Sophie Stapleford knows the feeling.
Last year the left winger helped Warners Bay hold aloft the inaugural Northern NSW Women’s State Cup and this weekend she wants to do it all again.
“It was really exciting being able to hold it [State Cup] for the first time,” the 24-year-old primary school teacher said. “Hopefully we can do it all again.”
Making it all the more sweeter for the Panthers was upstaging Merewether in the final shortly after losing the NNSW Women’s Premier League decider to the same opponents.
A change in timing for the knockout tournament means State Cup takes place with the regular season still in motion. Warners Bay and Merewether are top two.
“We’re down to the business end of the season, but having State Cup now means we can have a crack at a title before going back to finals,” Stapleford said.
Panthers under-20 players will be promoted with W-League pair Cassidy Davis and Jenna Kinglsey both out.
“It will be a good experience for the younger girls to come up,” she said.
Warners Bay open proceedings against Wallsend on Friday night (6:30pm) with Boambee and University the others in group A.
New Lambton, South Wallsend, Thornton, Mayfield (group B), Merewether, Mid North Coast, Cooks Hill (group C), Adamstown, Kurri Kurri and Barnsley (group D) round out the competition.
All 28 matches will be played at Speers Point. The final is scheduled for Sunday (4pm).
Meanwhile, in the men’s NNSW National Premier League, and second-half goals to Scott Pettit and Leo Bertos helped Hamilton edge closer to the semi-final spots after recording a 2-0 win over fifth-placed Charlestown in a catch-up game at Lisle Carr Oval on Wednesday night.