Triathlons and Port Stephens Power AFL women a good mix for Hunter Central Coast Black Diamond Plate series

Port Stephens Power AFL women players prepared for the upcoming Hunter Central Coast Black Diamond Plate competition by completing a triathlon at Soldiers Point with the Tomaree Tri Club. (L-R) Club umpire Penny Rushworth, Airlie Coleman, Johanna Wilson, Josie Johnson, Justine Hourihan, Kayla Pennicott and Hannah McDermott.

VARIETY is the spice of life and the motto for Port Stephens Power AFL womens team as they prepare for the 2024 Hunter Central Coast AFL Black Diamond Plate competition.

It has proved a pre-season campaign with a difference for several members of the Power’s 30-player squad, who have complemented their traditional training program with a recent triathlon event at Soldiers Point.

“We decided to add some variety to our pre-season training schedule for the upcoming season so opted to participate in a triathlon,” experienced captain Josie Johnson told News Of The Area.

“Seven of us went along to a Come and Try Day at Tomaree Triathlon Club and completed a 250 metre open water swim, eleven kilometre bike ride and three kilometre run and relished the opportunity,” quipped the stalwart defender.

“It was a gruelling but satisfying experience that will leave us in good stead for the start of the competition in April,” Josie added.

A defensive dynamo for the Power and NSW Masters representative team in recent years, the skilful Johnson is gearing up for another competitive campaign in 2024.

“I’m feeling fit and fresh and excited about the team’s prospects in the Plate series this season,” she exclaimed.

“We have a good mix of youth and experience in our current squad and should benefit from the taste of finals experience we achieved last year,” said the inspirational leader.

Under the coaching of astute mentor Beth Innes, the Port Stephens women’s team reached a milestone in 2023 when they qualified for the Black Diamond Plate finals for the first time.

Josie has fully recovered from a dislocated knee injury and believes forward Airlie Coleman, midfielder Johanna Wilson, centre half forward Justine Hourihan, attacking midfielder Kayla Pennicott and Cardiff utility recruit Hannah McDermott are in for big seasons.

“They’ve all been training the house down along with seasoned campaigner Renee Selby and hopefully our youth brigade can realise their full potential,” said Josie.

The Power will be without the services of Tomaree High School and Sydney Swans Academy medium forward sensation Taylor Smith, who will line up for the Cardiff Hawks in 2024.

But the club has a rising star in sixteen year old forward Chaise Furner who has joined the women’s squad in a full time capacity this season.

“Our team is all about building friendships and having fun on the field and the camaraderie we’ve enjoyed has taken us a long way,” Josie reflected.

“We have improved each season and are proud of our record of never having forfeited a match – even during the club’s formative years.”

Now in their seventh season the Power women believe they are genuine contenders for this year’s Plate title.

By Chris KARAS

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