Last year's Herald Women's Premier League player of the year and leading scorer Jemma House is likely to be available for selection when defending champions Newcastle Olympic take on widely fancied premiership contenders Broadmeadow at Magic Park on Saturday.
The 24-year-old striker missed Olympic's opening round 5-1 defeat of Warners Bay due to her W-League commitments with the Newcastle Jets.
But Olympic coach Harmonie Attwill told the Newcastle Herald on Monday House was "back in the squad this week and should be available for selection".
Attwill coached Olympic to the premiership and championship double last year. They booked passage to the grand final by beating Magic 2-1 in extra time of the major semi-final.
Magic have bolstered their squad in the off-season, picking up key acquisitions Ash Brodigan, Alison Logue and Kirstyn Antoni, who all have W-League experience. They have also added midfielder Nadja Squires who sat out their opening round 5-2 win over newcomers Maitland through injury but is expected to play this weekend.
Round two of Herald WPL will open with Warners Bay hosting New Lambton at John Street Oval on Friday night. In a change to this year's competition, Northern NSW Football have scheduled games across three days, from Friday to Sunday, for most rounds.
In the past, the majority of Herald WPL games have been played at the same time on Sundays.
NNSWF women's top-flight competition has also increased visibility this season through a weekly match of the round being livestreamed by BarTV Sports. This weekend's match of the round will be the Charlestown Azzurri clash with Maitland at Lisle Carr Oval on Sunday from 3.40pm.
NNSWF chief David Eland told the Newcastle Herald the advantages were "far beyond the livestream".
"It also gives us vision that we can then use for highlights throughout the week to engage people on social, so that's a great advantage as well," Eland said.
"Hopefully, there are bigger and better things when we finally make that transition through to a division of the NPLW [National Premier League Women]."
NNSWF are eyeing National Premier League status for the women by next year and Eland said they would be working individually with the clubs who are currently in Herald WPL this year to make sure they are ready to make the transition. Expansion is a long-term goal but Eland said was "a way off yet".
If you are living under a rock then you may have missed Rhali Dobson's fairytale final appearance in W-League on March 25, when the championship-winning Melbourne City player stepped away from the elite level with a goal and a marriage proposal at Frank Holohan Reserve.
The East Maitland 28-year-old announced her early retirement from W-League to support her fiance Matt Stonham, who is undergoing treatment for brain cancer.
Many had been wondering if the former Merewether player would pop up in Herald WPL this season but Dobson told the Herald last month that she instead plans to have a run for Bolwarra Bushrangers in men's Zone League.
The Emerging Jets' first round of NSW NPLW against Illawarra set down for last Sunday was postponed. They will instead open their season at Lynwood Park this Sunday against Macarthur Rams.
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