Double trouble: Saints overcome squad overhaul to claim GMT double

Published Fri 25 Aug 2023

Leichhardt Saints A coach Matt Bowen has credited a resolute defence and a tight knit squad with the team going from runners up last year to claiming the Grace Martin Trophy double in 2023.

Saints won the Premiership on the final weekend of the season and were crowned Champions last week as the Grand Final was not played, and Bowen praised the playing group that saw only seven returners from 2022.

“We had a smaller squad this year than what we normally have, with only 16 players throughout the regular season,” he said.

“But that has helped create a tighter group, and it has really been a group that have put in for each other. There is this real attitude of team first, putting the group ahead of individuals, and that has had a big impact.”

“With only seven returning players from last year, the new faces have been great, and everyone came together so quickly which I think has been helped by that smaller group.”

Now in his 10th season with Saints in the Women’s first division, Bowen highlighted his side’s spread of goal scorers as a key contributor to the team’s success, along with a stoic backline that conceded just seven goals during the regular season.

“The highlight for me has been the defence,” he said.

“That was a key factor, the team really did value that clean sheet.”

Saints finished on top of the regular season table with 43 points, four ahead of Hurlstone Park in second, and with a dominant record of 63 goals scored and just seven against.