Friday, March 15, 2019

Women's Super League kicks off this weekend

Photo:  Zebras' Danielle Kannegiesser (left) and Olympia's Maddie Black at today's media conference [PlessPix]

The 2019 Women’s Super League, consisting of six teams, kicks off at Lightwood Park at 5pm tomorrow [Saturday] when Kingborough Lions United host South Hobart.

Kingborough were the losing finalists in this season’s Summer Cup competition and should be too strong for a young and inexperienced South Hobart outfit.

The Lions were narrowly beaten after extra-time by Olympia Warriors last weekend, the solitary goal coming in the 119th minute of an epic struggle.

Zoe Horgan was one of the standout performers in the final and she should motivate her side to a win against South Hobart.

The big game of the opening round is at North Hobart at noon on Sunday, when Hobart Zebras take on Olympia Warriors.

The Zebras won everything on offer in 2017, but had a lacklustre season last year, finishing fourth.

They will be hoping for a good start to the season against the Warriors, who are back in the top-flight Super League after spending a year in the Southern Championship in 2018.

Both teams have recruited well and coaches Chris Hey (Zebras) and Alastair Russell (Warriors) will be keen for a first-up win.

Photo:  Danielle Kannegiesser is looking forward to the game against Olympia [PlessPix]

“I’m pretty excited about this clash,” said Hobart Zebras’ Danielle Kannegiesser.

“But, we’re a little bit unsure as we haven’t played Olympia in a little bit.

“Olympia have returned to the Super League this year, which is super exciting for them, but we haven’t faced off against them in a bit, so it’ll be really exciting.

“Our new recruits have fitted into our culture really well and we’re really focusing on development at the moment so pre-season has been focusing on gelling as a unit as we are a very new team together.

“There are lots of fresh faces and we’re focusing on development and learning to play together.  It’s been a good pre-season.

“It’s been tricky learning people’s way of playing and they’ve come into Chris’s coaching environment so I guess things have just been evolving.

“We’ve got girls from Launceston City, Taroona and Clarence so they have to learn how the Zebras play and move forward from there.”

Olympia’s Maddie Black, who will be going to the United States of America soon after gaining a sports scholarship at a New York university, is looking forward to life back in the top flight and taking on a title favourite in Zebras.

Photo:  Olympia's Maddie Black has won a scholarship to an American university [PlessPix]

“We’re extremely excited and we’re so grateful to be back [in the Super League],” Black said.

“We needed a bit more competition and I think it’s a great way to start off by playing against Zebras.

“When we were in the Super League two years ago, they were definitely a big competition for us so I think it’ll be a good test for us to show us how we’re going.

“Coming into this game with a win in the Summer Cup final gives us a confidence boost and I think we should do okay.

“Our men’s team are set to do really well this year with a few new recruits and we’ve recruited well, too.

“We have a new goalkeeper in Jenna Farrow and we’ve got some girls coming up from the younger teams so we’ve got quite a young squad and everyone’s a bit nervous, but I think we’re going to do pretty well and everyone’s very keen to get the season started.

“Some of these new youth players have been training with us all pre-season so they’ve been working hard and they’ve got our style of play down pat.

“I think they’re just happy to be in the team.

“Everyone has to fight to be in the team and that keeps us going and has us motivated and improving with each session.

“We’re going to go and try to win the title and try and prove ourselves after not playing in the Super League last year.

“We missed out on a year of good, solid competition.  We want to prove that we deserve to be here.”

Kannegiesser and Black were looking forward to playing on the lush grass of North Hobart Oval.

Zebras and Warriors both train and play on artificial surfaces and playing on grass will be interesting for them, although they do sometimes train on grass.

They concede that the pitch at North Hobart Oval is a fair distance away from the fans, but they should be able to cope with that.

When asked to predict the outcome of Sunday’s clash, Black said she was hoping for something like a 2-1 win, while Kannegiesser was circumspect and said she was unsure.

Photo:  Olympia Warriors squad on Summer Cup Final day last weekend [PlessPix]

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