Football Mid North Coast will play host to Merewether United FC at the Zone Field in Taree on Sunday in the opening round of the Women's Premier League (WPL).
Under 14s will get the day started at 9.30am followed by the 17s at 11am and 20s at 12.45pm. Football Mid North Coast technical director Larry Budgen is expecting a strong showing from the FMNC squads across all three matches.
Also taking to the field for the first time this season will be the under 12 FMNC girl’s development hubs. Six squads from across Manning, Hastings, Great Lakes and Macleay will play a series of matches also at the Zone Field.
Round two of the National Premier League will take place on Saturday. Football Mid North Coast will host Lake Macquarie City FC at the Zone Field with the under 13s at 10am, 14s at 11.30, 15s at 1pm and 16s at 2.30.
FMNC squads will be looking to bounce back after a disappointing round one in Coffs Harbour last weekend against North Coast Football. The 15s came away with a victory however FMNC suffered defeats in the other three grades.
Also in action will be the FMNC U18 National Premier League side in a trial match against fellow U18 NPL side Charlestown City Blues. The match will take place on the Zone Field, kicking off at 4.15pm after the youth fixtures.
The U12 SAP Metro squads (Skills Acquisition Program) will travel to Lake Macquarie on Sunday. The FMNC North squad will take on NNSWF Newcastle SAP Rangers while the FMNC South team will face Macquarie Football Black.
Meanwhile nine clubs are again expected to contest the Football Mid North Coast Premier League to start next month.
FMNC chairman Mike Parsons said team nominations have yet to be taken, but he understands all the incumbent clubs will again be involved.
Wallis Lake will be chasing the club’s third successive premier league title. Lakes came from fifth place last season to win the grand final. This is unprecedented in the history of the premier league.
Taree Wildcats will be the only Manning Valley club in the competition. The Wildcats will play Port Saints in an FFA Cup round at the Zone Field at Taree on Wednesday March 21.
Out of WPL first grade for this year only
By Mick McDonald
FOOTBALL Mid North Coast will return to the Women’s Premier League competition next year.
FMNC chairman Mike Parsons gave this assurance. This season FMNC will be represented in the under 14, 16 and 20 age divisions but have been given dispensation from Northern NSW Football to withdraw from first grade.
Mr Parsons explained the zone doesn’t have players of the required experience or standard to field a first grade team this year. Seven Newcastle sides will contest this season’s premier league.
FMNC was one of the original clubs involved in the premier league. However, there has been an exodus of players from the 2017 roster. Mr Parsons said the FMNC board and coaching staff agree that rushing younger players into first grade would be detrimental.
"We didn’t want to put a side in first grade for the sake of having a side,’’ he said.
“And we certainly don’t want to rush players from the younger age divisions into first grade before they’re ready.’’
Northern NSW Football backed FMNC’s decision to withdraw from first grade but remain involved in the age divisions. Mr Parsons said there was no ultimatum from Northern NSW that FMNC had to field a first grade team in 2019.
“We’re not even thinking about not having first grade next year,’’ Mr Parsons added.
“We will be there.’’