Words: Michael Flynn | Image: Chris Simpson
With their season now officially concluded, Gold Coast City Women’s captain Jamilla Riley says 2017 was a mix of highs and lows both personally and for the team.
City’s final PlayStation 4 NPL Women’s Queensland campaign drew to a close with a whimper after the final match of the season against Brisbane Olympic was designated as a City forfeit by Football Queensland.
That decision saw City conclude the year in seventh position in the ten-team competition – equalling their 2016 return.
With City opting to not apply for a licence renewal in the PlayStation 4 NPL Women’s competition for 2018, Riley said it was the end of an era for the squad.
“Obviously, it’s a little bit sad because I know a lot of the girls will not stay together next year. They will go to different clubs and some will not play in the NPL,” Riley said.
She added, “I was injured for a fair few weeks near the end of the season. So to come back and play the last couple of games and end the year with two wins was something very positive for me and for all the girls.”
Riley joined City three seasons ago after relocating from Cairns and reflected on her time with the club. She said the opportunities afforded to younger plays was a positive of her time with City, however, inexperience also impacted on their results.
“With our squad this year and last year there was a lot of development. We had a very young team and we were up against a lot of older girls and we learned a fair bit from that.”
“At the beginning of this season we were going for the top four and I watched those teams that finished above us and I don’t think they were really any better than us.”
“Our goal difference was much better than the teams below us too. That was a big positive defensively, but I guess the lesson was that we just didn’t score enough goals in the end.”
City’s cause in 2017 wasn’t helped by a disrupted playing schedule that saw the side rarely able to play on three consecutive weekends due to weather and scheduled rest weeks.
“It was a very disrupted season. We would have training and then not always have a game that weekend. So we weren’t getting that match fitness that we needed really,” Riley explained.
“Some of the girls were like ‘there’s no point coming to training because we aren’t even playing’ and it disrupted our training because there were things we needed to work on and those girls weren’t always there.”
Riley said key player departures – including striker Steph Foreman in the opening rounds and midfielder Jayde Lowe mid-season – also hindered City’s push for a finals berth.
“Steph got Golden Boot last year for the team, so not having her here this year was a big factor. Also, when Jayde left in the middle of the season we lost her positive energy in midfield and up front.”
However, Riley said despite the adversity she learned plenty as one of the youngest captains in the competition.
“I wanted to make sure there were good vibes and that everyone was getting along. If there are players not getting along then it just goes pear-shaped.”
“That positivity was what I tried to bring to the team this season and I hope I managed to do that.”
She also said she was grateful for the club’s efforts to promote the women’s team throughout the year, dismissing suggestions the side was not given their due recognition.
“I have friends that said to me that the club media coverage of our team was better than any other club this year and a lot of girls in the team also thought it was very good,” she concluded.
Gold Coast City FC Women's Season Summary - PlayStation 4 NPL Women's Queensland 2017
Position - 7th
Played - 18 (W7, D0, L11)
Goal Difference - -20 (F28, A48)
Points - 21
Clean sheets - 2
Biggest win - 6 - 1 v Sunshine Coast FC Women (April 9th @ Sunshine Coast Stadium)
Longest winning streak - 2 games
Longest unbeaten run - 2 games
Top 10 Goalscorers -
10 - Jayde Lowe
5 - Teleya Reynolds
4 - Brie Bond
3 - Emily Benton
2 - Alana Giggins, Georgia Elliston, Neesa Doyle
1 - Ena Tsuzumi, Joy Forsyth
Top 10 Appearances -
17 - Charlotte Rayner, Courtney Black, Georgia Elliston
16 - Brie Bond, Ellen Hepburn, Emily Benton, Lily Lowe, Teleya Reynolds
15 - Joy Forsyth
13 - Neesa Doyle