list.

Most notable of all is Kyra Cooney-Cross. The former Melbourne Victory superstar has left Aussie shores and will turn out for Hammarby IF in the Swedish Damallsvenskan league. She’ll be joined in Scandanavia by Spartans team mates Courtney Nevin and Charlotte Grant.

“It’s a huge loss for us but at the same time we are excited for them to go over there,” Attard said.

Blacktown didn’t waste time in bringing home two of their juniors having finished their stints at the Football NSW Institute. Jess Nash and Bryleeh Henry will both be back in orange in 2022 and will be welcome additions to Attards team.

Jamilla Rankin will offer some A-League Women’s experience in defence, arriving from the Brisbane Roar.

The Expectations 

As mentioned earlier, the Spartans had a solid 2021 campaign before COVID interruptions and will be aiming for much the same this time around.

Brad Attard’s season expectations don’t stray too far from that either.

“An uninterrupted season would be great. Overall, just looking to be competitive and consistent throughout the 22 rounds,” said Attard.

The Spartans head coach is happy with how his squad is shaping up and spoke about the atmosphere in and around the team right now.

“The squad is looking great at the moment. There’s a fantastic vibe which has pivoted around positivity and work rate.”

The Youngsters 

Another arrival at Blacktown Football Park is Abbey Lemon who returns to the Spartans after an overseas stint.

Attard is excited to see what Lemon can bring to his team and is definitely one to watch.

“Abbey returns from Spain this season back to Blacktown – Abbey has had a great pre-season and is really focused on having a positive impact to the 2022 season,” said Attard.

The Competition 

Who will win the competition? No one in particular Attard says in what promises to be a competitive season.

“The NSW NPL is one of the most competitive leagues in the country.”

“With most clubs hosting many A-League Women’s players and strong local talent; it could really be anyone’s competition,” added Attard.

The Prediction 

If they can replace Cooney-Cross and if Henry repeats her feats at the Institute, you would expect this team to be a Top 5 team.

They are a good collective and Blacktown Football Park is never an easy place to visit, finals football will be expected from Brad Attard’s team.

Team List 

Sally James, Jessika Nash, Annie Daczko, Keisha Allen, Tanya Borazio, Hana Lowry, Jamilla Rainkin, Ellie Smith, Bryleeh Henry, Leticia Mckenna, Ashlie Crofts, Jordan Jasnos, Ashley      Calvar, Abbey Lemon, Rosie Galea, Naomi Chinnama, Maja Markovski, Michelle Dal Bon, Alyssa Rose, Kate Duffy, Milan Hammond, Rachael Goldstien, Tiarne Flavin, Ridae Mohammadi, Lydia Surgen, Felicity McNeil, Cassidy Chidgey, Lisa Fressard, Sheiden  Jabour, Peyton Crye, Breanna Buccini, Hunter Sinclar.

 

EMERGING JETS 

It hasn’t been an easy ride by any stretch of the imagination for the Emerging Jets in the NPL NSW Women’s competition since their inclusion.

This season, the baton has been passed to someone else and Scott McCarter will be entrusted with turning results around and promoting new youngsters through.

The Squad 

It hasn’t been easy putting things together for McCarter but he believes the team is progressing and improving.

“The team is progressing well, but a work in progress,” he said.

“Limited time together as a squad. But we are trying to learn quickly together.”

McCarter will need to deal with the loss of some key players including Tianha Robertson, Kirsty Fenton, Milan Hammond and Josie Morley.

In saying that, there is a lot of new up and coming stars coming through from the club’s pathway and program.

The Expectations 

McCarter wants to keep things simple and take it game by game.

“Results wise we want to be competitive every week and we want to push teams for the entire match, but as a club we have to help teach our players to be effective senior footballers and help them along their own pathway,” said McCarter.

The Youngsters 

It’s tough to choose a youngster when you got a whole group of talented players.

McCarty underlined that but also picked out one player to keep an eye out for.

“Lara Gooch after some ALW experience will be exciting to see her as one of the more experienced players,” he said.

“But overall our whole squad is young, they are excited and they going to get an excellent opportunity that they should be keen to take with both hands,” McCarty added.

The Competition 

It’s too hard to pick for McCarty in terms of a competition favourite because of the sheer quality and experience across the league.

“All the teams have recruited well and have a nice blend of A-League Women’s experience across the competition.”

“All the big teams would think they are a chance of doing well,” he said.

The Prediction 

It won’t be an easy campaign for the Jets. Losing some key personell, it is now up to the younger generation to step up.

Can they do it?

The Jets have improved every year, now it’s time to start putting some points on the board.

Team List 

Susie Behn-Smith, Chloe Walandouw, Evie Horgan, Zoe Karipidis, Alice Webster, Saffron Grass, Josie Allan, Yasmin Popovic, Lara Gooch, Claire Adams, Brinley Gentle, Ella Murray, Ruby Daniluck, Zoe Daly, Emma Dundas, Molly Salvador, Isahbella Threlfo, Keira Knipe, Sara Knowles, Emma O’Hagan, Alicia Ingrey, Grace Kingett, Annabella Thornton.

 

Football NSW Institute

They are always competitive and have the potential to cause a lot of problems for every team in the competition.

They will continue to get better as the season progresses and they gain more experience.

The Squad 

They are young. Very young. But, that doesn’t mean much when they possess the talent that they do at the Institute.

This year, Lisa Warrener will be at the helm leading this talented group of players and she is sexcited for what the season holds.

“We have a lot of talent and depth in all areas and they are looking forward to the challenge of playing in such a strong competition,” Warrener said.

The Expectations 

The Institute coach has a simple task for her team.

“To be competitive in all games and improve throughout the season,” said Warrener.

The Competition 

For Warrener there is one clear favourite and the Institute coach can’t look beyond APIA Leichhardt for the season ahead.

The Prediction 

As mentioned earlier, they will be tough to beat this season and will definitely give every team in the competition a run for their money.

I expect them to be mid-table team with potential to sneak into finals football.

Team List 

Tahlia Franco, Mary Stanic-Floody, Ella Buchanan, Isabella Chidiac, Amalia Plummer, Amy Chessari, Daniella Naeimi, Maya Fernandez, Jynaya Dos Santos, Shay Hollman, Chantelle Maniti, Megan Mifsud, Sienna Saveska, Gemma Ferris, Ella Abdul-Massih, Anabelle Ghabach, Daniela Galic, Erin Gordon, Alexia Apostolakis, Aimee Hall.

 

ILLAWARRA STINGRAYS 

A famous name in women’s football in New South Wales but a team that has struggled to reach their former heights in recent years.

With a new Head Coach in charge, the Stingrays will be hoping of making their way into the Top 5.

Former National Soccer League star Anthony Guido takes the helm after spending the last few years with the younger grades at the South Coast club.

The Squad 

Not too many changes down the coast, player turnover is minimal and definitely feels like a real family club.

This year, the Stingrays will be less Talitha Kramer and Margot Charveux to influential players in Pink over the last few seasons.

They’ve managed to add some talented attacking spark to the team with Canberra United young gun Hayley Taylor-Young putting pen to paper.

Mikhayla Vidmar, daughter of Australian football royalty Tony, also joins the Stingrays, arriving with team mate Taylor-Young.

Sian McClaren is the other big signing, the goalkeeper arriving from Adelaide United.

The Expectations 

Guido has set no clear expectations for his team this season but he will no doubt expect them to be competitive and challenging for finals football.

If he can get the required consistency from his team, his appetite may grow as the season progress for what his team can achieve.

The Youngsters 

Guido pinpoints to newcomers as the ones to watch at the Stingrays in 2022.

“Hayley Taylor Young and Mikaylah Vidmar have joined from Canberra and are exciting additions to the club,” said Guido.

The Competition 

Two clear favourites for the Stingrays coach as well moving into the season.

“Definitely Sydney Olympic and Apia are looking very strong,” he said.

The Prediction 

Depth could be an issue for Anthony Guido and his team.

Any team with Michelle Carney in it is a dangerous team to play against. A fit and firing Carney, as well as consistency and they could well be playing finals football.

Team List 

Sian Fryer – Mclaren, Mikayla Vidmar, Hayley Taylor – Young, Jayme Millard, Sheridan Gallagher, Bronte Pyke, Chloe Middleton, Erica Halloway, Michelle Carney, Danika Matos, Kaelah Austin, Caitlin Cooper, Michelle Brown, Alex McKenzie.

 

MACARTHUR RAMS

Continuous improvement through 2021 under the tutelage of Stephen Peters who is back at Lynwood Park for his second straight year.

That means they’ll be even better in 2022, right?

The Squad 

Macarthur will enter the season without their most important piece, their queen, the irreplaceable, Renee Rollason.

Replacing their #22 won’t be no easy feat for Peters and the Rams but they’ve done their best.

The arrival of Alex Huynh goes some way to replacing Rollason, bringing years of experience from Italy and Denmark as well as the A-League Women’s competition.

Another arrival with Serie A experience is Isabella Foletta (Brisbane Roar), Darcey Malone (Melbourne City), Chloe Carmichael (Junior Matilda), Madison McComasky, Natasha Reiri and the returning Bri Clarke.

Eyes will also be on Japanese import Miku Sonaga who is sure to light up the competition.

These handy additions, along with most of the squad from 2021 remaining at Lynwood Park, Peters is confident with the squad at hand.

“We have managed to secure 90% retention of the squad from last season with some healthy additions. We are in a great position from player 1 to 16 which is great for the club,” said Peters.

The Expectations 

Stephen Peters has a clear expectation for the season and he won’t stray from that.

“We want to play Finals Football,” said Peters.

Short, sharp and clear from the Rams head coach.

The Youngsters 

Chloe Carmichael could have an important role to play for the Rams in the 2022 season, in particular in the early rounds of the season.

Darcey Malone is another to keep an eye on for the Rams, being added to the Young Matilda’s squad last week.

Carmichael  and Malone could be integral to a strong start to the season.

The Competition 

Peters believes he knows who the two to beat are but also thinks there is one team that may throw their hat into the mix and ruffle a few feathers.

“Apia and Olympic are obvious ones to keep an eye on and my surprise packet is Bankstown,” Peters said.

The Prediction 

Macarthur should be in the Top Five but will find it tough if they don’t get their season off to a good start. A dark horse for the to be crowned Champions at the end of the season.

Team List 

Shamiran Khamis, Holly Williams, Alanah Nicolas, Lauren Keir, Leila Braimah-Mahamah, Chloe Gordon, Lara Dipple, Leena Khamis, Kylie Ledbrook, Patty Charalambous, Laura Murtagh, Sophie Macalpine, Miku Sunaga, Elisha Williams, Olivia Sloan, Chrystal Duggan, Chloe Carmichael, Alex Hyunh, Renee Hoularious, Natasha Rieri, Darcy Malone, Mel Caceres, Jasmin Limon, Maddie Malone, Mia Diacogiorgis, Dani Bishop, Bethany Gordon, Natasha Wayne, Isabella Foletta, Brianna Clarke.

 

MANLY UNITED

It wasn’t the Manly United we’ve come to expect last season but Tom Hopley is into his second season as head coach and improvements are expected in 2022.

The Squad 

A very new squad with ‘lots of new faces’ as head coach Hopley put it. It’s a fairly young squad with promotion from within important to Manly United who historically have had great youth teams and reserve grade teams.

One major omission from last year’s team will be Remy Siemsen who has departed the club for an opportunity in Sweden. The other notable absentees from 2021 will be Newcastle duo Cass Davis and Tara Andrews.

An exciting new addition to the Northern Beaches side will be Japanese import Yuka Honda who will have big shoes to fill with the loss of Siemsen and Andrews.

“We’re really excited to see her play having watched her in training for the past month and she’ll definitely add some experience to our squad,” Hopley said.

Along with Honda, Polly Doran (Melbourne Victory) and Meisha Westland (Melbourne City) have also signed for United.

“They’re both young, highly ambitious and hard working girls, so we couldn’t be happier to have them with us,” Hopley said.

The Expectations 

Generally, expectations are always to be the best at Cromer Park and this season will be no different according to Tom Hopley.

“Our expectations are always high, we set out to win every game that we play in.”

“With that said, it’s a very new squad this year and we’re really excited to see how they go,” Hopley added.

The Youngsters 

A club with a fine history of producing fine young footballers so it will be interesting to see how those promoted to the first team fair at senior level.

“Phoebe Gilbane has been promoted into the first grade squad this year and is absolutely training the house down,” an excited Hopley said.

They’ve also added from interstate with another youngster set to light up the competition.

“A young girl from Canberra by the name of Alexia Forner has shown that she’s a real footballer with great feet and a real football brain, so we’re excited to see how she goes,” said Hopley.

The Competition 

“I feel like it’s going to be a really tight season this year, where the team coming 12th could beat the team coming 1st on any given day,” said Hopley.

But for Hopley, he has two clear favourites for 2022.

“I was very impressed with Macarthur last year, and they look like they’ve further strengthened, while APIA on paper look like an A-league Women’s team, so I’ll say they’re the two teams to look out for.

The Prediction 

Replacing the goals of Siemsen and Andrews would be tough for any team and if Honda can do that with support from her team mates, expect Manly to be competitive and pushing for a finals spot.

Generally strong finishers to the season, Manly won’t want to get off to too much of a slow start.

Team List 

Nicole Simonsen, Nicole Stuart, Meisha Westland, Polly Doran, Ruby Jackson, Kahli Johnson, Jane Vanzino, Yuka Honda, Libby Copus-Brown, Emily Minett, Phoebe Gilbane, Caitlin Jarvie, Emily Bastow, Corinne Winkler, Alexia Forner, Nicola Simmons.

 

NORTHERN TIGERS

There will be a change at the helm of the Northern Tigers as long term first team coach Jason Eager has stepped away from his duties but will remain in his position as technical director.

In his place comes his assistant, Jake Stephenson. Big shoes to fill for the new gaffa and quite a big test.

The Squad 

The squad on first glance is as strong as it was last season and Stephenson is happy most of his core has remained.

“We welcome back a solid core groups of players from previous seasons following the environment that’s been created at Northern Tigers such as Maddie Bart, Hannah McNulty, Josie Wilson and Ariella Cabezas,”he said.

“We also welcome back returning players and former Northern Tigers youth player Aideen Keane, Malia Steinmetz and Izzy Gomez back into the fold.”

The Tigers have looked to add to their squad also to give them that edge this season and help them make the next step forward.

“A few new arrivals include Abbey Green, Ella Tonkin and Ashlee Brodigan – we hope they enjoy their time at the club,” said Stephenson.

The club did lose two important defensive players in Winonah Heatley and Isabella Foletta, two players that will require replacing.

The Expectations 

A team that has grown immensely and genuinely kept improving every season since their promotion into the top tier of football in NSW.

Stephenson wants to build on top of the foundations set.

“Our expectations are to build on the foundations that have been laid over the last three-four years of the women’s program. We’d like to continue to be very competitive within the division and ensure that the players continue to enjoy their football experience with Northern Tigers FC,” Stephenson said.

“Meanwhile, we’ll be also taking each game as it comes throughout the competition and will be vying for the finals positions come the end of the season.”

The Youngsters 

A large catchment area with a lot of potential and talent for the Northern Tigers.

The club always tends to promote and discover a young talent in this year could be similar once more.

“We’ve looked to promote through the youth teams and provide support to the youth players coming through the pathway such as Tess Rickard who may feature throughout the year,” identified Stephenson.

The Competition 

Stephenson doesn’t run away from the strength of the state competition.

“The competition’s getting stronger as each year goes by due to the influx of A-League Women’s players competing amongst many NPL 1 Clubs,” he said.

But for the Tigers, the head coach wants his players only focusing on one thing.

“For us, we’ll be focussing on Round 1 against Emerging Jets.”

The Prediction 

Finals football is a must for the Tigers, anything else would be seen as a backward step.

Stephenson’s move to head coach shouldn’t disrupt the team too much considering he was in the system, but losing to important figure heads in defence could be.

If the Tigers replace those two quality, there will be no question of finals football and maybe even more…but no adequate replacement, well that could become an issue.

Team List 

Morgan Aquino, Josie Wilson, Abbey Green, Ariella Cabezas, Izzy Gomez, Hannah McNulty, Madeleine Bart, Malia Steinmetz, Iona Snape, Aideen Keene, Ella Tonkin, Beth Bernardi, Sienna Fraser, Shay Evans, Ashlee Brodigan, Hannah Bourke.

 

SPIRIT FC

They haven’t seen finals football for a while at Christie Park but is it time for that to change? Adam Keramea is back at work again and will be hoping to see his team sneak into the Top 5.

The Squad 

Like some other clubs In the competition, Spirit have also lost a standard namesake from their line up with Rachel Perrins hanging up the boots. Along with Perrins, Alisha Bass and Kim Davies have also called time on their football careers.

Keramea has brought in reinforcements though to make up for the loss of experience and talent in what has been quite a busy off season.

Sasha Grove, Mia McGovern, Lucy Johnson, Sunny Franco, Kirsty Fenton, Nikola Orgill & Julia De Angelis have all made the move to Christie Park for season 2022.

Looking at that list, there is most definitely a lot more depth in this Spirit side, but also quality.

“We have had a disruptive pre-season, like most I’m sure with COVID, A-League commitments  and injuries,” Keramea said.

“The attitude of the players however has been great, and we’ve had good pre-season otherwise.”

The Expectations 

They are a team that on their day has beaten the best but at the same time, is more than capable of beating themselves.

Keramea will need to address that in order for them to be serious contenders, something he believes is important in 2022.

“Expectations for Spirit, is to be competitive across the 22 weeks of the competition,” the Head Coach said.

The Youngsters 

There are two young players that stand out at Spirit for the season with one arriving during the offseason.

Sasha Grove is one, arriving from Canberra United with A-League Women experience and Bella Volkanovski the other.

The Competition 

Keramea like most his compatriots believe that every team will be dangerous in this season’s competition but has his eye on two favourites.

“To be honest I think every team across the competition will be dangerous, but in saying that, Olympic and APIA stand out,” he said.

The Prediction 

Consistency is key for the Christie Park based side and if Adam Keramea can sort that out, along with their new signings, there is no reason why Spirit can’t throw their name in the hat for finals football.

If they don’t sort that out though, it could be a difficult campaign.

Team List 

Kirsty Fenton, Sunny Franco, Ivana Galic, Sasha Grove, Sophie Harding, Ellie Howard, Lucy Johnson, Tahlia Macri, Victoria Martin, Mia McGovern, Katie Offer, Nikola      Orgill, Rachael Patterson, Erin Pridmore, Bianca Radman, Morgan Roberts, Scarlet Thomas, Natalie Tobin, Isabella Volkanovski, Bella Whitton.

 

SYDNEY OLYMPIC

They’ve become a powerhouse in New South Wales since their promotion and George Beltsos and his girls seems to thrive in that atmosphere.

They haven’t looked back and without doubt year in year out are one of the competition’s strongest teams.

The Squad 

Quality all over the park and Beltsos is spoilt for choice at every position.

They’ll be less influential leader, captain and one of the competition’s best, Teresa Polias. Added to that Matilda McNamara and Alexia Karrys-Stahl have also departed Belmore Sportsground.

“Teresa is great leader and an exceptional player so she will be sorely missed,” said Beltsos.

But Olympic didn’t sit on their hands. They were quick to replace their departed players and replaced them with some quality.

Winonah Heatley arrives from Melbourne City, having last season played for competition rivals Northern Tigers. She will bring control and stability in Olympic’s backline.

The exciting Charlie Rule will replace sky blue with royal blue, arriving at Belmore from Sydney FC and the Football NSW Institute. One of the competitions most exciting players will look to get her season off to a bang with her new team mates.

The Expectations 

Beltsos tries to fly under the radar and ‘play it down’ but it seems to work for Olympic and this season will be no different from the Olympic ‘gaffa’.

“The only expectation the club has is for our team to go out there and put their very best effort each week, we are not looking past each week this season, Beltsos said.

“Being in the mix for finals football though, of course would be good,” he added.

With the A-League Women’s season only just coming to an end, Beltsos hasn’t had his full arsenal at his disposal.

“We haven’t had our full squad yet and won’t until we are in to the season, but we are very happy with the way the current squad has been ticking over. I’m seeing improvement every session,” said Beltsos.

The Youngsters 

Olympic’s head coach has already given the opportunity to some quality youngsters over the last couple of seasons and a few of those are ready to make the step up to the first team.

“We have a couple girls in Gisela Pipino and Kiara De Domizio that have played a bit of first grade over the last couple years and I’m hoping to keep seeing improvements from them as they look to be future starters for us,” said Beltsos.

The Competition 

Repeat. This part of the preview could just read the same for every coach. George Beltsos also commends the strength of the competition.

“I feel that this season will be the most competitive NPL season,” said Beltsos.

“I have heard that 100 plus A-League Women’s players are competing in the NPL so that makes every club capable and threatening.”

“I can’t pick a particular club as I expect lots of surprises,” he added.

The Prediction 

Top 5 is a minimum for a side that is stacked. No finals football and that would be a major failure.

Expect them to be in the Top 3 at the least and real title contenders.

Team List 

Jada Whyman, Jessica Frampton, Charlotte McLean, Angelique Hristodoulou, Aimee Phillips, Taylor Ray, Teigan Collister, Teresa Polias, Cortnee Vine, Mackenzie Hawkesby, Claudia Cholakian, Maddi Costanzo, Charlize Rule, Sarah Yatim, Georgia Manos, Kiara De Domizio, Winona Heatley, Gisella Pipino, Kate Anthonisz, Georgia Koutzoumis, Lexie Moreno.

 

SYDNEY UNIVERSITY

Former champions and always a strong team, Sydney University will be a tough nut to crack.

Emily Husband will lead the team again and will look to emulate great results of the past and bring finals football to the students.

The Squad 

There will be some filling in to do at Uni with the departure of influential midfielder Clare Wheeler from the club.

“Clare Wheeler has been an integral part of our quad for 5 years, she will leave a hole we need to fill, but the Matilda’s will benefit greatly from her inclusion,” said Husband.

The Students have recruited though and managed to bring in the highly rated Cushla Rue from the Football NSW Institute.

Annabel Martin will seem like a new signing also after her return from injury.

“Annabel Martin returning after her ACL injury and Cushla Rue will be good additions to the squad this year,” Husband said.

Husband is also impressed with the young talent within the Uni set up.

“The expansion of the league with U18’s, the emergence of young players in NPL and our current U18’s group will be a bright part of SUSFC Senior squad’s future.”

The Expectations 

Like for most club’s in the NPL space, pre-season hasn’t been the smoothest ride and Sydney Uni hasn’t been spared in that department.

It doesn’t mean that anything will change in terms of expectations for Emily Husband.

“As always, we will be looking to be competitive, but as this is a transition year after two years of COVID, it remains to be seen,” Husband said.

“Due to injuries, the late arrival of A-League Women over mixed dates and players out with young Matildas commitments – its currently difficult to assess where the squad is at,” she added.

The Competition 

Husband has a clear favourite for the title too.

“APIA, because you never know who they’re going to sign next.”

The Prediction 

Keeping their cards close to their chest, it’s tough to read where Uni are at.

Expectation is Top 5 and you’d expect to see them there, if they aren’t they may be working on a project of developing a team for the next year or two.

Team List 

Courtney Newbon, Georgia Boric, Nadine Knight, Annabel Martin, Taren King, Clare Hunt, Ashley Irwin, Brianna Oliverio, Emma Ilijoski, Gabby Peak, Hannah Jones, Bianca Galic, Rachel Lowe, Sarah Morgan, Holly Caspers, Holly Duncan, Cushla Rue, Georgia Pollitt, Max Peak, Stephanie Augoustis, Rola Badawiya, Torah Christie, Ashley Dribbus, Lucia White, Tara Baudana, Ella Gattorna, Ella Harmata, Emily Jensen, Kate Stanbridge, Anna Hunt, Zoe Bartley, Heidi Caspers, Alyse Jensen.

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-By NPL NSW Women’s Chief Writer and Commentator Nikola Pozder