2021 is set to be a season like no other for all competitions, not least Premier B Women’s. The women’s side of the competition continues to grow and evolve, with eight teams competing in Premier B this year, rather than the seven-team structure of 2019. After near enough 18 months without football, all sides will be raring to go, so let’s dig a little bit deeper into the teams that will make up Premier B this season!
With both of 2019’s grand finalists, Caulfield Grammarians and Old Xaverians, promoted to William Buck Premier for this season, Monash are the highest-ranked team heading into 2021. Losing a tight preliminary final by eight points in their last outing, whilst also falling short in the penultimate game of 2018, the Blues will be more motivated than ever to taste premiership success.
Melbourne University WFC
Melbourne Uni have come down from Premier to compete in Premier B in 2021. Following the triumph of a premiership in 2018, the club struggled, finishing 7th in a disappointing 2019 season. Despite this, there will be renewed optimism to achieve success in 2021 after a year off and transitioning down the grades.
This return to the winners list will be driven by the likes of Lauren Taylor, Tara Carson and Emma Delaney, whose variety of roles and talents will excite the Mugars faithful.
Coach Erini Gianakopoulos said “we have approximately 120 players registered so it’s fair to say the club is in good shape and enthusiasm is high”.
Similarly to MUWFC, Fitzroy are Premier B newcomers this year after falling from the top level. Relegated in 2019 with just one win, Fitzroy will look to get back to winning ways this year under new senior coach Bronte Ryan.
The team has shown strong dedication to achieving success, training since late November and impressing the coach with their commitment to going the extra mile in the gym and off the training track.
Returning Essendon VFLW players Alexa Madden and Erin Gogerly will bolster the quality within the ranks, and the word on the street is that their performances at training and in practice games have been exceptional.
The last time they took the field, the Wellers women fell short by the narrowest of margins in a semi-final. However, both women’s teams will be keen to back up their 2019 finals appearances with further individual and team growth in 2021.
Coach Alex Mackenzie had this to say about the Wellers for the upcoming season: “We have enormous potential as a group and who knows what can be achieved in 2021 – cementing Premier B and back-to-back finals appearance shouldn’t be out of the question.”
In terms of players to watch, Eloise Defina returns from winning the Premier B B&F in 2019 and captain Maggie Wilson will again lead from the front.
Collegians will be looking to improve on their four wins from 2019 when they take to Harry Trott Oval this year. The club, which was a founding member of the women’s competition in 2017, have not made a finals appearance since the inaugural season. However, under the watchful eye of new coach Dom Lucarelli, there is significant optimism that Collegians can climb the ladder this year. Their recruitment drive has been as strong as any team with 30 new faces in 2021.
Yarra Old Grammarians
Yarra Old Grammarians enter Premier B this year with a Premier C flag under their belt and the momentum of a rapidly growing football program. Senior Coach Michael Wines will oversee their first season in this section after he was named the VAFA Women’s Premier Coach of the Year in 2019 for his role in the premiership.
Old Geelong struggled to gain any momentum in 2019 after finishing at the foot of the table with just three wins.
However, new head coach David Cooper was positive and forthright about the club’s ambitions.
“Expectations are very high as the club wanted to move away from the kick and giggle and start pressing for bigger things. I’m new at Old Geelong and hoping that my background will help with these expectations,” he said.
Beaumaris has made leaps and bounds since finishing 4th in Division 1 in 2019, earning a double promotion to the Premier B competition this year. The Sharks will be led by captain Dani Wearne, who is yet to play a senior game for Beaumaris but has been highly impressive over pre-season, while former skipper Ellen Wood returns from injury.
Feature photo: Fitzroy FC