Take two

THEY were Queanbeyan’s feel-good sports story of 2013. But Monaro Panthers Women’s Premier League coach Tilly Carbone is well aware the club can’t get ahead of itself leading into its second season in the ACT’s top grade.

In their inaugural campaign last year the Panthers shocked everyone by taking out the pre-season Federation Cup before going all the way to the Premier League grand final

Ultimately falling 2-0 in extra-time to a star-studding Belconnen United outfit, the side’s campaign was an unqualified success.

But with the departures of former coach Angelo Maralit, captain and goal keeper Jocelyn Mara and key players Becky Watts and Olivia Moore, a repeat effort this season will prove a Herculean effort for the young squad.

“We haven’t set any objectives in terms of winning the [Federation] Cup or winning the league or anything like that,” Carbone said.

“We’ve got a good foundation there that we’re going to build on and we’ll follow through with what was successful last year.

“For us it’s all about playing good, structured football and if the team can achieve that the results will take care of themselves.”

The Panthers will get their 2014 campaign underway this Sunday in the Mayoress’ Shield against Canberra Olympic at Seiffert Oval.

The match will be the curtain raiser to this year’s Mayor’s Cup between Monaro and local rivals Queanbeyan City.

It will also provide the perfect opportunity for Carbone to cast an eye over some of the squad’s new talent in the absence of some of last year’s more familiar faces.

While Monaro has lost a handful of key personnel, the club has been active on the recruitment front with Carbone targeting Woden duo Raymond Gill and Hayley Hind and Canberra Olympic’s Lizzy Reid.

Carbone will also be able to call upon last year’s potent strike force up front, including last year’s joint Golden Boot winner Ashleigh Palombi.

“We’ve got the bulk of our players back from last year but there’s also a few new faces trialling with us at the moment so those girls will probably get a lot of game time on the weekend,” he said.

“We’ve lost a couple of key players so it’ll be interesting to see how we go but I definitely think we’re looking to build on last year.”

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“The amount of youngsters we’ve got coming through at the moment is good to see but we still have to see how they go under pressure. So I don’t know about being favourites,” he added with a laugh.

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