FNQ Womens Premier League Season Preview

Rose Calvert

It’s a case of musical chairs in the 2016 FNQ Premier Women’s League competition. Here’s a look at how the teams shape up on the eve of the 2016 FNQ Premier Women’s competition with a mass-movement of players throughout the region.

EDGE HILL TIGERS

Despite announcing retirement last year, Dean Ashton returns as head coach after the club failed to secure a replacement.

Former co-captain Tamara Ortiz steps up as skipper, taking over the long-standing reigns of Jo Ward. Experienced central defender Teagan Walker joins her as co-captain.

Notable losses include midfielder Ashleigh Amadio who has made the move south for NPL aspirations. The Tigers also lose arguably the league’s best goal-keeper Farrah Boustead who has returned to her hometown side Innisfail.

Despite the losses, new additions Shaquille Chong (Mareeba Bulls) and former Adelaide United W-League player Zoe Haralampopoulos will be instrumental in the Tigers’ quest to retain last year’s minor and major premierships, FNQ Cup and the prestigious Crad Evans.

INNISFAIL CUTTERS

Peter Hurney is back on-board for another year as head coach.

Former Tiger Farrah Boustead will be a big addition to the squad this year whether donning the gloves in goal or playing out on the field.

Boustead joins the likes of Queensland representative Abbey Hurney and the dangerous Kayla Turner. The 2014 Premiership winners will no doubt be in the thick of the top four battle for the spoils.

A big loss for the Cutters this season is the dominance of long-range net-finder Stephanie Lowe.

LEICHHARDT LIONS

Lots of changes player-wise for the Lions who finished fourth on the ladder last year. Pasco Rogato returns as coach for second year with last year’s MVP Stacey Jones taking up skipper duties alongside former Cutter Natalie Fichera.

Notable losses are Jo Whately, Monique Ward, Laura Jane Williams who have all moved to Marlin Coast for the 2016 season while Alima Papa re-joins the Mareeba Bulls.

A big loss for both the Lions and the league this year is veteran Helen Cross who retired last season for her 40th birthday. Despite her age, Cross was one of the league’s best.

New additions include former Innisfail player Tycarra Bianchin, Jordan Hensler and 15 year-old Keagan Fittock who joins the senior ranks from juniors.

MAREEBA BULLS

Following in her brothers Alex’s footsteps (Mareeba Premier Men’s Coach) Tamara Srhoj is stepping up to the plate to mentor a new-look squad.

Player-coach Srohj has distilled positive 2016 season hopes for the Bulls who severely lacked numbers last year; on numerous occasions fielding just the bare minimum of seven players.

Shaquille Chong will be missed after joining Edge Hill but the Bulls have made a big gain with former Leichhardt player Alima Papa returning to her home team.

MARLIN COAST RANGERS

New coach Steve Meath has been tasked with re-building the squad; a task that will be made easier thanks to new additions Jo Whately, Monique Ward, Laura Jane Williams who have all moved over from Leichhardt.

Veterans Rosalyn Agostino, Tegan Kennedy and Sarah Edwards re-join the squad and will add depth and experience alongside the new Lions additions. There’s also rumour of former Comet Michelle Brett re-joining the Rangers this season.

If the line-up proves true on print, the Rangers will be a strong force this season; an underdog story in the making.

SOUTHSIDE COMETS

After losing two consecutive grand finals, the Comets will no doubt be striving for silverware glory this season.

Ryan Bidgood returns as head coach reinstating captains Holly Spence and Kristen Forrester-Bidgood.

Despite the loss of their Queensland representative striker Shania Forrester-Bidgood, the Comets will continue to cause upset through the likes of Leila Herd, Leah Scroggie and Tara O’Keeffe.

Focusing on tactical, possession-based play, the side will flourish in the earlier rounds during the heat with youth on their side; the team’s medium age averaging 15.

STRATFORD DOLPHINS

Former representative player Jenna Millward re-joins Matt Moss as coaches for the Dolphins who are fielding two teams this season in the Premier and First Division leagues.

It’s the Dolphin’s first year back in the Premier League and a pre-season clash with top contenders Edge Hill last week proved educational for Millward who will need to see her side step up considerably for the strong premier league challenge ahead.

Veteran Hayley Bull takes on captaincy duties and re-joins Rylee Flinders and Ruth Shearer to add depth to the squad. Ex-Edge Hill player Dani Reed returns to football after a few years absence and will be good addition to the Dolphins’ rebuild.

The opening round of fixtures is:

Leichhardt Lions v Mareeba Bulls

Stratford Dolphins v Innisfail United

Marlin Coast Rangers v Edge Hill United

Southside Comets have the bye.

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