Adamstown may have no big-name signings but captain Clare Cummings said they will “rely on our heart, as we always do”, as they prepared to launch their Herald Women’s Premier League season on Sunday.
Rosebud have been going through a rebuilding phase since the departure of a host of experienced players at the end of the 2014 season.
They have managed to feature in finals football every year since, despite being a squad still heavily reliant on youth.
Last year Rosebud were strong across the grades and secured the club championship, which is something 22-year-old Cummings said was on their radar again.
“It’s good for each team to make the grand final and aim for the minor premiership but we don’t want to be that place where each team does their own thing,” Cummings said.
“We’re nearly 60 players, all as one, and we’d like to win that club championship again.”
They host Thornton in their season-opener at Adamstown Oval on Sunday and, under the watchful eye of new coach Paul Devitis, will be keen to take the spoils first up.
“Every game we plan to win but it’s important against teams that we think that we can beat to obviously make sure that we do make those games count,” Cummings said.
“The goal is top four. Top two would be nice but definitely top four first and then hopefully the grand final.”
Thornton won just two games last year but have been strengthened by the key signings of Olivia Tannock from Football Queensland’s women’s National Premier League and Lauren Rouse-Upjohn, who played in Germany’s Bundesliga 2.
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Redbacks coach Robbie Richardson said the main goal for the season was “to get away to a good start and be in touch with other sides”.
At John Street Oval on Sunday, last year’s minor premiers Warners Bay will host a new-look South Wallsend.
Warners Bay have lost players in key areas but retain the core of the side which won the 2016 championship and were beaten grand finalists last year.
Player-coach Cassidy Davis expected a more level playing field in this year’s competition.
“We have a few new players, so I’m not putting any expectations on the side yet,” Davis said ahead of the first round.
“Obviously the girls all want to be successful but we’ll be just taking each game as it comes.
“Winning the final then making the final in the next year, there is probably still going to be a bit of pressure on us.
“But I think each team is going to be stronger and I think once we get to the end of the first round we’ll have a better understanding of where we’re at and what we can achieve.”
South Wallsend coach Brad Parkes was looking forward to seeing how the club’s new signings would gel.
They have picked up former WPL player of the year Tracy Baker-Holmes, returning from a knee reconstruction, and former Young Matildas striker Beth Kermode, making her comeback after starting a family.
The Wolves have also picked up players with W-League experience in Alesha Clifford and Olivia Kennedy.
“We feel we have built a strong squad and we have trained hard for the season ahead,” Parkes said.
“We certainly want to be competing in the big games at the end of the season this year and I believe this is well within our reach.
“It’s exciting to see some of the signings that are intending on playing in the Women's Premier League this season and I think our squad has the ability and talent to add to the quality of the competition this season.”
Wallsend host New Lambton at Fletcher’s Kurraka Oval in their season-opener.
All games kick off at 2.30pm on Sunday.