THE Monaro Panthers women's side has begun its preparation for what could be the toughest six weeks of its two-season Women's Premier League existence after going down 5-0 to Belconnen at Riverside Oval last Sunday.
The loss was the side's first since last year, breaking a remarkable eight game winning streak as the girls have proved to be the best team at the Monaro club so far this year.
They fielded a full-strength squad against Belconnen in a scappy affair where poor execution cost them at least two goals, but they will be without five key players for their re-scheduled clash with ACTAS this weekend as the fierce Palombi sisters embark on a six week holiday.
Strikers Ashleigh and Brittany Palmobi have scored 19 goals between them so far this season and should prove tough shoes to fill for under 19s players Olivia Fogarty and Kass Gugliemien, whom coach Tilly Carbone will use to fill those voids.
Mid-fielder Jaline Hoek will join the Palombi's en route to holidays in a fortnight, and with centre companions Nikola Orgill, Hayley Hind, and defender Liz McPherson battling injury, there could be six regulars out for the Tuggeranong clash on June 22 as well.
Carbone said the loss to Belconnen was a shock for the girls, but they would need to get used to tighter games in the weeks to come.
"We made some uncharacteristic errors early in the game and we found ourselves down 2-0 after 20 minutes," he said.
"Our depth will be tested from now, but we will still have eight of our core group of players which should boost the younger girls that come up to play with us."
Looking ahead Carbone backed his women to continue winning with the experience of Meg McLaughlin, Stephanie Coates and Georgia Fogarty still around.
"They'll help guide our 19s girls coming up and so far they've done a good job with this," said Carbone.