South West Phoenix Firebirds kick off their Premier League Night Series campaign this Sunday with what is likely to be a tough initiation against Fremantle City.
It is the opening match of a group phase, which will see the Firebirds play against three of the state’s five best teams from 2018 over consecutive weeks.
Playing in the tournament, the Firebirds will get ideal preparation for the upcoming season.
Following on from winning State League Division One last year, Firebirds were eligible for promotion to Western Australia’s top tier.
Unfortunately, failure to gather enough players to field a League and Reserves team each week means the Firebirds will stay in Division One.
The invitation to join the Elite 8-team Premier League Night Series was jumped at by the Firebirds.
The team has not changed too much in terms of personnel, and is stronger than it was in 2018.
Firebirds have retained ten of their title-winning squad from 2018, adding youngsters like Ruby Stevenson and Maddison Wheeler, and key recruit Shauna Wetherell.
Wetherell re-located to the South West from South Australia where she played elite-level National Premier League soccer for several years.
Captain Lucy Scott, Golden Boot 2018 winner Eleanor Coventry, and WA Schoolgirl Representative Asha McClurg will return to the squad for 2019, as Firebirds look to build on last year’s success.
The task for the Night Series is a daunting challenge, but is guaranteed to fast-track the young team’s development and provide excellent pre-season preparation.
The final group game against NTC will also be an opportunity for young players to get in front of State selectors’ eyes and hopefully impress.
The Firebirds overcame every challenge in 2018, but 2019 is about to throw even bigger challenges their way.