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Newcastle Herald

Teenage talent Bronte Peel is leading a firing Magpies attack in NPLW NNSW

GOOD FORM: Bronte Peel was Maitland's leading scorer last year and is again heading up a firing attack in NPLW Northern NSW. Picture: Marina Neil

Bronte Peel was discouraged from playing soccer, but that has never been a consideration for the talented teenage striker.

The Branxton 19-year-old was born with congenital hip dysplasia and constantly manages pain associated with the condition.

Last year she also played through the pain of a fractured foot to be Maitland's leading goalscorer when the club joined Northern NSW Football women's top-flight competition.

"I always have troubles with my hips still," Peel told the Newcastle Herald.

"I was basically born with a dislocated hip and I've had three major surgeries to put it back into place. I'll definitely need a hip replacement, but the surgeries were to prevent it until I'm a bit older instead of when I'm like 30.

"When I was younger and I was still growing I used to have to go to the hip surgeon all of the time and get check-ups. But since I've stopped growing it's more self-manage. I was encouraged not to play soccer but I didn't really see it as an option."

Peel joined the Magpies from the Emerging Jets last year when the club entered women's premier league.

She proved a key pick-up for Maitland as they pushed for a top-four position, ending the season as their leading scorer with 10 goals in 13 games. For many of those games she unknowingly played through the pain of a fractured right foot.

"I had pains in my foot all of the time and I just thought it was a bruise," she said.

"I was just trying my best to ignore it. Then I went to a podiatrist because I thought maybe it was my orthotics. He sent me for an MRI and it was fractured. They weren't sure but thought maybe it had happened around six weeks before."

Maitland finished fifth in a COVID-shortened season last year.

The Magpies have made a strong start to their second campaign to be third on 15 after seven games. They are four behind leaders Warners Bay and Broadmeadow, who have both played once more.

Key to their early success has been a firing attack, led by Peel, who has scored seven goals in as many outings.

"This year I wanted to score more goals and dominate more up front, be a bit more confident," Peel said.

"It's really easy [to do that] with the people I play with because they're positive and when they're playing well it makes you play well too."

The addition of attacking midfielder Sophie Jones has also proven key. She has scored in all five of her appearances. Captain Sophie Stapleford has contributed six goals and newcomer Chelsea Greguric five.

Maitland are looking to bounce back from a 5-2 loss to sixth-placed Olympic when they host Magic at Cooks Square Park on Sunday.