Women's Panthers go down in Fed Cup final but still pose a great threat

DESPITE losing their defence of the Federation Cup final last Sunday, Monaro Panthers women's coach Tilly Carbone feels his side has nailed its combinations for the upcoming Women's Premier League.

The Panthers went down 5-3 to arch rivals Belconnen United who should go into the WPL as competition favourites.

They had most of the momentum throughout the match, leading 2-1 at half time before the Panthers came back and eventually tired.

But Carbone was happy with the way his players stayed in the grind against the run of play.

"We were 3-2 down in the second and very much still in the match, and then we tired a little and they scored a couple of quick goals," he said.

"But while it would have been nice to win the Fed Cup, all our gears are towards September...the Fed Cup was just part of a progression."

The Panthers had a good Federation Cup campaign overall, losing only the first match and the final.

Star striker Asleigh Palombi top scored with six goals for the tournament, while parnter in crime Georgia Fogarty scored a double in the final to save what could have been a catastrophe.

The club had also signed Canberra United winger Meg McLaughlin, and she played her first game for the club on Sunday and kicked a goal.

Carbone said there were still aspects of the game to work on, but he was happy with the attacking playing style the Panthers displayed during pre-season.

"We've got a very strong squad, and at this stage of the season I think we're ready," he said.

"We're in a good position to start the season in terms of our fitness, our structure and our playing style."

Fogarty, McLaughlin, captain Stephanie Coates, Palombi and her sister Brittany will form the backbone of a side Carbone believes can take a first WPL title in two seasons.

They take on the ANU in round one action at Riverside Stadium at 2pm.

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