Gympie Gladiators keen for a strong campaign
FOOTBALL: As women's sport continues to grow nationally, Gympie is keeping up with the pace.
The Gympie United Gladiators women's inaugural season will kick off this month, with two sides ready to take the field.
The A-grade will be coached by experienced footballer Adam Cross and the reserve grade will be coached by Gympie United president Joel Albion.
With a successful pre-season and the talented women in Gympie, Albion said both sides were aiming for finals.
"We have had good wins and one loss to UQ but that is a different standard in A grade,” he said.
"The reserve-grade girls had a 1-nil loss to NYU (Nambour Yandina United) but we played good football and created chances.
"Both Adam and I have reassessed our goal for the year for the girls and if anything they have gone up. Where I said at the start of the year I wanted to win the reserve grade, we both have a goal now that we want to win both.”
Both coaches are focused on the season ahead and it is all about the final goal.
"We are not here to make friends any more, we are here to win games and finish on top of the table,” Albion said.
With plenty of talent in Gympie, Albion believes this group of players has the potential to do it.
"There is a good core group of girls that are capable of playing either grade,” he said.
"If we can put out a semi A-grade side in reserve grade that is fantastic.
"I think the speed of pass and quality of touch in reserve grade has been scary good.”
Experienced player Sammi Sutton has played football all her life and this year she will have a bit of a change.
"I did start as defence but majority of the girls in Gympie who play for United play defence,” she said.
"So I have been moved into a defensive midfielder, which is a bit more exercise and running but I enjoy it.”
Despite being a massive change, Sutton believes she can adjust.
"I like to see the whole field, I don't see that much now and I talk lots on the field,” she said.
"It is good to play back and see everybody.
"Playing defensive mid is good but a bit more running and getting a bit more involved with the attack.
"When I was younger I played in the midfield and then I played defence because no one wanted to play that.”
Gladiators goalkeeper Vanessa Weaver started playing in 2007 after making a switch from another code.
There is plenty of excitement among the group for the season ahead.
"It is good to be putting a team back into the coast federation division as well and to be apart of the inaugural season is pretty special,” Weaver said.
"The girls have been going great and it is exciting to see what is going to happen.”
Weaver has spent pre-season overcoming a foot injury.
"I will be good to go for the season,” she said.
"I guess the idea behind that was to rest pre-season to be ready for the main season.
"The special part is bringing the four clubs in Gympie together to play on the coast.
"I think the feel within the women this year is different and we have something different to offer.”