Plenty of movement ahead of new NPLW season as UWA join the big league

NPLW players at the recent season launch - Frankie Murray-Hocking (Subiaco), Abbey Meakins (Balcatta Etna), Sarah Carroll (Perth RedStar), Hannah Collins (Hyundai NTC), Annabelle Leek (Fremantle City), Ella Lincoln (Perth SC), Emily Dinsdale (UWA Nedlands) and Emma Ylias (Murdoch University Melville). Photo by Football West/FotoEnzo

The 2024 NPLWA – Women’s competition kicks off this weekend with four matches across the Easter long weekend.

One of those fixtures will feature the NPLW’s first new team since the opening year as promoted UWA Nedlands make their debut at home to State Cup holders Hyundai NTC on Sunday afternoon (1pm).

This will be the club’s first appearance in the women’s top flight since relegation from the old Women’s Premier League in 2018. They return to the top table with a settled core who have played together for several years under long-standing head coach Lawrence Lewis.

Joining the likes of Alexandra Lyons, Emily Dinsdale and Erin Armstrong are a trio of intriguing American signings in the form of midfielder Michaela Thawley, defender Mackenzie Rastatter and goalkeeper Morgan Springer.

Two-time NPLW title-winning captain Katie Schubert also comes across from Murdoch University Melville to add valuable experience to the group.

Jasp Photography
NPL newcomers UWA Nedlands start their season at home to Hyundai NTC. The teams drew 3-3 when they met in the recent Night Series. Photo by JASP Photography

Opponents NTC, meanwhile, will be aiming to reach the top four for a third season in a row, but they will have to do it this year without several stand-out players, most of whom have “aged out” from the program.

Georgia Cassidy, Grace Johnston, Lilly Bailey and Tanika Lala all signed for Perth Glory, while Ischia Brooking and Ruby Cuthbert joined other A-League sides late last season.

But those departures present an opportunity for the next generation of NTC talent to stake their claim in Ben Anderton’s side.

U15 regulars Angelique Clayton, Niamh Healy, Theodora Mouithys and Jessica Skinner are among those likely to see more first-team appearances in 2024, alongside established names such as Louise Tana, Maja Archibald, Nelli Johnson and Violet Longmore in 2024.

NTC’s most notable recruit is Jessica Johnson, who comes across from MUM FC having scored double figures in the NPL last season.

MUM FC kick off the season on Thursday evening when they host Balcatta Etna at Besteam Stadium (7pm).

Both teams are led by new coaches this season, with former Etna and Subiaco assistant Steve Atkins taking the reins at Murdoch, while Peter Rakic joins Balcatta having led Perth SC to back-to-back second-place finishes in 2022 and 2023.

There have also been several changes to the playing rosters at both clubs.

Alyssa Van Heurck
Alyssa Van Heurck has joined Balcatta from Perth SC. Photo by Football West

Abbey Meakins, Alyssa Van Heurck, Monique Godding, Liana Cook and Rebecca Bennett have left Perth to team up once more with Rakic at Balcatta, while Jamie-Lee Gale and Katarina Jukic arrive from Fremantle City.

MUM FC, meanwhile, have lost several key players in the off-season with Samantha Mathers, Charli Wainwright and Johnson all departing. 2023 saw the club finish in their lowest position of sixth in the NPL women’s era, but they did reach a State Cup final last September.

Tiana Botha, Emma Ylias and Georgia Cawley provide league experience as the club take the first steps in a fresh start for 2024 with several exciting youngsters coming up through the ranks.

On Saturday, Perth SC face Fremantle City in a 5pm kick-off at Dorrien Gardens.

Danielle Brogan returns to the dugout for the Azzurri after a couple of years as Director of Women’s Football with the club. MUM FC duo Mathers and Wainwright are now at Perth, while Balcatta trio Epril Nossent, Kim McCartney and Baxter Thew also arrive at a club who have finished as league runners-up in successive seasons.

Opponents Freo have finished in the top four in each of the first four campaigns of the NPLWA – Women’s competition, but never higher than third.

Reigning NPLW Gold Medal winner Laura Waltman will be integral for Faye Chambers’ side once again with Sophie Meaden (MUM FC) and Anna Powell (NTC) among the new additions.

Rob Lizzi
New Perth SC signing Charli Wainwright in action against Fremantle City in the Night Series semi-final, which Freo won on penalties. Photo by Rob Lizzi 

Finally, back-to-back league champions Perth RedStar begin their run at a third successive title when they host Subiaco on Sunday at RedStar Arena (3pm).

Carlos Vega Mena’s side won last weekend’s NPLW Night Series final 4-1 against Balcatta to prove their contender credentials again in 2024. Caitlin Doeglas returns to WA after a stint over east and already looks to be a good inclusion following her performance last weekend, which won her the Tracey Wheeler Medal for player of the final.

Lauren Continibali and keeper Gabby Dal Busco also head north from Balcatta, while the club hope experienced midfielder Carla Bennett can return during the season following a long spell on the sidelines with injury.

Subiaco have added firepower to their ranks as they aim to reach the top four for the first time in the NPL era.

Former Balcatta winger Cass Harvey returns to the top flight after playing at Hamersley Rovers last season, while Stella Zampogna joins from Perth and Tayna Campos returns to the pitch after missing 2023 through injury.

Perth RedStar
Gabby Dal Busco helped her new side Perth RedStar defeat her former club Balcatta Etna in the Night Series final last week. Photo by Football West

All of this season's NPLW fixtures will be streamed live on Streamer.

All fixtures, results and tables on Squadi HERE

Round One games

Thursday 7pm

Murdoch University Melville v Balcatta Etna
Live stream link:

Saturday 5pm

Perth SC v Fremantle City
Live stream link:

Sunday (3pm unless stated)

UWA Nedlands v Hyundai NTC (1pm)
Live stream link:

Perth RedStar v Subiaco 
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