Championships provide women with great opportunity

Justin FrisSouth Western Times
Ebony Bilcich breaks a tackle while on duty for the SWFL against an All-Stars side in Mandurah last year. Bilcich is one of several quality players picked in this year's squad.
Camera IconEbony Bilcich breaks a tackle while on duty for the SWFL against an All-Stars side in Mandurah last year. Bilcich is one of several quality players picked in this year's squad. Credit: Daniel Wilkins

The SWFL women’s team is primed for a strong showing at the 2019 Female Country Football Championships which start at Anning Park in Cockburn on Saturday.

But for SWFL coach Michelle Harris, this occasion is particularly significant.

“When I started working in female football about 10 years ago, we used to scrape up any opportunity that we could for girls to get involved in football on the field rather than the canteen or any other job,” she said.

“Just to get them out there playing.

“These days there is just opportunity after opportunity for the girls, so it is a really good time to be a player and to be involved in female football.”

Harris and her coaching staff have endured a challenging time in formulating their carnival squad, with the squad filled with elite players.

So much so, that several notable players were unlucky to be selected, however they are very much on the radar for next season.

Although the team’s leadership group has yet to be finalised, Harris is tipping several senior players to play critical roles.

“We’ve got Ebony Bilcich who was in our squad last year for the exhibition match that was played against Peel,” Harris said.

“Ebony should be one of the leaders while Fleur Parker and Dena English have also played a lot of senior footy between them.

“There will be a good core leadership group, but those three definitely have a fair bit of experience.”

English could well prove to be a real X-factor for the SWFL, given her ability to kick goals in a hurry.

The quality forward booted five goals in the final quarter against Carey Park in round seven, in a performance which caught the eye of coaches and spectators alike.

“We will also have Claudia Elward in the forward line who is the leading goalkicker at the moment, so hopefully she will be dangerous down there as well.”

Harris also believes the weekend will be a tremendous bonding experience for the players, who will stay in Perth overnight.

“We’ve got a bit of a function on where we will watch the Western Derby,” she said.

Fixtures:

Saturday - 12.45pm vs Goldfields, 3pm vs Great Northern Football League. Sunday - 10.15am vs Pilbara Females, 12.30pm vs Peel Football Netball League.

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