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SWFLW 2023: Collie Eagles and South Bunbury make return to SWFL women’s competition

Carly Laden and Justin Fris South Western Times
The Collie Eagles will return to the SWFL women’s competition in 2023.
Camera IconThe Collie Eagles will return to the SWFL women’s competition in 2023. Credit: Justin Fris/South Western Times

From extensive player movements to teams making their return to the field, there is plenty to be intrigued by as the South West Football League gears up to kick off its women’s competition for 2023.

Ahead of his first season donning red and white, Berend Kaaks says he is excited to lead a new-look South Bunbury back into the South West Football League women’s competition.

The revamped Tigers will take the field for the first time when they take on the returning Collie Eagles at Collie Recreation Ground on Saturday.

Kaaks told the South Western Times the Tigers would be expecting to take a full side into round one, which was always the primary goal.

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“It’s a tough process building a side from scratch, a process a couple of other clubs have gone through in the last 18 months, and it’s fantastic to now see almost every SWFL club with an active women’s side,” he said.

“2023 could definitely be a fascinating season with two new teams and a lot of movement throughout the league.

“The focus for us in the early rounds will be continuing to learn to play together and build our connection as a group.”

For Collie, Saturday will be the first time the Eagles have fielded a women’s side since the shortened 2020 season after struggling to find the numbers for the past two years.

The Eagles will be led by coach Matt Stevens and captained by Te Kanakana Jack-tui.

Kaaks said it was “fantastic” to see Collie back in the women’s competition.

“They’ve got a coach who understands the competition and a core of players wo have played in the SWFL, so I’m expecting a side who are prepared as well as a new side can be,” he said.

On Sunday at the Harvey Recreation Ground, the Harvey Bulls will go into their derby clash against Harvey-Brunswick-Leschenault as warm favourites.

Peter Jones’ side has retained a big contingent of the squad from last season and is likely to benefit from the addition of former Eaton Boomers skipper Trinity Brown, who swapped clubs during the off-season.

The Bulls will also welcome back club legend Fleur Parker, who spent the last couple of years at Donnybrook.

At VC Mitchell Park, three-time South Bunbury women’s premiership coach Maxwell Jetta will return to coaching duties when he guides the Dons against Eaton.

It is likely to be special day for the Jetta family, given the fact Jetta will be coaching against his older sister Kristy.

Donnybrook are likely to look vastly different to the side which lost last season’s preliminary final against Bunbury, due to the fact boom recruits Bethany Bond and Charli Wicksteed are in Perth for WAFLW commitments for South Fremantle.

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