One of Queensland’s most historic football clubs is hoping to finally make their mark in NPL Women’s competition in our Game of the Week.
Former National Soccer League Cup winners, Brisbane City, will contest their first ever NPL Women’s Queensland fixture when they host Sunshine Coast Wanderers on Saturday night at Corporate Travel Management Stadium.
With the club’s strong support base and decorated past, the match is expected to be amongst the highlights of the opening round of the competition – now in its seventh season.
However, it won’t be smooth sailing for City with the Wanderers eager to spoil the party and make a winning return to the state’s elite women’s football competition after sitting out the COVID-impacted 2020 campaign.
A local powerhouse for decades and the first Queensland professional sporting team to win a national title in 1977, Brisbane City have struggled so-far to carry their history of NSL success into the NPL – but they will be hoping to mark a new era starting this weekend.
Overseeing City’s maiden foray into the NPL Women’s football is experienced coach Skie Hanifin, lured from Capalaba FC after guiding the Bulldogs to third place in 2020.
He has recruited promisingly to cobble together his side of would-be challengers – including skipper Jamilla Riley, who joins from last year’s Champions Lions FC, and fullback-winger Teleya Reynolds from last year’s runners-up Logan Lightning.
Also lining up for the Azzurri is experienced former Adelaide United midfielder Lorena Maggio, while Brazilian import Mariana Reia will be looking to provide the samba flair learned at Santos Futebol Clube.
By contrast, the still-rising Wanderers, established in 2018, are fielding a largely locally-sourced squad for their return to NPL Women’s competition under new coach Cory Robins.
Amongst the Sunny Coast talent seeking to make their mark at state level this year are a host of players with local league silverware to their credit – including attacker Chelsea Scarff, midfielder Tyrah Dunn, winger Teyl Danger and defender Cassie Buhmann.
While adding spice to the contest is the off-season defection of Australian Indigenous Koalas captain Samara Christmas, with the 2020 Grand Final winner originally announced by City before subsequently linking with the Wanderers.
City and the Wanderers have already dipped their toes into competitive waters this season following last week’s opening round of the newly-minted Kappa Women’s Super Cup knock-out competition.
However, a first-up win eluded both teams after City were edged 2-1 in extra time by Souths United and the Wanderers were rolled 4-2 by juggernauts Lions FC.
With hard lessons learned from those games, expect both sides to go all-out as they now look to secure their first three points of 2021 in the higher stakes setting of league competition.
Feature image courtesy of Brisbane City FC
Brisbane City v Sunshine Coast Wanderers
Saturday, 13 March
Venue: Corporate Travel Management Stadium
Kick-off: 8:30pm Local, 9:30pm AEDT