Northern Rangers have drawn a line through their back-to-back championship women’s side taking another step into the Women’s Super League next season.
The club expectedly went on to clinch the Northern Championship on Saturday for just the second time ever after a 7-1 win over struggling Ulverstone.
Rangers’ dominance puts the side in a position to earn promotion into the statewide competition, but both player depth and commitments of the young squad has forced them to rule out the move.
It’s in contrast to the NPL Tasmanian side that has considered moves to leave.
Rod Fulton understands both sides of state soccer’s divide, coaching the Rangers women’s championship and presiding over the elite men’s program as club president.
“We are still there working through it – the desire is to remain in the NPL,” he said.
“To separate the issue, some people read into that if we’re thinking about it, we’re thinking we don’t want to be in it. That’s the wrong way of looking it. We want to stay in.
“All we’re looking at is a practical point of view of can we continue to compete.”
The introduction of Tasmania’s arm of the National Premier Leagues in 2013 has taken the all but amateur competition into a race to buy professional signings.
Fulton said the inclusion of Riverside Olympic will not be a factor should the club drop to just two sides in the Northern Championship men’s competitions.
On the contrary, the proposed increase from eight to 10 sides in the premier competition in the state could be beneficial for Rangers.
“The way to look at that if you bring Glenorchy and Riverside into the NPL, it will lower the standards and maybe give us some more teams we can be competitive with,” Fulton said.
“I’m not upset if Riverside come in, but I think diluting the talent pool is still there.”
That is not an issue for the championship-winning women, Fulton believed.
The side conceded just 14 goals in 20 games, four less from 2017. Rangers had 17 scorers that included Febey Pearce and Moana Chamberlin netting 20 goals each.
The club produced 2017 championship player of the year and golden boot winner Emma Langley, who moved across to traditional Victorian giant Heidelberg United.
Others have had stints at Launceston City’s Women’s Super League side.
“The inevitable question about involvement in a state league is unfortunately answered not by the standard of our football, which I believe would be good enough, but simply by looking at the practical issues,” Fulton said.
“Too many of the girls have work and study commitments that make games on the North-West coast difficult enough at times, without factoring in trips to Hobart.
“On top of this, we would need to find an entire second team to cover a state league and northern competition.”