2017 set to be highlight seasonWednesday, March 8, 2017 - 1:45 PM

A new-look Mundella WA Women’s Football League season is set to kick off a huge 30th year in 2017 with nine clubs represented for the first time at League level and more attention than ever on the competition that produced 36 players for the inaugural AFL Women’s season.

For the first time, Perth Angels, East Perth and last year’s Reserves premiers West Perth, will field League teams, seeing a WAWFL League side now aligned to every WAFL men’s team.

For West Perth, this includes the complete integration of the Joondalup Women’s Football Club with West Perth Football Club.

Joondalup Women’s Football Club President Dave Burton said the club had enjoyed a strong relationship with West Perth Football Club for many years.

"It’s great to see it progress to this point and provide an invaluable opportunity for all females within our District and give them a clear pathway through to the AFL if that’s where they dream to go," Burton said.

Claremont, formerly known as the Piranhas, will be replacing their much-loved piranha logo and adopting the emblem of the tiger and the same jumper design as Claremont Football Club.

With Swan Districts having over 10 years of alignment with their WAFL Club, East Fremantle, East Perth, Peel Thunderbirds, Perth Angels, and South Fremantle will continue to build and strengthen their relationships with WAFL clubs, while Coastal Titans are also strengthening their ties to Subiaco. 

In another first for the WAWFL competition, West Australian dairy producer Mundella Foods was recently announced as the new major partner of female football in Western Australia.

The partnership includes naming rights to the Mundella WA Women’s Football League and a range of initiatives linked to the West Australian Football Commission’s (WAFC) Female Talent Pathway, Female Ambassador Program, WA Women’s Round and female participation programs.

Last year, there was a 61.3% increase in the number of females playing club football in WA and the total number of club-based teams almost doubled from 84 to 157.

WAWFL President Carolyn Hills said it was certainly shaping up to be a huge year for the WAWFL when games get under way on April 2.

“We launch our 2017 season off the back of the AFL Women’s competition inaugural season, and with a new naming rights major sponsor, Mundella Foods, who will help us continue to grow and develop the league," she said.

“The excitement around the AFL Women’s competition is evidenced by the significant numbers of girls turning up at Club training sessions, and confirmed as three clubs take a momentous step forward entering League teams into the competition.

“We are really looking forward to the start of what promises to be a thrilling and celebratory 30th year of women’s football in WA."

To ensure an even and competitive season for all nine teams fixtures have been formulated with teams grouped into a top, middle and bottom three. Teams will play more games against those in the same group than teams in the other groupings.

This will inlcude the three teams that are new to the League division only playing a top team once each throughout the season.

CLICK HERE for 2017 WAWFL Fixtures

2017 WAWFL Clubs

Claremont Women’s Football Club

COACH: Patrick Litherland

2016 FINISHED: 6th

PREMIERSHIPS: 5 (1995, 1996, 1999, 2000, 2001)

HOME GROUND: Claremont Oval

The club, previously known as the Innaloo Piranhas, was one of four original teams to form part of the WA Women’s Football League in 1987.

The Piranhas aligned with Claremont Football Club in 2006, and have adopted the emblem of the tiger and the same jumper design as the men for season 2017.

This will see the Claremont Women’s Football Club transform from a community club to a professionally run and managed body. The Youth Girls team relished the opportunity to play finals in 2016 and the club is looking forward to seeing this talent progress to the seniors for 2017, when the club will celebrate its 30th year in 2017.

Coastal Titans Women’s Football Club

COACH: Andrew Di Loreto

2016 FINISHED: 1st

PREMIERSHIPS: 7 (2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2015)

HOME GROUND: Grenville Reserve, Tuart Hill

AFLW PLAYERS: Fremantle: Kiara Bowers, Hayley Miller, Lara Filocamo, Tiah Haynes, Amy Lavell, Kelly Clinch, Dana Hooker, Tarnica Golisano, Brooke Whyte. Collingwood: Emma King. GWS: Renee Forth, Aimee Schmidt.

With an influx of new players and the transition of a number of youth girls into senior women’s football, the Coastal Titans pre-season focus has been development and conditioning. With the departure of 2016 League Coach Martine Pearman to the Subiaco WAFL Reserves side, the club appointed Andrew Di Loreto to take over the helm and David Trainer with the Reserves side.

The Titans squad has been working hard on the training track since December under the watchful eye of Fremantle Dockers Strength and Conditioning coach Tamara Jacobson.

The Coastal Titans had 12 players drafted into the AFLW competition and will look for their experience when the WAWFL commences. With a blend of AFL talent and new players, the Coastal Titans are determined to emulate the 2016 regular season where they finished top of the ladder and will compete strongly again for 2017 premiership glory.

East Fremantle Women’s Football Club

COACH: Steph Walding

2016 FINISHED: 3rd (Grand Finalists)

PREMIERSHIPS: 6 (4 as Melville Sharks, 2 as East Fremantle)

HOME GROUND: East Fremantle Oval

AFLW PLAYERS: Fremantle: Brianna Green, Melissa Caulfield, Cassie Davidson, Belinda Smith, Gabby O’Sullivan. Brisbane: Jessica Wuetschner, Collingwood: Caitlyn Edwards, Ruby Schleicher. GWS: Emma Swanson, Alex Williams

The Sharks are looking to go one better in 2017 after making it to the WAWFL Grand Final in 2016.

Steph Walding will continue as Head Coach in 2017, with Reserves Coach Wendy Booth and Youth Girls Coach Chris Boulay also continuing in their roles.

10 Sharks were drafted to the AFLW in 2016 to four different Clubs around the country, and up to eight of these will return to the Sharks for the WAWFL Season. Outside the AFLW, the Sharks have also had a strong off season, with the core group of players returning and a host of new faces at the Club in 2017.

Along with the WAWFL, the Sharks are celebrating their 30-year anniversary, having been a foundation club for the WAWFL as Melville Rams.  They will hold a celebration and reunion during the season.

 East Perth Women’s Football Club

 COACH: Justin Hocking

 2016 FINISHED: 7th (Reserves)

 PREMIERSHIPS: None

 HOME GROUND: Altone Park, Beechboro

 AFLW PLAYERS: None

Following on from an inaugural season of firsts, the Royals Women take another leap forward in 2017 with their nomination to the League competition.

The move comes as the club continues to welcome new and exciting players from a range of sports eager to put their sporting talent and athleticism to the test against the best.

Newly appointed coach, Justin Hocking, is excited by the ease with which the girls have transitioned to football and balanced with the experience of returning players Skye Cameron, Josie Mark and Lilian Thomas, the Royals Women are prepared for a hard fought first season. 

Youth Girls 2016 Fairest & Best Tahlea Martin will make her League debut and is a player to watch, along with Courtney Webb, Bree Murray and Sarah Garstone. 

Peel Thunderbirds Football Club

COACH: Mark Fenton

2016 FINISHED: 5th

PREMIERSHIPS: Reserves (2011), Youth Girls (2014 , 2015 and 2016)

HOME GROUND: Bendigo Bank Stadium , Dower street , Mandurah

AFLW PLAYERS: Fremantle: Tayla Bresland, Demi Okely, Kira Phillips.

The Peel Thunderbirds are looking forward to season 2017 having 20 girls play their League debut in 2016. The Thunderbirds are looking for a big improvement this year.

Captain Tayla Bresland with Demi Okely and Kira ‘Cuz’ Phillips will be back and will be complemented with Premiership Youth girls Sabreena Duffy, Kate Bartlett and Courtney Hodder this season along with new recruits.  

League coach Mark Fenton is hoping to go deep into the Finals action this year. The club is very new compared to most and is always seeking new members and sponsors. A highlight this year will be the club’s 10th Anniversary.

Perth Angels Football Club

COACH: Gerry O’Dea

2016 FINISHED: 4th (Reserves)

PREMIERSHIPS: Division 2 (2011)

HOME GROUND: Lathlain Park

The Perth Angels are one of the newest clubs in the WAWFL, after beginning life as St Norberts. The Angels are playing their first season in the WAWFL League competition, after setting the Reserves competition alight last season finishing a creditable fourth after being written off by all and sundry. The Angels are looking forward to running out as a League team and will, as always, give a fantastic effort with their fierce determination and never-say-die approach.

2016 WAWFL Reserves Best and Fairest Jen McDougall is hopeful of returning this year from a knee injury and will add to a powerful midfield with her sister Carolyn Ruoss as well as Skipper Lea Caccamo and the evergreen Franny Finn.

Angels coach Gerry O’Dea is also back at the helm and is working hard on developing the best club culture in the WAWFL.

Other key players shaping up for 2017 include key backs Jess Stevens and Sarah Thompson along with goal-sneak Aleisha Duncan and power forward Tamika Watterston. Watch out for new midfielder Sammy Shaw who has impressed in the pre-season.

A highlight on the club’s calendar this year will be watching so many new and exciting players take the field for the club and playing with that renowned Angels Spirit.

South Fremantle Women’s Football Club

COACH: Brendon Logan

2016 FINISHED: 4th

PREMIERSHIPS: 2 (2009 - Division 2; 2011 – Reserves)

HOME GROUND: Anning Park

AFLW PLAYERS: Beatrice Devlyn (Fremantle), Sabrina Frederick-Traub (Brisbane), Tara Morgan (Collingwood)

The Bulldogs are looking forward to a strong season in 2017 with an all new coaching team led by Brendon Logan. On the back of the popularity of the inaugural AFLW season, many new faces have joined the familiar and experienced players at the Bulldogs and all have been pushing hard during pre-season training. This can only augur well for the club who are striving to have all teams in the finals in 2017.

The Bulldogs will be adding some height and some more speed to its playing stocks with many of these new recruits showing early promise.

Key players to look out for this season are Taylor Francesconi, Kahra Sprlyn and Katrina Tinson.

A highlight of the club’s calendar this season will be running out in Round 1 on 2 April as a cohesive team with a goal in mind.

Swan Districts Football Club

SENIOR COACHES: Nicole Graves

2016 FINISHED: 2nd

PREMIERSHIPS: 3 (2013, 2014, 2016)

HOME GROUND: Steel Blue Oval, Bassendean

AFLW PLAYERS: Fremantle: Kara Donnellan, Ebony Antonio, Kirby Bentley, Stephanie Cain, Ashley Sharp, Emily Bonser, Stacey Barr, Taryn Priestly, Akec Chuot, Taylah Angel, Gemma Houghton. Adelaide: Chelsea Randall, Kellie Gibson. GWS: Jacinda Barclay

After a very successful 2016 Swans will look to continue to grow their pathways in 2017 ensuring girls within the Swans Zone have access to the best facilities and coaches to ensure quality development. 

With 14 drafted players coming from the club in 2016/17 their commitment to continuing to provide opportunities to girls to reach their potential is what the club is all about. 

Swans took out the 2016 League Premiership and their Youth Girls made the Grand final so 2017 has much to live up to for the Club. Back-to-back Premierships and continued success in the Rogers Cup U/18 division is well in the club’s sight.

West Perth Football Club 

COACH: Paul Beaver

2016 FINISHED: 1st (Reserves)

PREMIERSHIPS: 2 Reserves (2016, 2007)

HOME GROUND: HBF Arena, Joondalup

2017 will be a history making year as WA’s oldest and most successful WAFL club will enter the WAWFL Competition after an amalgamation with Joondalup Women’s Football Club.

The Falcons, following their second Reserves Premiership, step up to WAWFL League in 2017 with Paul Beaver and Naomi Bowran continuing their successful partnership as coaches.

With all but a few players returning, and a massive amount of new talent joining the ranks, the Club will also field a Reserves and Rogers Cup team for the first time.

Key players for West Perth will be Club Captain Ashton Hill (twice WAWFL Reserves Fairest and Best), Laura Pugh (Club Fairest and Best 2016), Brooke Hongell (best on ground in 2016 Grand Final) and Tyhara Garlett (League leading goal-kicker)

Other than playing in the West Perth jumper, highlights will include launching the season as the curtain raiser to the WAFL West Perth vs Subiaco match on Saturday 1 April, and the annual clash with East Fremantle at Wanneroo Amateurs’ Football Club Ladies Day.