Who’s going to stop the St Kevin’s three-peat?

Posted on - Latest News, Featured, Premier Women's

Annie Ireland

We are fast approaching the 2023 William Buck Premier Women’s season, with it all set to kick off on April 14 as the Caulfield Grammarians take on St Kevin’s under lights at E.E Gunn Reserve. St Kevin’s will be looking to defend their premiership title, having beat Kew in last year’s Grand Final.

This year, the Coburg Lions are joining the VAFA women’s competition and we’ll be treated to five games each weekend, while St Mary’s Salesian drop out. The competition will also be expanding to 18 matches for the first time this season, as per the 2022-2024 Women’s Football Competition Game Plan.

Here’s a look at the ten teams all vying for this year’s Premiership.

Last year’s back-to-back premiers will be hoping to pull off a three-peat this year after a dominant grand final victory against Kew. St Kevin’s will be under new leadership this year for the first time since 2017, with Sophie Straford and Sarah Cameron both stepping down.

Bree Doyle capped off her year last year with a third St Kevin’s best and fairest award, she has been announced as the club captain, alongside inaugural player Margaret Gleeson for the 2023 season. Tom Purcell remains the coach, and is excited about the prospect of a new look SKOB side this year.

After a massive loss to St Kevin’s in last year’s preliminary final, 93-14, the Grammarians will be searching for redemption this season. Shanae Carter was last year’s best and fairest winner for Caulfield, earning Team of the Year selection alongside teammate Charlie Anderson.

They’ll be looking to amend the mistakes they made in the prelim last year under the Friday night lights against St Kevin’s in Round One.

After not competing in the Premier division last year, Fitzroy has moved up to the competition this season and looked promising in their practice match at the start of April, albeit against an undermanned Hawthorn team.

They face a tough challenge first up against Kew but will be hoping to give it their best shot.

Apart from St Kevin’s, Kew was the best side in 2022 and were the only side to actually defeat SKOB in the home and away season.

Kew has the best player in the competition, Dakota Villiva, who was named in the best players last year 14 out of 17 times- all in her debut season too.

Kew only lost twice in last year’s home-and-away season, once to St Kevin’s and to Caulfield, and will be hoping to go one better this year.

Finished in sixth place last year to miss out on finals, having only won four games for the season, including an impressive win against the fifth place West Brunswick.

Gabby Golds and Gab Henderson featured in the team of the year and hopefully will help them to win a few more games this year.

Can the Xavs girls be the newest team to add to the overflowing trophy cabinet at Toorak Park in the clubs centenary season?

The purple army join William Buck Premier Women’s in 2023. Finishing inside the top 4 in Premier B last year, the Lions, will feel at home in the VAFA’s top flight coming up with Fitzroy and Old Scotch.

Two sides they had strong battles with last year and were evenly matched as the year unfolded.

The Cardinals finished last season in Premier B Women’s in fourth spot. A fairytale run through the finals saw them beat Fitzroy to claim the premiership for the second time, having also won it in 2019.

Scotch’s coach, Dean Anderson, was the Premier B Team of the Year coach last year, and will be hoping for even more success whilst competing in the premier division.

West Brunswick managed to finish the season in fifth last season, after recording only six wins for the season, however were knocked out in a close game, 10-4, against Melbourne Uni Women’s in an elimination final.

They did record some impressive wins last season, including over fellow finalist Caulfield Grammarians. Regular finals contenders in recent years will see the Magpies around the mark again in 2023. Before finals becomes a discussion the club will host marquee games throughout the season, including the now famous “WESTival” in Round 2.

The 2018 Premiers were beaten in the semi-finals last year, falling to Caulfield Grammarians and unable to contend for the title any further.

Guided by head coach, Bronte Ryan, MUWFC starts their season off against Coburg, in a battle of the oldest vs the competition’s newest club and will be looking to start their season off strongly.

Melbourne Uni Women’s are a breeding ground for future VFLW and AFLW stars, in recent years Eve Sheehan, Tahlia Meiher have both come through the Women’s program.

The VAFA is welcoming the Coburg Lions this season, after transferring from the South Eastern Women’s Football League. Coburg were strong competitors in their previous league in 2021, finishing in the top five, going on to play finals in a COVID-19 interrupted season.

It will be interesting to see how they go up against VAFA’s oldest club, Melbourne Uni, in round one. Going off pre-season form, it’s safe to assume the newest member of the VAFA family will be making their presence known and felt early on in the season.

In an exciting announcement for William Buck Premier Women’s, KommunityTV has extended their partnership in 2023, meaning nine women’s home & away games plus all finals will be streamed live, with all matches available on demand.

Make sure to tune in to round one with live coverage of Melbourne Uni Women’s vs. Coburg, as we look towards what will be an exciting season as women’s football continues to expand.