MONARO Panthers coach Tilly Carbone admits the club’s promotion to the ACT Women’s Premier League has come about sooner than expected but says the Panthers remain determined to field a competitive outfit in 2013.
Earlier this month the Panthers were confirmed as the eighth Women’s Premier League team from next year onward, replacing the Gungahlin Eagles in the ACT’s top tier women’s competition.
The move is something of a gamble for the club given the Panthers have only been competing in senior women’s competition for the past two years.
“It’s probably come about a bit earlier than would have been ideal but it was always just a matter of time before the club made the move [into Women’s Premier League],” Carbone said.
“That’s the direction the club is heading at the moment but it’s certainly going to be a challenge to be competitive right from the outset.”
Carbone highlighted building the club’s depth in the women’s ranks as a key priority if the Panthers are to emerge as a genuine Premier League threat.
This season saw Monaro field a single senior women’s side in the second tier ACT State League competition. By comparison, Women’s Premier League clubs are expected to field teams in first grade, reserve grade and under-19s.
“Realistically to field three teams we need…48 players,” he said. “This year we had a squad of 16 so we’re going to have to find those extra players from somewhere.
“At this stage I am thinking we’re going to need to bring in at least four or five quality premier league players from outside the club if we’re going to be competitive.”
In a bid to boost recruitment, the Panthers have already moved to appoint former Gungahlin assistant coach Angelo Maralit to lead the club’s fledgling Premier League outfit with Carbone in an assistant role.
Carbone also said the club would be looking to attract at least one marquee player, possibly from W-League outfit Canberra United.
“We’ve been allocated a budget where we may be able to chase a marquee player and we’ll be looking to Canberra United,” he said. “Hopefully we’ll be able to entice a couple of players across but the only way you do that is if you can provide the financial reward.”
Trials and training for the Monaro Panthers Women’s Premier League team will begin early next month in the lead up to next February’s Federation Cup.