Women’s game is winning

GRINNERS: Warners Bay after beating Wallsend 1-0 at Weston on Sunday to win the Herald Women’s Premier League grand final. Picture: Max Mason-HubersNorthern NSW Football chief executive officer David Eland emphasised the improved standard of women’s football in the region after Warners Bay downed Wallsend 1-0 to claim the Herald Women’s Premier League championship at Weston on Sunday.
Nanjing Night Net

“I thought the standard of the first-grade game was absolutely fantastic,” Eland said post-match.

“The coaches have got to be commended for their roles.

“In the seven or eight years that I have been involved, I’d say that was the most competitive grand final.I thought the athleticism was fantastic.”

The women’s top-flight competition began in 2009 and has grown to now also include 14s, 16s and 18s divisions.

It has also gained a lot of respect from elite players. This year Newcastle Jets W-League players Adriana Jones, Cassidy Davis, Rhali Dobson, Jenna Kingsley and Libby Copus-Brown all joined the league.

Four of those featured on Sunday. Davis and Jones for Warners Bay and Kingsley and Copus-Brown for the Red Devils.

“Instead of going to play in Sydney, players are choosing to play in the WPL,” he said.

“There were a number of girls out there today who have been through the Emerging Jets program.

“Not all players are going to end up making it to the elite level so we need to ensure we provide a strong competition for them to come back to.And having them in the competition this year has meant the game has grown again.”

Female numbers have exploded in NNSW Football registrations in recent years and all of the grand final officials were female on Sunday.

“Almost 22 per cent of our total registered players are female now,” Eland said.“Our strategic plan is to grow that to 25 per cent by 2019.”

Warners Bay led 1-0 at half-time on Sunday after Sass Seaborn scored around the 30-minute mark in a goalmouth scramble off a corner.

Wallsend had missed a penalty in the third minute of the game. Warners Bay goalkeeper Nikki Deiter made a diving save to deny Copus-Brown from the spot.

Both sides had chances to score in the second half but both Deiter and her opposition Bek Saunders were in sensational form.

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