South West Phoenix Firebirds prepare for 2019 State League Division One season

Enjoying the world game: Golden Boot 2018 recipient Eleanor Coventry, Firebirds' captain Lucy Scott, and new signing Shauna Wetherell. The Firebirds will clash with Wanneroo City on April 28. Photo: Supplied.
Enjoying the world game: Golden Boot 2018 recipient Eleanor Coventry, Firebirds' captain Lucy Scott, and new signing Shauna Wetherell. The Firebirds will clash with Wanneroo City on April 28. Photo: Supplied.

The South West Phoenix Firebirds will get their title defence under way when they host last season's runners-up, Wanneroo City, next week.

Following a four-and-a-half month pre-season, the Firebirds are looking forward to the new season.

The Firebirds will join in round three, following a bye in round one and a postponed fixture against Joondalup. The side will soon be playing catch-up on the league table.

They started training in January, before joining the six elite teams in the Premier League Night Series.

It proved a tough initiation, with the Firebirds scoring three goals but conceding 17 across the three games.

The Firebirds lost 6-1 to Fremantle City, before falling to Queens Park (also 6-1) in round two. The side went on to suffer a 2-6 loss to NTC Women.

February, however, saw the Firebirds claim a 6-2 win over South West All-Stars.

The experience was always likely to be difficult, with less than a handful of Firebirds' players having ever been exposed to the state's highest level.

Lessons were learnt and the players' development was fast-tracked.

The team will begin the season as one of the State League Division One's favourites, in what's expected to be a more even competition compared to 2018.

Firebirds' starting line-up is stronger than it was twelve months ago, all thanks to the experience gained in 2018 and the retention of ten players.

The big addition is Shauna Wetherell, who has re-located to the South West from South Australia after playing National Premier League there for several years.

Wetherell brings experience, quality, and professionalism to a young squad, which has also added three players aged 16 or under.

Also returning is 2018 Golden Boot winner Eleanor Coventry, who impressively scored a goal in each Night Series match - against three of WA's best teams.

Coventry will look to strike fear into the hearts of opposition defences, once again.

Captain Lucy Scott and WA Schoolgirl Representative Asha McClurg have also returned to the side.

The Firebirds will look forward to a positive and challenging year - starting with a tough clash against Wanneroo on Sunday, April 28 - and will hope to build on the success of 2018.

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