Training began at Cornelian Bay on 10 January and while numbers were initially low, there was a lot of positive energy and excitement within the squad anticipating our first year of Senior Women’s Football for the Club in many years. The girls saw this as an opportunity to create their own slice of history for South Hobart FC.
Our Pre-Season Competition began on the 12 February in Division A of the Summer Cup where we were up against teams from the Women’s Super League. Although scheduled to play out the season in the Southern Women’s Championship Competition, the Summer Cup was a great opportunity to see the level we needed to reach to compete in the top flight of Women’s Football in the State.
Our first match was against Hobart Zebras who went on to be undefeated for the entire 2017 season winning the Summer Cup, Statewide Cup and Women’s Super League Competitions. While we were defeated in our first game, it is worth noting that out of the 14 players named that day, 12 of them were making their debut as senior players. Another highlight from the match were the two quality goals we scored through Eve Fulton.
The following two weeks of the Summer Cup were very encouraging with a draw against Kingborough and a narrow loss to University by one goal. This gave us the belief that we will be able to match it with Clubs in the Women’s Super League when our time comes to enter the Statewide Competition.
SOUTHERN WOMEN'S CHAMPIONSHIP
The Southern Women’s Championship started for us on 25 March and from our first 3 matches we had hat tricks in each match from Sophie Westwood then Ellie Fader followed by Issy Ferrier. Issy also had a day out a few weeks later — scoring an incredible 8 goals in one match.
Issy would go on to score an impressive 36 goals for the season — along with Ellie Fader (19 goals), Emma McCulloch (14 goals) and Eve Fulton (10 goals). Out of the 21 rounds of Football, there was only one occasion when we did not find the back of the net in a match. Also in the 84th minute of our final match, Ellie Fader scored our 100th goal for the season. It has been a great all round effort in the goal scoring department by the team.
Our defence was the best in the competition, conceding the least amount of goals (25 in total) and along the way managed a fantastic 10 clean sheets. Naomi Berrell had a career change and teamed up with Phoebe Winter to do the bulk of the central defensive work. Our rotating full backs — Lorien Navidad-Hewer, Issi Declerck, Bepana Thapa and Chelsea Clark —all had fantastic seasons consistently supporting them. Later in the season saw the return of Emma Stalker from Melbourne and Zie Gossage from the USA who both slotted back into the side to bolster an already superb defence.
For the second consecutive year we lost our Goal Keeper, Nina Gill-Sprague to a season ending shoulder injury. This year it came about early in the season after Round 3. With some super quick recruiting we were fortunate to sign Sidney Hayes for “6 weeks” and she was up and running for our Round 4 match — much to the relief of many players, avoiding any of the field players from getting a tap on the shoulder to pull on the keeper’s gloves. Sid’s “6 weeks” turned out to be the rest of the season and we could not have got through it without her and the fantastic saves that she pulled off. Sid had a terrific season and we thank her for stepping in short notice and look forward to her continuing with the team next year.
Also making positional changes were Sophie Westwood and Emma McCulloch, both trained fullbacks. To provide the squad with some balance, Sophie moved into a midfield role and Emma into the forward line. Both Sophie and Emma, along with Naomi, played out the year in their new positions and all have had stellar seasons.
Sophie joined our experienced and talented midfielders in Georgie Carter and Mez Coy to establish a solid midfield that improved considerably over the season. Our midfielders were always on hand to drop and cover for the defence and to push forward in the attacking third, adding 15 goals to the teams tally along the way.
By season’s end, we had recorded 17 wins, 0 draws and 4 losses resulting in a total of 51 competition points. That ranked us second on the ladder and Championship Runners Up just behind Hobart Zebras Black who won the competition on 53 points. This is a fantastic effort given the relative small size and youth of our squad when compared to the other teams in the competition.
On behalf of the team, I would like to take the opportunity to thank our Team Manager Carolyn Ferrier, Physio Matt Lancaster, Sports Trainer Rob Aitken and our wonderful parents who have turned out in rain, hail or shine to support us. Special thanks goes to those parents who were our regular Match Managers and to those who stepped in to run the line (often at the last minute) on occasion.
We also thank our sponsors RACT Travel and Sanctum Medical for their generous support though out the year along with Vicki and her amazing Club Committee for their ongoing support of our team and all the female programs at our Club. We have a wonderful platform to create a safe, welcoming and supportive environment for females playing our wonderful game.
Senior Women's Coach