Team ready to Roar in sea­son 2019

The Cobram Courier - - SPORT - By Patrick Tansey

Af­ter a test­ing year on the field, largely through a lack of num­bers, op­ti­mism is slowly start­ing to bub­ble away within the in­ner sanc­tum of Co­bram Roar’s se­nior women’s side.

The Roar fin­ished sec­ond bot­tom in the Al­bury Wodonga Foot­ball As­so­ci­a­tion re­serves com­pe­ti­tion this sea­son, which re-signed coach Christo­pher Gash put down to a host of rea­sons.

‘‘It was very much a re­build­ing year for us this sea­son. We im­proved in a few ar­eas but we had a lack of num­bers that made it re­ally dif­fi­cult to es­tab­lish any sort of con­ti­nu­ity in train­ing,’’ he said.

‘‘I think once the num­bers are there you can start to work on the style of play and the way we want to play is at­tack­ing and pass­ing foot­ball. When you’ve only got five or six play­ers at train­ing it’s hard to teach the girls how to play.’’

Gash said the club had lost sev­eral play­ers due to a mix­ture of rea­sons, in­clud­ing want­ing to have a year off, go­ing to univer­sity or sim­ply los­ing in­ter­est in the sport.

He said the trend of los­ing fe­male play­ers had not only hurt Co­bram, but had been felt across the en­tire AWFA com­pe­ti­tion.

‘‘I be­lieve the league has lost about 40 women play­ers in the last sea­son, so we are def­i­nitely hop­ing to boost those num­bers back up,’’ Gash said.

‘‘With the new clu­b­rooms that will be built here next year hav­ing fe­male-friendly fa­cil­i­ties, we think it’s a re­ally ex­cit­ing time to be a fe­male soc­cer player in Co­bram.’’

Al­though num­bers in the se­nior ranks dropped, Gash had faith fe­male num­bers at Co­bram would climb again thanks to strong par­tic­i­pa­tion at ju­nior level.

‘‘The Co­bram Ju­nior Soc­cer As­so­ci­a­tion has plenty of good young fe­male play­ers and I think with the Matil­das be­ing suc­cess­ful at the mo­ment, the sport’s pop­u­lar­ity can grow again for women in­ter­ested in play­ing the game,’’ he said.

Look­ing ahead to next sea­son, the coach be­lieves ris­ing star Alyssa Ian­nucci will be one player to keep a close eye on, while the club was is in the midst of try­ing to sign a cou­ple of new play­ers as well as pre­vi­ous Roar rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

‘‘There are a cou­ple of names look­ing to come into the fold next sea­son and we al­ways wel­come new play­ers, re­gard­less of their ex­pe­ri­ence,’’ he said.

The club’s pre­sea­son has started and Gash was keen to re­store the Roar to its for­mer glory.

‘‘His­tor­i­cally, Co­bram has had a re­ally strong women’s team, but it’s dropped off in the last two or three years,’’ he said.

‘‘In say­ing that, I know all the girls here now are pretty de­ter­mined to make sure we get back up there again.’’

The side’s cap­tain Nakita Goe­gan said while 2018 was chal­leng­ing on a num­ber of fronts, she was con­fi­dent things could quickly turn around next sea­son.

‘‘It was a lit­tle bit dis­heart­en­ing at times be­cause of the lack of num­bers, but I think we grew a stronger bond be­cause there were so few of us,’’ she said.

‘‘I think if we can add a cou­ple of play­ers to the mix next year it will def­i­nitely make it more en­joy­able. We al­ways have a good time any­way, but it’s al­ways good to win and get a bit more com­pet­i­tive.’’

Ready to play: Co­bram Roar play­ers Han­nah Kent (left) and Nakita Goe­gan (right) with coach Christo­pher Gash.

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