Wonder women come to the fore as Superleague expands in 2017

DEFENDING CHAMPION: Alex Said will return as the Strikers' leader, he'll be hoping he can lead the side to back-to-back titles. Photo: CONTRIBUTED
DEFENDING CHAMPION: Alex Said will return as the Strikers' leader, he'll be hoping he can lead the side to back-to-back titles. Photo: CONTRIBUTED

The John Davis Motors Superleague is back, and in a big way.

After the undeniable success of the men’s league in recent years, the man in charge has heeded the calls of Orange’s players and established an all-women’s league for 2017.

He couldn’t be more pumped about it either.

“The ladies have seen how entertaining and exciting the men’s competition has been, and they wanted in,” Superleague coordinator Scott Baker enthused.

“It’s been a work in progress for sure, but we’ve got the green light to do it and we can’t wait. The expression of interest went out a few months ago, so it’s been spoken about for a while now and everyone just can’t wait for round one.”

Before that competition opener though, comes the 2017 player draw.

That will be coupled together with the reveal of the five women’s skippers for this year’s tournament, just who will lead the fives sides will be kept under wraps until the draw on Friday night, at Kelly’s.

But Baker did reveal there’s some serious players marked down to skipper the sides, some who have donned the green and gold of Australia in fact.

“We’ve kept the captains secret squirrel to build a bit of excitement, we’ll announce them all at the player draw,” Baker teased.

As for the men, Daryl Kennewell, Nic Milne, Darryn Marjoram, Adam Hurford and Alex Said will all return to lead their respective Renault Royals, JDM Jokers, Volvo Vikings, Mazda Maulers and Suzuki Strikers sides.

The Strikers claimed last year’s title, but thanks to the competition’s player draw system it’s truly up in the air as to which side will enter this year’s league as favourites.

“To keep teams as fair as possible, we’ll be using the same system as last year. There’ll be names in hats, with different for different levels of players, like Premier League, first grade, second grade and so on,” Baker explained.

“We did think about having an IPL (Indian Premier League, the world’s foremost Twenty20 cricket tournament) style auction, but this way it’s all luck of the draw and skippers need to work with what they have.”

The rules for this year’s competition haven’t strayed from those in place in 2016.

Basically, Baker said, the league has found what works in terms of novelty rules and won’t try to fix something that isn’t broken.

“All those novelty-style rules, the joker players, bonus goals and that sort of thing are still happening,” he explained.

“It is a shorter form of hockey but that makes for more free-flowing, attacking play.”

The first round of the Superleague – all rounds are played as round robin format – is in June.

The 2017 player draw kicks off at 7pm, at Kelly’s.