Bathurst products Esther Hotham and Claire McGarity and their New South Wales team-mates will be out for revenge when they get their Under 21s Women’s Australian Championships campaign underway with a match against defending champions Western Australia this morning.
The opening game of the tournament in Adelaide will be a rematch of last year’s final, but NSW will be hoping that they avoid a repeat of their 1-0 loss.
The NSW team arrived in Adelaide yesterday for the competition and had two training sessions in the morning to prepare.
It is McGarity’s last year in under 21s, while Hotham has been named in next year’s squad, but both are hoping that can reverse their state’s fortune after going close in the last three years, but ultimately falling short of the title.
“It’s my last year so it would be good to go out with a win,” McGarity said.
“We’ve been pretty unlucky, in the three years that I’ve been playing, we have finished second, third and second, so we are still searching for that win.”
McGarity said NSW had brought together a side that is capable of winning the tournament, but knows that they will face plenty of competition.
She believes they will have a good idea of their chances after their first three games, which are against their traditional rivals.
“We’ve got quite a strong team. Most of the players from last year have come back but there are a few young ones to replace those who are too old,” the former Souths player said.
“Our first three games are against the teams that we expect to be the strongest. Western Australia, Queensland and Victoria are always very strong teams but you really can’t rule anyone out because the other states can improve from year to year.”
Both Bathurst women played in last year’s final, in which neither team was able to score in 70 minutes of regular time. Eight minutes into extra-time, a piece of individual brilliance from WA attacker Kathryn Slattery saw her beat several defenders and put the ball into the net to ruin NSW’s title hopes.
Orange-based assistant coach Pete Shea is looking forward to the competition and said this year’s side had a very youthful make-up.
“We’ve got the basis of a good side. It will be interesting to see how they compete against opposition of this quality at this level,” he said.
“We have two 16-year-olds, a core of 18 and 19-year-olds and then a few older ones. It’s a young group, but that’s the talent in NSW at the moment.”
Shea is also of the belief that a good start will be crucial for NSW’s chances.
“It should be interesting. We had a good training session last week. We worked on a few things which are important like our set plays and our attacking structure,” he said.
“The first three games will be a big challenge for the young kids.”
NSW start their campaign today, taking on Western Australia from 9am (11am AEST).
STATE DUTY: Former Souths player Claire McGarity (left), seen here playing one of her last games for the two blues in 2010, and Bathurst City’s Esther Hotham will start their Australian Championships campaign with NSW this morning. Photo: CHRIS SEABROOK 071010csths3
This story Administrator ready to work first appeared on Nanjing Night Net.