There's no doubt last year's Bathurst District Football women's premier league competition was a three-horse race between minor premiers Abercrombie, CSU and eventual champions Panorama. And it looks likely again this year, but with an expanded competition, things might be made a little bit tougher for the competition's big three.
Last year's second grade champions Bathurst '75 have been promoted to the top tier, while Mudgee Wolves return to the fold after sitting 2020 out due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Abercrombie's second grade team has also been promoted to the top flight, meaning AFC will have two women's team in premier league for the first time in its history.
Eglinton have been near hopefuls in recent years and fell one game short of the decider back in 2019, so will it be able to final break throughout to its maiden women's premier league decider in its 20th year?
2020 FINISH: Minor premiers, semi-final defeat in second grade
OUR SAY: A fair portion of this Abercrombie Gold comes from the team that won last year's second grade minor premiership.
With a strong squad on paper last year, Abercrombie won the minor premiership but injuries at the wrong time didn't help them come semi-finals, losing to Bathurst '75 on penalties before going out to Eglinton in the preliminary final.
This team should be competitive throughout the season and with plenty of talented teams in the middle of the pack, they might be able to sneak into the finals.
2020 FINISH: Minor premiers, grand final defeat
OUR SAY: With the introduction of new Abercrombie teams this year, last year's minor premiers will adopt the Navy tag.
On paper, this team was the one to beat heading into the 2020 season but fell short won the grand final last year.
This year Navy has brought across Lily Grimmond and Molly Mashman from Macquarie United, however, the club has lost Emma McLean and Ginger Oliver to university, Ash Travers has moved to Sydney and Georgie Carr has crossed the void to join Panorama.
Navy will be spurred on from its defeat in the decider last year and will once again be one of the teams to beat.
2020 FINISH: Second in regular season, second grade grand final winners
OUR SAY: For the first time in a long time, Bathurst '75 will featyre in the women's premier league. This team joins the top tier after claiming the second title, knocking off minor premiers Abercrombie in the major semi-final, before defeating Eglinton in the decider.
Led by Jodie Northey, '75 might not have the class of the big three of Abercrombie Navy, CSU or Panorama, but they'll be in every match they playing, fighting to the final whistle.
The step up into women's premier league might be a bit of a challenge for '75 but they'll rise to the challenge no doubt and it'll improve their play and game in the long run.
2020 FINISH: Second place in regular season, semi-final defeat
OUR SAY: With the chopping and changing of players each and every year at CSU, it's always an unknown with the talent the Vixens have at their disposal.
But if they can retain a majority of its players, including the Jasmin Christie-Johnston, then expect CSU to be up the top end of the ladder fighting out for the minor premiership alongside Abercrombie Navy and Panorama.
2020 FINISH: Fourth in regular season, semi-final defeat
OUR SAY: Eglinton have been regulars in the finals for several seasons now but they've been unable to book themselves a maiden women's premier league grand final spot.
A preliminary final penalty shootout defeat in 2019 has been the closest Eglinton have got to make the grand final, with its 2020 campaign coming to an end after a comprehensive loss to eventual champions Panorama in the minor semi-final.
After losing a number of players this year, the finals might be a bit of a stretch for Eglinton but they'll still be in the mix.
2020 FINISH: Fifth in regular season
OUR SAY: It was a tough year for Macquarie United in 2020, missing out on the finals eight points behind Eglinton in fourth and the club only managed two wins from 14 games.
It might be a tough year ahead of Andrew Speed's girls, but if they can string a few wins together against some of the teams in what will be an extremely competitive middle pack, they might be able to sneak into the top four.
2020 FINISH: Did not participate
OUR SAY: Like all of Mudgee Wolves teams in juniors and seniors, its women's team did compete because of the coronavirus pandemic, so it's hard to gauge how they'll go in the top tier.
We can go off how the team performed back in 2019, when the club participated in the women's top tier. Wolves just squeezed into the finals, finishing fourth in a seven-team competition, with their position ultimately a three-horse race between themselves, Millthorpe Tigers and Macquarie United.
A large portion of the team they bring back into the women's top tier played with in that Wolves team and with former Western NSW FC star Jess Salomoni in team, Mudgee could be a dark horse if they can sneak into the finals.
2020 FINISH: Third in regular season, grand final winners
OUR SAY: First it was CSU, but now Panorama has well and truly become the benchmark standard in the women's premier league.
They've made the last four grand finals and won the 2018 and 2020 titles, with last year's triumph came in a thriller in the rain against arch rivals Abercrombie.
It was a fairy new squad for Panorama in 2021 and after a rocky start, coach Brent Huie was able to turn it around and Panorama would eventually down CSU in the preliminary final before a Teegan Ward goal sealed a famous 3-2 win in the grand final.
Can Panorama go back-to-back or will Abercrombie, CSU or someone else rise to the challenge? No doubt Panorama will be the hunted but with a bucket-load of talent that is led by Ward, the Goats will be up for the challenge?
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