Western Premier League: Open to women's competition but no plans for a start in 2021

JOY: Teegan Ward (right) celebrates a goal in the 2020 BDF women's premier league grand final. Photo: BEN FRY
JOY: Teegan Ward (right) celebrates a goal in the 2020 BDF women's premier league grand final. Photo: BEN FRY

While the Western Premier League men's competition was revived this year, it seems unlikely that a women's equivalent will be introduced in 2021.

The WPL returned with seven clubs this year after an eight year hiatus, with Dubbo Bulls being crowned champions after defeating local rivals Macquarie United at Apex Oval in the grand final 2-1 back in September.

Brent Osborne, who managed Panorama and played a key role in restarting the WPL in the off-season, said he would love to see a women's competition in the future and is open to the idea of a competition if there's enough interest.

However, he confirmed there are no plans currently in place to introduce a women's competition next year.

"The plan is to grow to have a women's competition, but nothing has been discussed or put in place next year unfortunately," he said.

"I think we're planning on catching up with all the clubs and the people involved in the WPL and in that time we will be mapping out some goals.

"There has been little chats between people about that's where we might go [having a women's competition] but there's nothing in concrete."

This year's Bathurst District Football women's premier league competition featured six teams - Abercrombie, CSU, Eglinton, Macquarie United, Millthorpe Tigers and Panorama - with Panorama defeating the more fancied Abercrombie in the grand final 3-2.

Brent Huie, who's steered Panorama to two grand final wins in three years, believes there would be a number of players at his club and in other teams in Bathurst too that would be interested in playing a Central West-wide competition.

"At the moment there's so many talented female players in Bathurst and Orange and the rest of the surrounds and there's nowhere for them to play once they get over the age of 18," he said.

"Yes, they play in Bathurst District Football first grade, but I think a lot of them should be testing themselves against the best. If that means there's another team that fills the gap of Mariners or if that means a WPL comes in for the women, something needs to happen for them."

With a senior Western NSW FC women's side not included in Football NSW's declaration of leagues for 2021 (the highest level Western will have a team is under 17s), Huie believes a women's Central West-wide competition is more important than ever.

"Especially considering Mariners women's aren't going ahead again," he said.

"For the younger ones wanting to get that senior experience playing against grown women, I think it be hugely important to have a WPL or something like that."

There is currently no Orange women's competition, however, teams such as Waratahs, CYMS and Ex-Services have played in Bathurst competitions in the past, as well as teams from Cowra and Mudgee.

Dubbo and District Football Association had five teams in its women's first grade competition in 2020 - Dubbo Bulls, Macquarie United, Newtown, RSL 78s and Westside Panthers.

This story A women's Western Premier League unlikely for 2021 season first appeared on Western Advocate.