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NPL Women Return to A-Leagues

LIONS WOMEN ADVANCE TO THE A-LEAGUES

After a stellar season that saw our Lionesses three-peat the Kappa Women’s Super Cup while securing a third consecutive NPL Premiership, we are proud to announce that a number of our Lions Women have been called up by the A-Leagues.

FROM LIONS TO THE A-LEAGUES

Over the course of our most successful years, a number of our Lions Women’s side have earned call-ups to the A-Leagues, with our top-performing players catching the eye of clubs all across Australia.

Most of these players have been developed right here in Queensland, progressing through our Lions Academy and into our NPL squads before earning that next step into the biggest league in Australia.

LIONS CONFIRMED SIGNINGS

The following Lions players have signed contracts with A-Leagues clubs for the upcoming 2023/24 campaign:

Cannon Clough | Canberra United

Zara Kruger | Sydney FC

Jamilla Rankin | Melbourne Victory

Teagan Thompson | Brisbane Roar

Mariel Hecher | Brisbane Roar

Tiarna Karambasis | Central Coast Mariners

Rebecca Kirkup | Brisbane Roar

While the A-Leagues clubs give our players a platform to challenge themselves on the biggest stage in Australia, these talented footballers are developed and embellished here at Lions FC.

Across the last four years, Lions FC has produced a cohort of players who have progressed from the NPL to the A-Leagues without any previous A-Leagues experience. These footballers include names like Meisha Westland, Wini Heatley, Coco Majstorivic, Isabella Shuttleworth, Mariel Hecher, Elli Chapple, Tiarna Karambasis, Cannon Clough, Zara Kruger, and Teagan Thompson.

The club also supported and promoted Shea Connors, Leah Davidson, Ayesha Norrie, and Chelsea Blisset, all of whom had limited A-Leagues experience before signing with Lions FC and are now established footballers who feature across Australia.

Lions FC don’t buy the best players in the league. We create the best players in the league and provide them with the support needed to advance to the A-Leagues.

We were disappointed that these A-Leagues clubs, whom we entrust to protect and encourage our players, instead asked them to sign mutual terminations on professional contracts. This left our players in uncomfortable positions where they may have lost their A-Leagues contracts if they chose to see out the 2023 campaign with Lions.

A-LEAGUES CLUBS REQUEST LIONS FC PLAYERS TERMINATE PROFESSIONAL CONTRACTS PREMATURELY

After an exhausting 2023 campaign where our Lionesses were pushed beyond their limits in order to maintain the benchmark standard they have been setting for the past three years, certain players were asked to terminate their contracts with the club in order to report for pre-season training ahead of the 2023/24 A-Leagues season.

This decision comes after the APL decided to bring the start date of the 2023/24 season forward, which does not align with the Domestic Match Calendar that was previously published. We invested in our players, knowing that they would be completely available to see out the 2023 campaign, only to have them called up to the A-Leagues before they could play in the Finals Series.

As a result, key players in our squad were unavailable for a Semi-Final that they had worked all season to earn, and our Lionesses were left shorthanded at Luxury Paints Stadium when they stepped up to face a strong Gold Coast United side. 

Rob Askew had to recruit players from our U23s to fill the squad, with Chloe Dale stepping in bravely at right back and a number of other rotation players required to step up and play the full ninety minutes. Their efforts were admirable, especially since they stepped up again a week later to defeat Gold Coast United in the U23s Grand Final. While there is no doubt that Gold Coast United defeated us fairly in our home NPL Semi-Final, it is disappointing that key players had to miss out on the experience of playing such a pivotal fixture.

The talent that dominates the A-Leagues is not brought. It is nurtured and developed from the lower leagues through to the NPL and onwards. While we were disappointed to lose key players early, we are exceptionally proud of each of our Lions Women who earned a contract in the A-Leagues. We wish you all the best of luck in the upcoming 2023/24 campaign and thank you for your incredible effort across an exhausting 2023 campaign.

 

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