The Herald Women’s Premier League will remain at seven clubs next year but Northern NSW Football intend to expand the top-flight competition to eight teams in 2018.
Gary Fisher, Northern NSW Football senior officer of premier club development and compliance, said the league’s governing body felt the competition needed to consolidate after arguably its most even season.
“I think this has been one of the most tightly fought seasons of the WPL, so it was important to keep that,” Fisher said.
“But we still need to grow it because ultimately we’d still like to this to be a women’s NPL competition.”
The WPL started with six clubs in 2009. Each club started with one team but now they all must be able to field 14s, 16s and 18s girls’ sides as well.
Fisher said New Lambton Football Club and Cooks Hill United Football Club had been mooted for future inclusion and NNSWF would soon ask for expressions of interest for the 2018 season.
“Whoever the new club is coming in, we want to give them ample time to get on their bike and recruit properly,” he said.
“We would envisage that would be happening by the start of the competition next year, so they can prepare accordingly.
“We will initially ask for expressions of interest and one of the things we will look at is the age groups and whether there is enough quality.”
Fisher said a WPL review would be conducted in coming months to develop strategies to further grow the women’s game in Northern NSW.
He expected a technical liaison to be assigned to the WPL in coming seasons and said the league’s development plan would include setting a benchmark for coaching qualifications for the 14s, 16s and 18s sides.
“The technical liaison person will go around to all of the clubs and offer some assistance,” Fisher said.
“They will work with the coaches maybe two sessions per year, go and watch the club’s games, and explain what did work and what didn’t work.”
Fisher also said Northern was planning to hold a women’s state cup, which would be a mini version of the men’s FFA Cup, at Speers Point next year with a view to growing the competition.
- Lake Macquarie will rejoin the National Premier League next year after Northern NSW Football confirmed last week that the Roosters would be included in an 11-team NPL competition for the next three years.The Roosters, who were minor premiers across all four senior grades in the second-tier First Division this year, will join the existing 10 NPL clubs from 2017 after satisfying criteria for promotion.