The NPL WA Women is back for a new season, and so is Ben Gilby‘s weekly round-up of all the action. As before, there is a full report from one game and all the details from the other three matches (27/3/23).
Above: Gemma Craine in action for Perth SC against Subiaco on Sunday. Craine was directly involved in three of her team’s four goals. Photo: Rob Lizzi.
Game of the week:
Perth RedStar 0-2 Hyundai NTC
Hyundai NTC condemned Perth RedStar to their first league defeat since the final round of the 2021 season in the battle of the two sides who made last year’s Top Four Cup Final.
This was a deserved victory for the teenagers of the NTC who put in a performance of strong defense, excellent passing, and physicality when it was needed.
Whilst RedStar earned three corners in the opening 12 minutes, it was the visitors who had two early chances, both involving their hugely talented Goldfields striker Tanika Lala. She was denied by home shot-stopper Maya Diederichsen with three minutes on the clock, before turning her marker and getting another effort not long afterwards.
Sarah Carroll was influential for RedStar as ever, and the former Perth Glory player looked to combine with Renee Leota in front of goal. Chiori Akeda also supplied a ball in from the left for Leota, but the former Football Fern’s volley went too high. Clear-cut opportunities for the defending champions were limited.
Klaudia Hoolis was a promising presence on the field for NTC. The youngster was busy, full of vision and energy. Georgia Cassidy also stood out for her sumptuous passing ability, not just close range, but with a canny ability to switch the play out wide with centimetre-perfect balls.
With 25 minutes played, NTC hit the front with an idiosyncratic goal from Lala. The ball was played through to the striker who used her pace and physicality to beat Andreia Teixeira and Emily Dunn before firing past Diederichsen.
The visitors had the better of the remaining exchanges of the opening half. Grace Johnston’s cross-shot came in from the left, but neither Lala nor Anna Powell could connect.
There were two further chances for the NTC before the break. Lala was involved again for the first with six minutes of the half to play as Cassidy found her just outside the box and the striker fired in a powerful shot that Diederichsen repelled. Hoolis showed great vision to find Powell, but her shot went wide.
The final opportunity of the half fell to RedStar as Carroll took advantage of a mix-up at the back to get a strike away which failed to trouble Lilly Bailey in the NTC goal.
RedStar came out firing at the start of the second period. Leota’s back heel and Akeda’s lay-off resulted in a shot by Grace Monteiro that was blocked and Leota’s follow-up was gathered by Bailey.
Carroll broke clear through with just over 20 minutes remaining and drove a shot towards goal that Bailey did well to repel with her left foot. That was the last real chance that RedStar could muster.
Ischia Brooking, on as a second-half sub for NTC showed her talent with several superb turns and she hit a long-range effort that went narrowly over the top, but Diederichsen had it covered.
Johnston continued to pose headaches to the defending champions with her ability to break through the centre. From one such move, Johnston found Lala who was denied by Diederichsen.
However, another Johnston drive through the middle saw Brooking found. She in turn fed Lala who was brought down by Diederichsen in the box, and referee Liam Barclay pointed to the spot. Cassidy stepped up and hit her right-of-centre shot into the net to seal NTC’s win.
RedStar have now suffered back-to-back losses, albeit last weekend’s Night Series Final was on penalties. This is a challenge to overcome that they have not faced. RedStar have the coaching staff and players to hit back strongly. However, this gives real hope to the other sides in the WA NPL Women’s that the silverware could find new destinations this year.
Teams: PERTH REDSTAR: Diederichsen, Carroll, Studman, Doan, Ikeda, Ridley, Dunn, Leota, Teixeira, Monteiro, Coleman. Substitutes used: Ritchie, Mogridge, Woolley.
HYUNDAI NTC: Bailey, Anderson, Collins, Johnston, Cassidy, Powell, Lala, Collinson, Hoolis, Archibald, O’Hallaran. Substitutes used: Brooking, Tana, Tanner, Britton, Johnson.
Scorers: Lala 25′, Cassidy (pen) 82′.
Referee: Liam Barclay.
Perth SC 4-0 Subiaco
Pete Rakic’s Azzurri followed up their Night Series Final win last weekend with a successful opening to the new season at Dorrien Gardens.
Gemma Craine was influential in her team’s win as she was involved in three of her side’s four goals. It was the former Perth Glory A-League Women star who provided a high cross from the right for Ellie La Monte to take a touch before sealing the finish to put Perth SC ahead just before the half hour mark.
Craine showed her class just before the break when she collected her own goalkeeper Rebecca Bennett’s ball out and danced her way through along the right before cutting in to smash home.
It was 3-0 just after the hour mark when Craine found La Monte outside her on the right. The cross came in and Jaime Duncanson hit a superb first time volley from the left of centre in the box.
Abbey Meakins completed the scoring with nine minutes remaining when a corner came in from the right. The ball coming back to Meakins at the back post before angling a drive into the net.
Fremantle City 1-2 Murdoch University Melville
The 2021 champions gained an impressive opening round victory at Fremantle. They took the lead with 18 minutes on the clock as Sophie Meaden was found from the right and the Murdoch star lofted a superb shot over the home goalkeeper Dayle Schroeder (see clip above). Meaden doubled MUM FC’s lead on the hour mark before Fremantle hit back with five minutes remaining, but Murdoch held on to gain all three points.
Balcatta Etna 9-0 Curtin University
Curtin could not have started the season in more challenging manner. Last year’s wooden spoon winners went into the game on the back of a Night Series record of three losses from their three matches with no goals scored and 32 conceded. The visitors to Grindleford Reserve had lost their opening Night Series game 8-0 here on 19th February, and it didn’t get any better yesterday.
It took the home side just under a quarter of an hour to take the lead, thanks to Tia Stonehill’s curler. However, once ahead, Balcatta didn’t ease off. Three minutes later, they forced an error at the back which led to Lauren Continibali lifting a shot into the net.
Five minutes later, it was 3-0 as Ferne Carter directed the ball into her own net from a Balcatta corner on the right with Monique Prinsloo getting on the scoresheet on the half hour as she directed a half-volley home following a cross from the right. Within four minutes it was 5-0 as Continibali chipped a free-kick from outside the area over the wall for Kimberley McCartney to head home. There was another five minute interlude before the sixth as Prinsloo tapped in a low cross from the right.
There were a further three goals after the break, with Prinsloo grabbing the lot to complete a personal haul of five goals. Prinsloo completed her hat-trick within 45 seconds of the re-start after following up a block on her original shot to score. Seven minutes into the second half, Stonehill played in a low ball from the left for Prinsloo to tap home, and the rout was completed with 16 minutes remaining as the Balcatta star capitalised on loose play at the back from Curtin to dispatch a simple shot into the net.