With the most dynamic attacking thirds in the competition, the value of Illawarra Stingrays’ back four often scoots under the radar.
While star strikers Michelle Carney and Jordan Baker are prone to steal the show, a new-look defensive unit in 2014 will prove just as crucial to the club’s title hopes.
At the heart of the club’s defence stands Daila Borg.
Joining promoted reserve grader Michelle Foscarini in central defence, Borg returns to her childhood club after she played football at the top level in the W-League.
The 19-year old spent the summer plying her trade with Adelaide United and believes the experience can prove crucial in her return season with the Stingrays.
‘‘[Playing in Adelaide] changed the way I view the game. It has made me a smarter player and I have learnt another position just from being there,’’ Borg said.
‘‘I was never a centre-back but the coach needed one and thought I would fit there, so now I am a centre-back.’’
Not dissimilar to her new defensive partner, Foscarini is new to her role in the back four.
Borg believes the combination are off to a smooth start after they conceded just once in the Rays’ opening two matches.
‘‘We have got two centre-backs who aren’t really that experienced there but I think we are going pretty good,’’ Borg said.
‘‘I know last week we didn’t play because of the rain but despite all the conditions and stuff, I think the team are going really well.’’
The Stingrays remain second on the ladder despite washed-out fixtures and look set to challenge for the title again in 2014.
While Borg said she would love to claim the women’s crown, it wasn’t her sole motivation for a return to the Illawarra.
‘‘I just thought it was time for me to come back and play for my local team. I was sick and tired of going back and forth to Sydney,’’ Borg said.
‘‘I have never played with the likes of Caitlin Cooper and Michelle Carney.
‘‘I have only ever really played against them, so it is good to finally be able to play with them.
‘‘When I first came back I didn’t know what to expect but the girls made me feel really welcome.’’
The Stingrays take on Northbridge at Collegians Sports Ground on Sunday.