Sunbury Lions kick off with a roar

Sunbury Lions women’s football team couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season in the Victorian Women’s Football League.

Putting off-season off-field turmoil behind them, the Lions have well and truly been the standout in the west division.

In the opening nine rounds the unbeaten Lions scored 820 points and conceded only 48.

Coach Kerry Saunders said she had no complaints.

“We are still on track [for where we want to be],” she said. “It’s going all right and we still have new players coming in but we’re still looking for four to five more to give us a bit more depth.”

Saunders said there was a good mix of experienced and new players.

“The experienced players have been able to do what they do and have been helping teach the new players,” she said.

The Lions beat Jacana 13.9 (87) – 1.1 (7) on Saturday, with Kristie Dudley, Brooke Surgeon and Kelsie Gill all kicking three.

Saunders said it was pleasing to see some youth girls play in the senior team.

“Qwai Sibbald and Jemayne Albrecht have come across from Craigieburn youth girls as they don’t have a senior team,” she said. “Stacey Smith from Sunbury youth girls has also come up.

“They can all play and are loving it and are stepping up. It’s good to introduce them into the women’s game.”

Saunders said she would continue to challenge the players.

“To cover ourselves, we will continue to teach the players new positions and rotate them in case of injuries,” she said.

“They’re keen not just to play but also [to] learn new things.”

On the injury front, the Lions have only one major player missing, captain Natasha Hardy, who hurt her knee in the final minutes of the Lions’ round eight match.

Despite fears it could mean season over, scans showed Hardy should miss only four to six weeks.

A continuation of the early-season form is likely to see the Lions promoted.

The Lions were in a higher grade but a shortage of numbers meant the club was put in the west division as it tried to avoid folding.

“If we win [the grand final] we’ll be promoted,” Saunders said.

“The challenge is whether some of the girls want to play in a higher division. We’ll assess that closer to the end of the season.”