OCTOBER 24, 2013

Two of the State’s top teams will travel to South Australia this weekend aiming to add Interstate Challenge trophies to their respective collections of silverware.

MySolar Sunday Premier League champions North Perth United and the Bankwest Women’s State Premier League’s best team, Northern Redbacks, will put pride on the line in their respective clashes against Mount Gambier’s International and Adelaide City at Burton Park on Sunday.

All Flags State Premier League champions Bayswater City will not travel this weekend after their prospective opponents, Campbelltown City, sought postponement due to their recent heavy schedule, which included National Premier Leagues’ commitments. Football West and Football Federation South Australia will aim to reschedule the match early next year.

North Perth will be without star trio Alex Brain, Steven Henry and Eamonn Kelly, who are part of the MySolar State Amateur Team travelling to Malaysia this weekend.

Alex Carter, who was the league’s coach of the year, acknowledged the impact their absence would have on the team but was confident North Perth would put on a good show.

“The three State players have been an integral part of our team this year and will be a big loss but it gives an opportunity to guys who have been on the fringes,” Carter said.

“We’ll put together a competitive team and hope that we’re good enough on the day. It would be great to get another medal this year. Once you get a taste of what you can achieve, you want a little bit more and that’s the feeling amongst the guys. This (Interstate Challenge) is another reward for the season and I think it’s a great initiative.”

Bankwest Women’s State Premier League Coach of the Year Neil Bennett, whose Northern Redbacks were undefeated this season, will be without defender Amy Knights, who has joined Perth Glory Women.

But with so much talent in the team, which claimed the league title by 12 points, confidence is high among the Redbacks’ personnel.

“We’re looking at this as being the icing on the cake after a very good season,” Bennett said. “We are going over with the aim of winning this, not just for the club but for women’s football in WA.”

While the early kick-off (7.30am Perth time) will pose its own difficulties for the Redbacks, Bennett hopes the experience will be beneficial to the club’s ambitious players.

“We’ve not done this before as a club, so it’s difficult logistically,” he said. “And it will be an eye opener for us. This could give some of our players a heads up and show them that if they want to progress this is what they could be doing more regularly.”

INTERSTATE CHALLENGE at Burton Park, Adelaide
Sunday, October 27

Women: Adelaide City v Northern Redbacks (kick-off 7.30am, WA time)
Men: International v North Perth United (kick-off 9.30am)


Northern Redbacks: Renee Leota; Katie Moth; Aleisha Dyer; Jacqueline Nellany; Lauren Riley; Charlotte Farrell; Nicola Williams; Larissa Walsh; Rita Mankowska; Carla Bennett (c); Clare Dunn; Kathleen Waycott; Emily Dunn; Ashlee Bager; Eleanor Blackmore; Haylee Richards. Coach: Neil Bennett. Team officials: Jessica Nuess; Dave Whiteside; Tim Hodgson.

North Perth United: Rorie Cowan; Kevin Flavin; Clayton Stone; Mark Curran; Gregg O’Flanagan; Ryan Fitzgerald; Aaron O’Neill; Davy Lyttleton; Richard Dendle; Nicola Pozzobon; Steven McGrath; Patrick Montgomery (c); Darragh Cullen; Keith Donegan; Adrian Rockett; Scott Stephens. Coach: Alex Carter. Team officials: Mark Rockett; Mark Reid; Paul Reid.