NEW ERA: Ipswich Knights women Sheridan McCulloch, Nuala Geoghegan and Hannah Bianchi show the spoils of last year’s Premier League premiership success.
NEW ERA: Ipswich Knights women Sheridan McCulloch, Nuala Geoghegan and Hannah Bianchi show the spoils of last year’s Premier League premiership success. JAY BUCHAN

Knights set for a new beginning

LAST year's Women's Brisbane Premier League premiership winners have had a significant downsizing in the off-season.

A major player exodus at the end of last season has seen them drop down a division and seek out new players to bolster the squad.

The team lost several players to National Premier League club Western Pride (Katy Turner and April Albury), some have moved interstate, one has undergone knee surgery, at least one has retired, one has joined the Air Force, another the Navy and another moved to the Gold Coast.

"The Western Pride is a good thing but it stretches the resources of everybody," coach Paul McCulloch said.

It is not all bad news however, with the City 1 competition providing the ideal level for a rebuild.

Of the 18 in last year's squad seven remain and their main task to begin with is to ensure the successful formula that developed the team's culture in 2014 remains.

"I think recreating the culture we've had since Paul has been coaching is the biggest challenge," Knights player Hannah Bianchi said.

"We had an amazing culture and team unity."

The exodus began even before the end of the season last year, with the Knights going from claiming the premiership to missing out on the grand final.

"At the end of the season we were a bit down," Bianchi said.

"Other teams were able to draw on their lower grade sides but we didn't have that.

"It will be good to get that confidence back again because we lost some girls."

The City 1 competition starts on March 14.

Anyone interested in joining the Knights women for their 2015 campaign can turn up to training at the Knights Bundamba grounds each Wednesday from 7-8.30pm or contact coach Paul McCulloch on 0435 887 887.



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