MATCH PREVIEW | St Albans Saints v Essendon Royals | State League 2 North-West
Essendon Royals' senior women's team will go into Friday night's round 5 clash against St Albans Saints with every chance of recording a first win of the season, according to coach Johno Clemente.
The Royals girls have shown remarkable improvement since opening the State League 2 North-West season with a 5-0 loss to Spring Hills SC and Clemente believes that on the current trend of improvement a win – and a first loss for the Saints - could be just 90 minutes away.
"It's our last Friday night game of the season so were super excited to get out there, it's always a nice occasion playing on a Friday night on a good pitch," Clemente said.
"We're expecting a tight game, St Albans have made a solid start to the season and yet to lose a game which sees them sit 4th at the moment, but we'll be pushing to give them there first loss.
"There's been a huge improvement since start of the season in context, this team has been up against it since day one.
"Out of 37 girls registered in 2018 only six remained in the squad with only one of those being in the senior set-up last year.
"At our first trial session for seniors and reserves there were only 11 girls. Most women teams in Victorian football would have folded entirely which happens far too often.
"The girls believed in the vision I have for women's football at Essendon Royals and we're now going from strength to strength.
"To get a well-earned point against Hume City, and then dominate a team like Melbourne University in which we were unlucky not to win the game in our last two games have been massive indicators of the tremendous turnaround and that's down to the girls, but now it's time to step the level up again and start rising up the table."
Building a fantastic team culture has been crucial to this upturn in form and Clemente said the week off provided a fantastic opportunity for the team to build even greater rapport with one another.
"With the week off we took the opportunity to head down to our sponsor, Penny Young, for a great team dinner with great vibes around the squad that only helps build the culture for the Royal's women's program," he said.
The Royals round 4 match against St Albans Saints kicks off at 7:30 pm on Friday 10 May at Churchill Reserve in St Albans.