Australian Lacrosse Network release Final 2016 Edition of the Women’s Australian Club Poll

The Australian Lacrosse Network have released the Final 2016 Edition of the Women’s Australian Club Poll. 

The dust has settled across the country and your 2016 premiers have emerged. Congratulations to Newport, Brighton, East Fremantle and the UQ Lacrosse on their premierships. The challenge facing the committee though is how do the premierships affect the rankings particularly with number 2 Footscray and number 4 Wembley unable to get across the line? After much deliberation, we unveil the final 2016 rankings.

1. Brighton Lacrosse club (Lacrosse SA) (16-0-1, Minor Premiers/Premiers) (Latest Ranking: 1)
The Bombers finish the year as the number 1 team in the land off the back of their dominating finish to the season winning 16 in a row after their first up 11 - 11 draw with Glenelg. Brighton were particularly devastating in the finals, smashing Glenelg 14 - 4 in the major semi before holding on comfortably in the final 13 - 8 against Glenelg again. Brighton strength was their firepower on offence with joint Shelley Maher Trophy winner Beth Varga leading a deep and talented offensive front. That coupled with a dominating defence led by import Molly Wolf ensured that the Brighton offence had continual supply and oppurtunites. This combination was utterly unstoppable resulting in a powerful SA season and the title of ALN Womens Club Champions for 2016.

2. Newport Ladies Lacrosse Club (Lacrosse Victoria) (15 - 3, Minor Premiers/Premiers) (Latest Ranking: 3)
The wobbles continued for the 'Porters as they entered the 2016 finals series off the back of some less then convincing performances. After getting rolled in the major semi final 8 - 6 by perennial foe Footscray, Newport found themselves on the ropes at half time of the preliminary final against a resurgent Caulfield. Whatever was in the oranges at half time though proved to awaken the beast and Newport never looked back, powering home with a strong 6 - 2 second half to see off Caulfield before taking home the 2016 title with a tight 9 - 7 win over Footscray in the final. Hayley Sofarnos came up huge with 3 goals in the final as the Porter's stars, including joint Shelley Maher Trophy winner Marlee Paton, Stacey Morlang and Bree Hussey, to name a few, all found their groove to guide the 'Porters to yet another premiership.

3. Footscray Lacrosse Club (Victoria) (13 - 4, Runner-Up) (Latest Ranking: 2)
Footscray stormed home in season 2016 and after taking down Newport in the major semi final, and they had it all in front of them heading into the Grand Final. However, a lacklustre start proved costly as they couldn't claw themselves back into the game against Newport and they ended the year falling just short. That was not to detract though from a spectacular season. Led by superstar Sarah Mollison (34 goals and 25 assists) their depth and midfield run made them a formidable opponent all season long. Their strength was their incredible depth with no fewer then 7 players posting 14 goals or more (just shy of at least one a game). Whilst they ultimately fell short, Footscray had a terrific season and were rewarded with number 3 on our list.

4. East Fremantle Lacrosse Club (Lacrosse WA) (12 - 6, Premiers) (Latest Ranking: 6)
The Blues were probably the best team you hadn't heard of all year. The 2015 premiers fell under the radar all year for a number of reasons. Injuries took their toll on this squad with East Fremantle unable to put up their best team throughout the regular season. This coupled with the fact that only 1 player went away to the Nationals meant that they weren't talked about much. But make no mistake, this team was legitimate. Led by WA Fairest & Best, Jess Kennedy (55 goals), the Blues peaked at the right time with the return of Tegan Brown and Tessa Atkinson, the continued growth of Emma Graham and Siobhan Scotson and the great goalkeeping by Sarah Mutch, East Fremantle accounted for minor premier Wembley 8 - 7 in the major final before a Kennedy onslaught in the grand final ensured that East Fremantle took home the chocolates with a dominating 10 - 3 win over Wanneroo in the final. If this squad can stay together and remain healthy, we expect them to challenge the top 3 in 2017.

5. Glenelg Lacrosse Club (South Australia) (13-4-1), Runner-Up) (Latest Ranking: 5)
2016 will go down as a big unknown for the injury ravaged Seahawks. Injuries took their toll on the defending champions with the loss of Karen Morton in particular hurting their chances at taking down a rampant Brighton. This squad certainly had the potential, with their 11 - 11 draw against Brighton to open the season a perfect example of what could have been. Despite this, the Seahawks battled all season with stalwarts Courtney Hobbs and Kahli Evans leading this team through much adversity to reach yet another Grand Final. Bonnie Marie Wells had a great year and Brianna Richards stepped up as the season went on with some big tallies to end the year. The offseason focus will no doubt be on getting healthy and we look forward to seeing whether Glenelg can push Brighton in 2017.

6. Wanneroo Lacrosse Club (Western Australia) (10-6-3, Runner-Up) (Latest Ranking: 8)
After battling for consistency for most of 2016, while fending off a feisty Subiaco squad, Wanneroo turned it on in the finals. Led by Melanie Goddard (30 goals), Tammie West (25 goals), Rebekah Simpfendorfer (23 goals) and Megan Shanks (22 goals) Wanneroo's depth kept them in it all season long and with the stellar goal keeping play from Sharn Muffett, they easily accounted for Subiaco in the first round before causing a huge upset, rolling minor premier Wembley in the preliminary final. Whilst they ultimately fell short against 2016 nemesis East Fremantle in the final, their abrasive, blue collar style worked well for them in 2016 and having cracked the top 2, they would have to rate this season as a success.

7. Woodville Lacrosse Club (South Australia) (7 - 10, 3rd) (Latest Ranking: 7)
Woodville's year was a story of 2 seasons. The first half could only be described as winter as Woodville got off to a very slow start winning only 3 from their first 11 encounters. Come July though, summer hit and Woodville turned it up a notch, winning their last 3 games in comprehensive fashion behind the stellar play of Charlotte Whinnen (39 goals), Hayley Thompson-Hill (21 goals), Imogen Brown (19 goals) and Rebecca Martin (25 goals) as they snuck into the finals before upsetting the more fancied Burnside in the minor semi final. Whilst their run was eventually halted in the preliminary final by Glenelg, the extent of their late season form has to give this team confidence heading into 2017.

8. Wembley Lacrosse Club (Western Australia) (12-1-4, 3rd, Minor Premiers) (Latest Ranking: 4)
The Wolves were the hardest team to peg in the final rankings. On one hand, their regular season was as dominating as any in the country as they dominated the Western Australian competition to secure a comfortable minor premiership. Their finals series was disaster though with 1 goal losses to East Fremantle and Wanneroo ending their season in straight sets leaving 2016 a disaster. Whilst their water tight defence led by Aussie squad members Bec Banyard and Elizabeth Hinkes held, their offence spluttered back to back 7 goals games proving to be their lowest scoring output of the year. That said, they are still well placed for 2017 if they an retain their squad with Hannah Mae Brown (54 goals) and Olivia Robinson (44 goals) no doubt looking to spearhead a 2017 Revenge Tour.

9. Caulfield Lacrosse Club (Victoria) (2-14-1, 3rd) (Latest Ranking: Not Ranked)
Despite recording only 2 wins for the year, Caulfield was another side who slid under the radar. Playing in the brutal Victorian State League were they played 2 of every 3 games against Newport or Footscray, Caulfield founds themselves anchored to the bottom of the table for most of the year. However, powered by a water tight defence, Caulfield found their offensive mojo towards the end of the year, registering close losses as the season drew to a close, including a tight 2 goal loss to Footscray in the last game of the regular season before turning it on in a big way, belting Williamstown 10 - 2 in the minor semi final before pushing eventual premier Newport to the brink in the preliminary final. Recruit of the year Yamada Sachiyo (18 goals, 14 assists) had a great year for the fielders and was ably supported by Romy Ansell and Laura Hulley. Superstar Sue McSolvin again anchored a tight Caulfield defence and had another great year between the pipes.

10. Burnside Lacrosse Club (South Australia) (7 - 8, 3rd) (Latest Ranking: 6)
Much like Glenelg, Burnside's season was another season of what could have been. Plagued by injuries, Burnside limped into the finals before eventually succumbing to an improving Woodville. Megan Smith had a great year with 43 goals to pace Burnside. She received great support from Sharni Wilson-Smith (37 goals), Sarah Lowes (27 goals) and Sophie Marshall (19 goals). With a few more pieces this side will improve in 2017.

Dropped Out: Williamstown Women's Lacrosse Club (Victoria) (3-12-1, 3rd) (Latest Ranking: 9)

Also receiving votes: Subiaco Lacrosse Club (Western Australia), Williamstown Women's Lacrosse Club (Victoria), University of Queensland Lacrosse Club (Queensland Lacrosse Association Inc)

 

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