Galactic empire strikes again

Armed with fresh faces and premiership experience, Gippsland Galaxy coach Nikki Schroeter says her team is ready to take its game to another level this season.

Having claimed the Victorian Women’s Football League division five east flag at the first attempt last year, the Gippsland League’s women’s football team was promoted to division three.

The Galaxy opened its campaign against Fitzroy at WT Peterson Community Oval in Fitzroy North on Sunday and proved it was worthy of the step-up with a 130-point win.

Gippsland kept Fitzroy to a mere four behinds while booting 20.14 (134), led by Sarah Jolly and Rachel Drenen with five and four goals respectively.

Speaking ahead of the game, Schroeter said pre-season form had been promising.

“We had two practice matches and we came close to Seaford who had 40 players against our 22 and beat Cranbourne who are a division two team by 10 goals,” Schroeter said.

“It’s a very different squad this year and we have four academy girls and a few juniors that have played for Victoria Country that are going to add a lot.

“These girls have had elite training and are ready to step up as leaders for us this year.”

The win against Cranbourne gave Galaxy fans an idea of what to expect from the team this season.

“Cranbourne were surprised at our size, we have six bigs to choose from that we can rotate through the ruck, up forward and down back,” Schroeter said.

“We’re blessed with good on-ballers and our transition from defence to attack is going to be very quick and exciting.

“The key thing for us is fitness and we’ve been working a lot on basic fundamental skills.”

While the Galaxy will run with a squad of 30 this season, the willingness of five players from the Gippsland Youth Girls Football League to train with the senior squad for experience is an encouraging sign for the future of women’s football in Gippsland.

As well as Fitzroy, the Galaxy will battle St Kevin’s Old Boys Saints, Melbourne Uni, Bayswater, Brunswick and last year’s rival Ajax for the division three premiership.

Gippsland’s next match is against the Saints on 1 May.