The Western Women’s Rugby League competition returns this weekend but one side will be missing from the revamped landscape.
The tackle competition was expanded after a hugely successful opening season in 2018, but already one side has had to withdraw from the senior grade.
Vipers coach Marty Lyden says it’s disappointing the Orange club won’t make its debut this weekend.
A lack of numbers has meant the teal and blacks have had to withdraw from the 2019 premiership.
The top grade will now have five sides – Dubbo Goannas, Woodbridge Cup, Castlereagh as well as Mudgee and the newly former Panorama Platypi.
The under 18s and under 15s competitions will have the full compliment of six teams, including the Vipers.
Mudgee and Panorama will appear in their first WWRL seasons after the title-winning senior Group 10 side from 2018 was forced to split into three.
The Vipers have suffered the most from the split.
“Very disappointed. We were only looking at around nine players,” Lyden said.
“A lot of the girls from the Group 10 side last year have either moved on or didn’t want to play in a split competition.”
The ball skills are there for a lot of the players ... but putting some bodies in front of them will be interesting.Woodbridge Cup coach Dean Murray.
Saturday’s opening round sees matches played out at Baradine and Canowindra.
The former location sees a Goannas side with high hopes for the new campaign take on Castlereagh while the latter will play host to the clashes between Woodbridge Cup and Mudgee.
The Goannas have scored a major coup with their signing of former standout Castlereagh player Tori Canham. In the inaugural championships played last year Canham was the overall leading points scorer in the open division and her transfer to the Goannas will add some spice to what should be an interesting match-up in the main game
The first game, the under 15s, will kick off at 10.00am, followed by the under 18s and then the opens.
At Canowindra, Woodbridge Cup coach senior Dean Murray is confident his open team is capable of building on last year’s effort in the inaugural competition.
“It’s a whole new team ... but from what I saw at the back-end of last year the first grade girls improved a lot,” Murray said.
“We’d love to win the first one and give the girls something to work toward the following week.”
Murray’s side will be without arguably two of its most important players for their opening round clash at Tom Clyburn Oval, with star halves Breanna Anderson and Alicia Earsman absent.
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