Keilor women’s coach Emma Kerry believes her team has thrived under the challenge of facing new opposition in 2018.
The Blues have already made a huge impact on the ANZ NFNL Women’s Division 1 competition in their inaugural season in the league.
Keilor joined the NFNL after dominating the Essendon District and Western Region Senior Women’s competition and lifting the premiership cup in 2017.
Kerry said her club was enjoying its first season in the NFNL against new opposition.
“We thought that the NFNL would be a high-quality competition and we have enjoyed what has gone on so far,” Kerry told NFNL.org.au.
“Not many people would have known what to expect from us and we’ve really stepped it up this year.”
Nine rounds into the season, Keilor are proudly sitting on top of the ladder with seven wins and one loss.
The Blues have had to sit through an extended break due in recent weeks due to the Queen’s Birthday weekend and then a washout against Darebin last Sunday, after their home ground was flooded by the wild weather.
With time to reflect on the opening half of the season, Kerry said she had been pleased with the fast and attacking brand of football her side had displayed so far this year.
“At the start of the year, our sights were set on the top half of the ladder, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how the girls are going so far,” Kerry said.
“We’ve added some quality players and some of those players are our junior under-18 girls, so it’s been a great pathway.”
“A lot of the girls are brand new to football and this is only their second season. A lot of them have come from different sporting backgrounds such as basketball, netball and soccer so they have a high level of agility and are athletes in their own rights.
“It’s a natural thing for a lot of these girls to play fast footy. I wouldn’t be able to slow them down or hold them back from playing that style.
“When you’ve got the speed and endurance that a lot of these girls have, then why not use it to our advantage in a game.”
Among those to impress in the opening nine rounds are Sarah and Gemma Wright, who both represented the NFNL in its inaugural representative game against South East Women’s last month.
After dominating during last year’s premiership campaign, the twin sisters have been just as impressive in 2018 and currently occupy first and second place in the Coaches MVP voting.
Despite her side’s strong first half of the season, Kerry is careful to keep a lid on expectations.
“We’ve got a really good team – they’re very positive and self-motivated. They’re definitely not getting ahead of themselves and we’re not taking things for granted,” Kerry said.
“We’re on top of the ladder but we lost to Bendigo the first time we played, and we only beat them by a small margin the second time around. We’ve only beaten the VU Western Spurs by very small margins as well.
“It’s definitely an open race and my girls are fully aware of that and it can be anyone’s game at the end of the day.”