Warners Bay return to the Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility looking to defending their Women’s State Cup crown, as they come up against 13 other teams in the annual knock-out competition.
Captain and winger Sophie Stapleford was a key part of the Panthers’ charge to the trophy in 2017, and is hoping the club can go back-to-back and add silverware to the list of this year’s honours.
“It was really exciting being able to hold it [State Cup] for the first time,” the team’s leader said. “Hopefully we can do it all again.”
“We’re down to the business end of the season, but having State Cup now means we can have a crack at a title before going back to finals.”
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This will be the first year the tournament – which boasts illustrious silverware at its conclusion – is being played during the regular Women’s Premier League season, giving teams a chance to test new strategies, formations and players outside of the competitive league.
The standings currently see Warners Bay and Merewether as the top two teams, and both clubs will be the benchmark for all fourteen teams vying for the State Cup title.
Warners Bay will kick things off with a bang as they take on Wallsend under Friday night lights at 6:30pm, while Boambee and University round out the group alongside the two WPL teams.
New Lambton, South Wallsend, Thornton, Mayfield (group B), Merewether, Mid North Coast, Cooks Hill (group C), Adamstown, Kurri Kurri and Barnsley (group D) complete the competition’s roster.
All 28 matches will be played at Speers Point, and the finals series will take place on Sunday, beginning from 9am.
Finals will be contested between the top two teams from each pool, going through three phases in the finals series – quarters, semis and then the final, which is scheduled for Sunday (4pm).
The remaining teams who do not qualify for the competition’s finals will play friendly matches against the corresponding placing team from another group throughout the day.
The competition also offers all women the chance to be recognised as the TAFE NSW Player of the Series, as well as two TAFE NSW Player of the Match awards up for grabs for stand-out stars in the knock-out rounds on Sunday.
The Women’s Premier League will returning Saturday, July 21 when New Lambton face Merewether United in the Round 19 clash. The next day sees Warners Bay and Wallsend clash at John Street Oval.