Posted on Friday 2nd June, 2023



Season 2023 has been more than just a homecoming for North Sunshine Coach Emily Smith, with the role presenting a huge opportunity to steer the development of the Senior Women’s side to another level.

“When I first started playing at North Sunshine as an 8-year-old, I could have only dreamt of having a Senior Women’s team at the club,” Smith said.

“It brings me so much joy to be able to come back to a club that played such a massive part in my development — as a footballer and a person — but also one that instilled the love I continue to have for the game.”

The coaching appointment has been a huge boost for the side, helping to build up their core list with a number of new faces; and has brought a real sense of enjoyment back to footy at Dempster Park.

“I’ve seen improvement in all the girls, in so many different areas. The enjoyment and satisfaction that gives me as a coach is unbelievable, and I can tell by the smiles on faces that they feel it too!” Smith reflected.

The team are yet to hit the winner’s list this season but have shown that improvement on-field — breaking through against some tough opponents to hit the score board on several occasions. For Smith, it’s bigger than just the footy.

“I look forward to watching the girls run out in our club colours each weekend — it is so much more than football. It’s things like encouraging a healthy lifestyle, teamwork and connection that are so important,” Smith said.

The squad’s new inclusions have added another dimension, providing the side with more speed and attack on the footy. “We have a few younger girls – Mystical, Destiny and Shenaye — who show tremendous fight and courage week-in, week-out. It’s exciting to see them grow and develop into great footballers and people,” Smith highlights.

The Roadrunners’ comradery is clear, with Smith noting that they “love getting out there each week against any opponent,” but that they particularly look forward to their Pride Game against West Footscray, this year to be held on home turf on the 16th June.

North Sunshine approached the Roosters in the off-season of 2021 with the idea — one that has since flourished into a much-loved annual game between the two sides. Both the Roosters and the Roadrunners hope to see other teams take up the concept in future seasons — with the ultimate goal being a competition-wide Pride Round — one that celebrates the diversity and inclusion fostered in Women’s footy.

For now, Smith is keen for the team to keep working towards their goals in Season 2023.

“Our focus has been building connection, our energy and enthusiasm, when we turn up each week to do what we love. I just want them to enjoy it and have fun most of all.”

Catch the Roadrunners this Saturday as they go head-to-head with Spotswood at Converse Oval from 12:00pm.