Lioness coach Daniel Foden and the exciting goalkeeper Christine Fonua admit that the ambitious team is preparing for the new season.
“I’m very excited and I think the girls are too. It’s been a long time without football, so they’re just looking forward to playing again,” said coach Foden, who is in his third season with the club. “I think the incentive this season is huge and offers the opportunity to be the first team to be promoted to the NPLW.
“It’s the first time in a long time that a strong club like Preston has been mixing it up with the best women’s clubs in the state week after week and we’d love to be a part of it.”
Fonua, one of three sisters on this year’s senior team, admits the decision to promote the top two VPLW teams to the NPLW in 2022 gave her team extra motivation.
“Everyone is excited to play this year, especially now that advertising is on the table as an incentive,” she said. “Promotion would mean a lot as it is a team goal that I can achieve and personally I never won the league.”
The lionesses showed their qualifications for top football this weekend in a pre-season friendly with a 2-0 win over NPLW powerhouse Bulleen Lions. Amy Kane and Elwen Parbery scored the goals.
Fonua believes the entire squad will have to work together to achieve their lofty goals this season.
“The key to winning this year will be consistency and teamwork across the board, being able to score points on the days when it feels like things are not going well,” she said.
“We have a few key players, but the squad as a collective must all play their part.
“There’s a good balance between experience and young players who are ready and eager to get their jobs done.”
Foden believes his team has the depth to survive at a high level during a busy season, considering that most of the players have not played since 2019.
“The key to our performance and culture at the club is the whole group,” said Foden. “We have some great players in Captain Di, International Miri and a large group of players with senior or U / 19 NPLW experience.” as some very seasoned Preston players who have been with the club for the past few years.
“Without a doubt our strength in this phase lies in our great depth.
“But for me it is a big point to avoid injuries. That’s huge because the bodies had a year off.
“This means the risk of injury is greatly increased and we are extremely cautious right now.
“The other big point is consistency. We have to play well, score goals and keep clean every week.
“This is a very strong league and that means if you’re only out of the game once you can injure all the other teams.”
Preston’s biggest threat in 2021 will be State League powerhouse and Melbourne University’s 2019 State League One North League champions, 2019 Southeast champions South Yarra FC, and ex-state champions Boorondara Eagles and Eltham Redbacks. Former NPLW clubs Southern United and Geelong Galaxy United will also try to get back to the top division.
The lioness will face NPLW club Calder United in the next friendly on Sunday in Ballarat.
Copyright © The Women’s Game All rights reserved.