The 2018 women’s Premier League Hockey competition will be boosted by the inclusion of a new side boasting a former Hockeyroos star.
CYMS has confirmed its return to the region’s strongest women’s hockey title race, ending a long absence from the competition, while Jade Georgiou (nee Warrender) will line-up for the green and golds.
Georgiou earned 43 caps with the Hockeyroos before calling time on her international career in 2013, at the age of 21, after being plagued by knee injuries.
CYMS last stood alone as a side in the women’s PLH in 2007 before merging with Kinross in 2008, where the two sides played as one until the end of 2014.
Georgiou says the club’s return is a measured one, with CYMS’ juniors among some of the best in Orange.
And on a personal note, Georgiou’s return to hockey is now about developing those young players, rather than being the best player on the field.
It’s been a long time since I picked up a stick.Former Hockeyroo Jade Georgiou
“I can probably say I’m not the player I used to be,” Georgiou, 25, said.
“It’s been a long time since I picked up a stick, but it’s no longer about being the best it’s about developing the juniors and enjoying it.
“It’s now more about fun for me and playing a game that’s given me so much.
“I’m coming back from injury again (a third knee reconstruction) and I’m still young enough to play, may as well.”
CYMS is one of only two women’s sides in Orange to taste premier league hockey success, that triumph coming in 2002.
Similar success is not predicted straight off the stick in 2018, but Georgiou is confident CYMS will be a competitive unit come round one in April.
With Pete Shea as coach, Madie and Libby Smith joining the playing ranks alongside young-gun Pip Mannix and Georgiou’s sister Ash Warrender, the core of a solid side is building.
“CYMS do a great job building juniors and the depth at the club is there; there’s teams in every grade, successful teams, too, “Georgiou added.
“They’re keen to have a team and we’re keen to link with them to do that.”
Warrender played with Kinross-CYMS under the coaching of Shea before departing to be part of the Hockeyroos set up in Perth in 2011.
She’s now a PE teacher at Kinross Wolaroi and has been running the school’s hockey program.
Her competitive flame was rekindled after seeing the enthusiasm Kinross’ young players showed for the game.
“Being back involved in it again, I enjoy working with the kids,” she added.
“Kinross kids got me excited.”
Regarded as one of the Hockeyroos’ best during her time at the highest level, Georgiou says she’s hoping CYMS will strive to match the competition’s best sides in the form of defending premiers Bathurst City and perennial giants Lithgow Panthers.
“We’re going to be competitive and we want that expectation from the start,” she said.
Warrender was confident Orange has the talent to be able to sustain three women’s sides, with 2018 the first time the city will trot out three women’s PLH sides since 2014.
Last year, Feds made the finals for the first time since re-entering the competition in 2012 and Ex-Services finished the year in fifth, a place out of the top four.
CYMS inclusion bumps the title race out to a nine-team competition, should all other remaining sides nominate for 2018.