We are nearly 3/4 of the way through the shortened season and it has been memorable to be fair. The NPL title race had some real contention for once and the WSL’s top two teams continue to lead the way for Women’s football in Tasmania.
I must apologise for my absence on the page but I had to take some needed time away to recharge my batteries
Let’s get into the review.
I’ve really enjoyed covering this year’s season. We currently have our back-to-back winners Devonport City leading the table which has been the norm as of late. But halfway through the season it appeared that we would have a 4 way race for the title with the surprise packet Kingborough Lions, the regular challengers South Hobart and the newly improved Glenorchy Knights.
Kingborough have really come into their own this year with Jez Kenth’s men giving us all something we haven’t seen out out of the Lions in sometime. They kicked off their season with a 2-0 win over Glenorchy at Lightwood and went undefeated for the first four games.
Since then they have failed to recapture their glory and have dropped points on numerous occasions ; namely a 5-0 loss to South and a 6-0 to Knights
Form is one thing consistency is another.
Perhaps they would of faired better on actual grass in R5 v South at the so called ‘Theatre of dreams”.
Isn’t another team from Manchester known for a ground by that name? 🤔
They have unearthed some great hidden gems in former Zebras striker Adam Mckeown and Lions full-back Keenan Douce.
Both McKeown and Douce have set the ‘den’ on fire. McKeown with his six goals was an early leader for the Golden boot but has since been taken over by Alex Walter (Knights). Douce on the other-hand has been lethal with his constant work-rate and runs up/down the wings. I predict that Lions holding onto Douce into 2021 may be hard to do as clubs are sure to come knocking for the talented defender.
Knights Coach James Sherman should be very proud of his troops this year for giving themselves a real shot at the title. After a R1 defeat to Kingborough, Glenorchy really never looked back.
Striker Alex Walter and Winger Joffery N’Koso are just two of the breakouts for the side. Walter and N’Koso were brillant at South and Olympia respectively but have gone the extra mile in 2020. Walter currently leading the golden boot with 11 goals while N’Koso is leading the League for direct goal involvements in season 2020 with 14 to his name as of Sept 23.
If i’m honest, Walter has been untouchable and unstoppable.
Despite their impressive form they have still been behind Devonport and last week dropped points to South in a 1-1 draw. Devonport went on to win their game v Olympia 2-1 and went 6 points clear with 3 games to go.
That being said they could still win the league but they would need the Strikers to lose two of their games and Glenorchy would have to win their final 3 to give themselves any chance of being in the prized title picture.
South have continued to put the pressure on clubs in recent years and 2020 has been no different. I will firstly praise Coach Ken Morton. Although sitting 5th and losing a lot of their talent namely Walter, Jack Bowman and Ben Hamlett, South were bound for change. Knowing their expectations to deliver was high, the youthful side has delivered.
Kasper Hallam (7 goals) and Patrick “PK” Kibler have been the shining lights at D’Arcy St and Morton should be commended for letting his youth take the stage in favour of signing higher rated players.
I said last week that Kibler played the game of his life v Lions in the Cup and I stand to be corrected. The CB continued to run rings around the defence and send in some fantastic long balls. In all honesty the signing of 2020.
The return of former striker Andy Brennan has not gone to plan with the forward struggling to overcome injuries, a notable red card in his return game in and a lack of form. Brennan however regained a boost last week with his brace v Kingborough in the Lakoseljac Cup quarter-finals. South need Brennan to continue firing.
This title race has been special. Real. You might think “but it’s only been two teams in contention, how is that special?”. Well that comes down to 3 words; Zebras and Warriors. Both sides have put on a real show in 2020 and are repeating their similar race last season where Zebras (then Hobart) were victorious. The quality of Clarence Zebras and Olympia Warriors have set the bar for women’s football in the state and it’s well deserved
We have seen a more hungry and determined side from Warrior Park. Driven by last year’s heartache Olympia have been all guns blazing. Coach Alastair Russell would of told his team to not give up on their dreams and so far we have seen proof of that.
Bonnie Davies once again is lighting up the league leading the golden boot race with 20 to her name. Truely a real weapon in the arsenal of Olympia. Her lighting pace and finishing has been very impressive and could prove to be the difference come the final day.
Throw in that the talented attacker Madi Chambers has elected to stay with Olympia before departing to the Alabama State Hornets and Olympia have a very formidable side that could lift the WSL title.
Zebras are repeating their 2019 form and at times have even been better than that. The strike-force of Allie Berry and Zoe Nichols has been unmatched for their squad.
Both Berry and Nichols have scored 11 goals each. Not bad for a striker/midfield combination. Although they are 5 points off the pace to Olympia with still a game in hand, you’d be mad to count out the ‘Clebras’.
Coach Chris Hey will know that the season is far from over but will be aware that Olympia need to drop points to put them back in the drivers seat.
Zebras were able to hold off Olympia in a gritty 1-0 win a couple weeks back in a mid-week fixture at Wentworth Park but Olympia won the return fixture by the same scoreline.
Berry and Davies are the two best strikers in the league and you can bet both will want to make the final impact.
You can’t count out a championship winning side so don’t put all your eggs into the Olympia basket yet.
I encourage all fans to get along to Warrior Park this Sunday for the final clash of the season between these two clubs.
NPL TAS Champions : Devonport
WSL TAS Champions : Olympia
NPL Golden Boot : Alex Walter
WSL Golden boot : Bonnie Davies
NPL R12 Fixtures
To be played on 10th Oct
Devonport City v Clarence Zebras at Valley Rd.
Launceston City v Olympia at Buckby Land Rover Park
Knights v Riverside at KGV
Kingborough v South at Lightwood Park
WSL R12 Fixtures
Ulverstone v South at Ulverstone Showgrounds
Kingborough v University at Lightwood Park
Olympia v Zebras at Warrior Park.