NSFA Women’s Competitions Manager Adam Cloughton takes a look at the first half of the Women’s All-Age Division 1 season.
Northbridge A – 1st place (18 points, +16 goal difference)
Highlight of the season – Round 5 win over North Sydney United
At the halfway point of the season, Northbridge A once again sit on the top of the table with the added bonus of having two games in hand. The team’s only blemish to date has been the round two defeat by Lindfield, uncharacteristically conceding four goals to lose 4-1. However, Ciaran McCabe’s side bounced back strongly to record five wins in a row, as well as two wins in the State Cup with the team progressing to the quarterfinals. If the A’s can claim maximum points from their two postponed fixtures against Lindfield A and Lindfield B then they will be well on track to claim their fourth consecutive premiership. Northbridge A’s strength appears to be their depth with a number of players contributing goals and putting in strong performances, led by Jasmine Hitchen, Linda Carroll and Brittany Austin. You would have to be a brave person not to back Northbridge A to retain the title.
North Sydney United – 2nd place (17 points, +7 goal difference)
Highlight of the season – Round 9 win over Lindfield A
It has been a mixed campaign for North Sydney United, but the team appears to be finding their groove after an inconsistent start with a four-match unbeaten run. They certainly sent a statement to the rest of the competition with a 5-1 thumping of Lindfield A in Round 9, a stunning reversal after losing 3-0 to the same team in Round 4.
This weekend’s game against Northbridge A looks like a season-defining game. Win and they jump up to first place, lose and they will be four points behind their opposition, who will also have two games in hand. If United want to maintain their title push, top goal scorer Emily Evitts will have to continue finding the back of the net, with support from the likes of Jamie Ware and Sonia Faragher.
Lindfield A – 3rd place (16 points, +6 goal difference)
Highlight of the season – Round 2 win over Northbridge A
A season that started brightly now looks like turning into another season of what-ifs for Lindfield A. Just two weeks ago the Ku-ring-gai giants were sitting top of the table, having won 5 and drawn 1 of their first 6 games. However, back-to-back losses to Northbridge B and North Sydney United mean that the team will have to do it the hard way if they want to win the WAA1 trophy for the first time since 2012. It is vital that the team don’t drop points over their next two rounds, after which they face a crunch game against Northbridge A.
Sasha Rodriguez and Bianca Wong have been standout performers for the team thus far, with Rodriguez leading the team’s scoring charts with 5 goals. It certainly is a team full of talent, coach Shaun Nadaisan will need to get the team refocused if they are to keep pace with the ladder leaders.
Northbridge B – 4th place (14 points, +3 goal difference)
Highlight of the season – Round 8 win over Lindfield A
Promoted to WAA1 this season, Northbridge B have been the surprise packets of the competition. A team full of young talented players, it was predicted that the team might take a year to get up to speed with top-tier football. After starting the season with two defeats, the team has improved week by week, culminating in an upset win over Lindfield A and beating Lindfield B and Lane Cove by big score lines. A push for the title might be out of reach, but recent results have shown that they can compete with the best teams on their day and cause a number of surprises. The team have an even spread of goal scorers with Xanthe Muston and Anna Macgregor leading the way on 5 goals each, while Emma Hannigan has also been a standout. Expect a strong second half to the season from Northbridge B. They are well and truly the dark horses to take out the competition.
Lane Cove – 5th place (3 points, -19 goal difference)
Highlight – Round 2 win over Lindfield B
It has been a tough first half of the season for Lane Cove, with the team’s only win coming in Round 2 against Lindfield B. Losing Matilda Vaughan, last season’s top goal scorer, has certainly shown with the team only able to find the back of the net on four occasions. However, this Friday’s clash against a stumbling Lindfield A looks to be an opportunity to reignite their season. Lane Cove have lost a couple of games by a one-goal margin so if they can start winning the close games a push into the top four is not out of reach. Key players Lucinda Hillyer and Amy Clarke will need to continue their strong form in the second half of the season.
Lindfield B – 6th place (1 point, -13 goal difference)
Highlight – Round 3 draw against North Sydney United
Lindfield B must feel a bit hard done by when they look at the competition table, with only one point to show from their opening 7 games despite being more than competitive in the majority of their fixtures. In particular, their last two games have been decided by 1 – 0 scorelines against title contenders North Sydney and Lindfield A. Similar to Lane Cove, it is a lack of goals which is proving to be the teams greatest weakness, only managing to score in four of their games so far this season. If coach Paul Grundy can getting them finding the net more often then expect them to start getting some more points in the second half of the season, especially with two games in hand due to State Cup commitments. Lindfield B’s top scorer is Maddison Haydon with two goals, Acacia Cowan, Clara Delavere and Nicola Forbe Smith have been strong performers for the team.
Golden Boot Standings
9 goals – Emily Evitts (North Sydney)
8 goals – Jasmine Hitchen (Northbridge A)
5 goals – Sasha Rodriguez (Lindfield A), Linda Carroll, Brittany Austin (both Northbridge A), Xanthe Muston, Anna Macgregor (both Northbridge B)