Sunday is not just the A-League Women Grand Final. In Western Australia, the pre-season Night Series Cup Final takes place between the Northern Redbacks and Balcatta Etna and there will be two pieces of history made (25/3/22).
Above: Balcatta Etna lift last year’s NPL WA Women’s Night Series Final after beating Murdoch University Melville. Photo: Football West.
Sunday’s NPL WA Women’s Night Series Final at the E&D Litis Stadium between the Northern Redbacks and Balcatta Etna will see Western Australia’s most famous female-only club play their last match in their current guise.
After the game, the Redbacks will play under the merged banner of Perth RedStar which consists of themselves and the men’s ECU Joondalup club.
The club, formed in 1991 as Morley Windmills were the inaugural WANPL WA Grand Final winners in 2020. Prior to the establishment of the Women’s NPL in the state, Northern Redbacks had won 15 Premier League Championships. Nine state league cups were also held aloft. The Redbacks also had the outstanding achievement of winning the Inter-State Challenge Cup in 2013 by defeating Adelaide City.
The club have also produced three Matildas, countless Perth Glory players, and international players for Wales, Northern Ireland, and Zambia.
However, the Redbacks have always been about far more than its senior team. They fielded a total of seven teams down to U14s and have experienced huge success. Age group league championships were won and a U16 side represented the club at the World Youth Cup in Sweden – the first WA-based team to ever do so.
With facilities and finances becoming an issue for Northern Redbacks they accepted the offer of the merger under the new banner of Perth RedStar.
Redbacks will be aiming to conclude their stand-alone history with another piece of silverware, but they will face a tough battle against defending cup holders Balcatta Etna.
Balcatta, part of the WA Women’s State Premier since 2007 and were champions of the state Women’s Premier League in 2018. Inaugural members of the WA NPL Women’s, the club have a history of providing tough opposition to the Redbacks in what is likely to be a close and high-quality final.
The other piece of history will come in the form of the officials selected for the game. For the first time in a first XI Football West competition final, all three officials on duty will be female.
Caleigh Ormerod will be the referee, with Libby Caldwell and Chloe Smith as her assistants.
Football West Referee Coorinator Dave Avison said the appointments were on merit and the result of a concentrated effort to bring through more female referees.
“Congratulations to the three officials who have performed excellently and have earned being given a high-profile match like this,” Avison said.
“Football West has made a conscious effort to attract more females to the ranks of referees over the past five or so years and this is reflected in the larger pool of female officials that we are seeing.
“There has been greater investment and we are starting to see the results. Female-only referee courses also help.
“Another factor has been the launch of the NPLWA – Women’s competition. Not only does this mean more games but it has increased greatly the profile of the women’s game and made it more appealing. The same goes for refereeing these matches.”
Football West’s next female-only referee course is on Saturday 21 May at Gibbney Reserve, Maylands. The course will run from 8.45am to 4.30pm. To register CLICK HERE
Balcatta Etna v Northern Redbacks will be available to watch live and on-demand on NPL TV this Sunday – click here: https://npl.tv/