Opinion & Analysis

NWFL Week 1 Preview

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Chris TebbuttOpinion & Analysis
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Photo Credit: David Robertson

Unless you have been living under a rock then you know the NWFL season kicks off tomorrow with tournaments from the Prem South and Div 1 North.

And if you read all the interviews and watched the live stream then you should at least know a little bit about it.

Because I certainly only know a little bit about it, but that isn’t stopping me from doing my Week 1 Previews.

Hosted by: London Warriors

Games:

Kent Exiles vs Hertfordshire Cheetahs

London Warriors vs Birmingham Lions

London Warriors vs Hertfordshire Cheetahs

Kent Exiles vs Birmingham Lions.

London has drawn the lucky straw and get to host the first prem tournament of the year, with the Wembley Stallions on their bye week, though I am sure some of the Stallions will be in attendance to scout the competition.

London Warriors

Arguably the second strongest team in the NWFL behind Birmingham, coming of an undefeated season with a point differential of a whopping +358, the Warriors don’t have to wait long to try and shed the idea they are second behind Brum as they will face them in their first game of the season.

In our interview with Rachael Moody of the Edinburgh Wolves, she said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the Warriors turn to lift the trophy at the end of the year.”

With the last time these teams were in the same division being the 2019-20 season, the Warriors are out for revenge as their games with the Lions ended 40-42 & 24-26 in favour of the Lions, London look to put those two-point losses to bed and prove the Lions don’t have their number.

Now their second game sees them go head-to-head with the Cheetahs, from the BAFA website it states the Warriors will play this game straight after the Lions game, which very well could play into the Cheetah’s hands.

Though the last meetings between the Cheetahs and Warriors ended 0-55 & 2-45 both to the Warriors, the Warriors shouldn’t overlook the Cheetahs as the Warriors will be coming off a big game before trying to take down Hertfordshire.

Kent Exiles

If Birmingham vs London should be seen as the Main Event, then Kent vs Hertfordshire should be the penultimate bout.

As the Exiles and the Cheetahs record against each other last season favoured the Cheetahs 2-1, with the first two meetings ending up 40-27 & 36-14 to Hertfordshire, only for Kent to win the final game 26-20.

That victory was Kent’s only victory of the 2021 season, so god willing, they have drawn from the win and know what they have to do to put the Cheetahs in the L column.

Now the Lions, are a difficult squad to plan for. Hopefully, Exiles HC Carl Alexis has put something together for Kent to put some points on the board, just remember any given Saturday…

Hertfordshire Cheetahs

Coming off a 3-5 season which saw two victories over the Exiles and one victory over the Wembley Stallions 18-14, the Cheetahs will be looking to replicate their success over Kent and take their game to the next level.

So, if they can beat Kent in the first game of the day hopefully, they can ride that momentum into their game with the Warriors and halt the ascent of London.

Birmingham Lions

The phenoms of the NWFL, coming off multiple undefeated seasons and the largest point differential in all of Britball in 2021 at +379, the Lions will be looking to carry on their undefeated streak this season.

But the Lions will be subjected to a trial by fire as they have the Warriors who are nipping at their heels, with a year separated the two titans of the NWFL lock horns in a game I wish was livestreamed.

The Lions have the same issue as the Warriors as they need to not overlook their second opponents of the day, but due to their continued success in the NWFL they have been in this situation before and have the discipline to keep their head in the game regarding their second opponent.


Division One North

Location: Druid Park

Hosted By: Northumberland Shieldmaidens

Games:

Northumberland Shieldmaidens vs Edinburgh Wolves

East Kilbride Pirates vs Edinburgh Wolves

Northumberland Shieldmaidens vs East Kilbride Pirates

Northumberland Shieldmaidens

One of two teams making their debut in the NWFL this year, Northumberland have been showing off their squad on social media and could have their two division opponents worried.

Despite being a new team, Northumberland have got players who have been a part of the sport before, so it won’t be a case of them being an all-rookie squad.

But first, they are going to have to face off with the Big Dog of the division, the Edinburgh Wolves.  The Shieldmaidens will be looking to show their strength early with a victory over the established Wolves.

Now East Kilbride will be looking to show they aren’t going to be walkovers to the new team on the block but, will the journey south of the Scotland/England border take too much out of the Pirates and provide Northumberland with the advantage in their first tournament.

East Kilbride Pirates

The Pirates will get to sit back and evaluate their two opponents before going back-to-back with them which may provide an advantage going into the second and third games.

EKP’s last season saw them go 1-6-1 with the victory coming as Edinburgh were seen as a scrimmage and non-competitive side in their first game and the draw came when EKP & Teesside didn’t travel to Edinburgh last year.

Given their 2019/20 season saw them go 0-8, EKP have got everything to prove and will look to make Edinburgh and Northumberland walk the plank.

Edinburgh Wolves

The Wolves are looking to fight their way to the Prem, but these two teams stand in their way. With the great unknown in Northumberland and the old foe in EKP, the Wolves are looking to dominate their way to the premiership.

Last year the Wolves sunk the Pirates in all the games played, but it wasn’t smooth sailing as the first game’s scoreline read 33-20 to the Wolves, who then came back later in the season and beat EKP 32-2.

But the biggest question mark in this League is the Shieldmaidens and will experience of the Wolves be able to topple the unknown entity of Northumberland?

“We are so prepared for Saturday’s opening games. We’ve trained hard since January both on the field and in the classroom. Our ladies are literally buzzing to get on the field. We are also super excited to face a brand new team in their first competitive game of Football.” – Lynsey Llewellyn, Defensive Coordinator, Edinburgh Wolves.

I am not giving predictions…

Make sure to keep up with all the Sportank NWFL coverage on Facebook and Instagram.

And please follow @girlsofgridironuk on Instagram & TikTok as well as Girls of Gridiron UK as they continue to provide the best coverage of the NWFL.

Teams Instagrams:

@hertscheetahs

@londonwarriorswomen

@bhamlionswm

@kentexiles

@shieldmaidens_afc

@east_kilbride_pirates_Women

@wolveswomen



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