JUFC girls get set for finals after strong first season

Joondalup United’s 14s girls’ team have performed superbly in their inaugural season at the club and now have a finals campaign to look forward to.

While their opponents have yet to be determined, the team will be confident of claiming a win in their semi-final to earn themselves a shot at silverware.

Coach Rob McCullagh has done stellar work to bring the side together, with his squad only being finalised three days before the campaign got underway.

Six of the girls had never played competitive football before, including the entire back four, while three others had only played one season previously.

As well as their relative inexperience, the squad is also one of the youngest in their age group but that hasn’t proved to be a barrier in any way.

In fact, they pushed hard for the regular season title and secured a finals spot with plenty of time to spare and can boast the best goal difference in the league as well as the second best defensive record.

“Given the girls’ inexperience and what I felt was important for both the team and club in their first year, I made the decision early to ensure they were competitive each match by first making them hard to beat,” says McCullagh.

“A national curriculum purist may not approve but the fact is, not one single team had an easy ride against this raw team and I could not be prouder of their determination and attitudes.

“The technique and game awareness will come; attitude and accountability are far harder to coach.”

The season has come with its challenges though, and at their home ground of Prince Regent Park in Heathridge there are not only no separate female changing rooms but no changing rooms whatsoever.

The situation is not ideal for participants in a winter sport but the girls haven’t let it impact them and their results have been testament to the dedication of the players, their families and their coach

In their most recent outing, they played out a 1-1 draw against Woodvale in what was essentially a dead rubber as McCullagh experimented with his squad.

Regular goalkeeper Becca Dahlstrom was given a chance to shine outfield with Catie McCullagh ably filling in between the sticks.

A goal down at half time, the team reverted to a more familiar set up and got back on level terms when Lily Hamilton found the net.

“Girls and women’s football is the next big sporting opportunity in the country at the moment,” says McCullagh.

“To this end, I would like to thank the club for the opportunity of putting together and coaching your first ever all girls team.”

Everyone at JUFC wishes Rob and the team well in their upcoming finals series.

JUFC Community 18s take first step to Triple Crown

Our Smarter than Smoking 18s Division Two Community team have completed the first step of an unlikely Triple Crown for 2018 by winning the league title following a 4-2 win over Subiaco AFC.

The boys had played some interesting fixtures, including in a hurricane at Rockingham and a few games with no substitutes.

Following this roller coaster season of mostly dominant football with a handful of odd defeats, JUFC found themselves in control of their own destiny going into the final game; needing three points from the final game against bottom side Subiaco.

No problem you might think but from the midpoint of the season, Subiaco had become inexplicably good, beating most of their opponents in the run up to the season finale.

On seven minutes, Subiaco were awarded a soft free kick 30 yards out and took advantage with an opening goal off the right post.

JUFC responded with a good move down the left and equalised through Presley Etto who scored from the tightest of angles on ten minutes.

JUFC dominated for the rest of the first half at Prince Regent Park but the score remained locked at 1-1. In the second half, JUFC continued to dominate, although time was starting to tick away.

On 65 minutes, a barrage of shots were saved by the Subiaco goalkeeper and the ball came to Struan Horne who buried it from eight yards for a 2-1 lead.

JUFC pressed again and a resulting corner found Will Kearns on the end of the cross for a two-goal lead.

As Subiaco pressed, JUFC came on the break and a through pass to striker Callum Burn saw all players miss the ball, allowing Burn to walk it into the net.

The visitors weren’t finished though and another soft free kick allowed them to throw everything but the kitchen sink into JUFC’s six-yard area and a header into the net made the final score 4-2 to the home side.

The team now moves on to the Football West Cup Final at Ashfield Arena where they will face the a tough challenge in the form of Perth Soccer Club who lost just once on their way to the Division One title.

Kick-off in the cup final is 3:15pm this Saturday, August 25.

The following weekend, the boys will face Noranda FC in the top four finals.