Captain Carney stalking the Women’s NPL Premiership and Championship


At 36 years old, Michelle Carney is the most experienced player NSW’s top tier women’s competition has to offer.

With a career spanning over two decades she has been lucky enough to witness the growth and change of the women’s NPL and the women’s game in general.

“The competition these days is so much closer than when I first started playing in the NPL. In the early days it was always the same teams that would get through to the finals, but now, due to the development of players coming through, there is so much more depth in the competition and it really is anyone’s game.

“We’ve got all grades now, starting from the 12’s right through to first grade and funds are being invested into the growth of the game. Female players can now earn money playing in the competition which is an added bonus we never had in the past.”

As a child, the ex W-League player started out as a netballer. She would play street soccer with her brothers Darren and Socceroo/Sydney FC midfielder David, but her father, also a former representative football player saw something special in Michelle and knew that she was born to play the beautiful game.

“When I was about 10, my Dad signed me up for soccer. My brothers Darren and David played from a young age and when I started playing, David would play up two years so that we could play together for the Campbelltown Cobras.”

It is obvious that family and loyalty have always come first for Carney, who turned down a spot on the Matildas squad to support her brother instead.

“I’ve played for the Young Matildas in the Nordic Cup and for the Matildas in Tokyo. I was selected to play for the Matildas in the following Nordic Cup but I turned it down to go and watch David play in England.”

The PE Teacher has played for her current club, the Illawarra Stingrays for over a decade, joining the team during it’s inception in 2006.

Even more impressively, she has hit the back of the net over a whopping 250 times throughout her tenure with the Stingrays.

When asking the lethal striker and previous golden boot winner what it was about the Illawarra Stingrays that kept her loyal to the club she said,

“It’s just such a great family club. I’ve been with the same bunch of girls for years, we all get along so well and it’s a really enjoyable club to play for.”

The close-knit Illawarra side are currently sitting at second on the table, but with only three points separating them from top dogs Sydney Uni, they are strong contenders for both a premiership and a championship this season.

“Now that we are coming into the last few games before the finals, no one can afford to slip up. We face the Rams this week which is a “must win” for us if we want that contention for a premiership.

And on Sunday, a win was what the Stingrays got with a convincing 5-1 triumph over the Macarthur Rams.

“We’ve spent a lot of time working on our defence so now we are really trying to ramp up our attacking. It’s so close but I’m confident that if we stay injury-free we can go all the way.”

In addition to her impressive historical statistics, Carney is also the current second-leading goal scorer of the competition. She’s scored 16 goals for the season so far and is showing no signs of slowing down any time soon.

“I always take it year-by-year when it comes to deciding on whether I’m going to continue playing. I have my C licence and have been thinking about going into coaching, but I’m just seeing how I go and taking things as they come”.

-By Liana Buratti