After a pre-season of doubt on whether they would field a team, Western NSW Mariners women will kick start its season when it travels to Lisarow to play the Central Coast Mariners in its first match of the new NSW National Premier Leagues 2 season.
There was serious doubt that Mariners would not field any senior women sides in 2019 due to a lack of numbers, but some assistance from Football NSW made recruiting players much easier for the club according to coach Josh Ward.
"We've got an agreement with Football NSW where we don't have to have a reserve side," he said.
"It's just 14s, 15s, 17s and first grade, which made it a bit easy on us, so we only had to sign 16 players."
Without a reserve team, it now gives plenty of juniors the chance to step up into the senior roll, with the likes of under 15s players Molly Compton, Ella-Rose Hawes and Junior Matildas star Anna Hunt all being promoted to the senior squad after featuring in an under 15s Mariners side that went through the entire season before being knocked out contention during the play-offs.
Hunt is easily the most high-profile junior making the step-up, the Grenfell native currently unavailable for Sunday's game because she's away on international duty in Laos for the AFC U-16 Women's Championship qualifiers.
We've got an agreement with Football NSW where we don't have to have a reserve side.Mariners coach Josh Ward
However, Mariners have lost key players in the likes of Jessica Salomoni and Jasmin Courtenay, who has signed for Marconi Stallions.
Teegan Ward née Courtney has remained with the club and will captain the team once again.
Sunday's opposition presents a bit of an unknown for Ward, in what will be the battle of the Mariners.
"I haven't actually seen their roster yet, so I don't know what to expect," he said.
"It could be anything."
Throughout the NPL NSW 2, Mariners will face some tough opposition in the likes Sunday's opposition Central Coast Mariners, St George, Marconi Stallions and APIA Leichhardt Tigers.
Mariners will play their first home game on March 17, against the University of NSW at Lithgow's Marjorie Jackson Field.
This will be followed by three consecutive home games on March 24 (Lithgow), March 31 (TBA) and April 7 (TBA) against Sutherland Shire, Inter Lions and St George respectively.