Thursday, July 29, 2010

Central Coast Mariners out of W-League

So news today is that the 2010/11 season of the W-League will start on November 5 and will another 10-round competition, but without the Central Coast Mariners.

First of all, it's hardly a surprise, given that Football NSW and NSWIS were supporting two teams (Sydney FC and the Mariners) and the Mariners girls were actually based in Sydney, not at all near Gosford like their men's counterpart. So now there will be two NSW teams, Sydney FC and Newcastle (who are backed by Northern NSW football, so a different entity to Football NSW), but I think will work better for women's football overall in NSW. One team per local federation makes sense to me.

Secondly, it may be one less team, but in a league where the difference between the top and bottom teams in the first two years was quite obvious, is that a bad thing? Instead heading into the FIFA Women's World Cup in Germany, it will put more pressure on every single player who wants to play W-League this year. There is about 20 less places than last year, it's going to be more competitive just to get into a W-League side. Which is another positive.

So is there any negatives out of this? Well yes, less girls will get a spot on a W-League roster this season, but in addition to my second point, coming out of an Australian Sports Commission conference on women in sport and media coverage yesterday (more on this later), I don't think that's such a bad thing either. The consensus was there, yes, women in sport should have more coverage in mainstream media, but the product has to be great first. One less team will make a more even field, a more competitive league. And I can't see a problem with that. In just the third season, I think it makes a lot more sense to cut back and make the league solid and viable before going forward.

The only other observation I have is that, well, this is going to make Sydney FC pretty unstoppable if they claim Mariners golden boot winner Michelle Heyman. Can't wait for November 5 to roll around.