Auckland Football’s winless run in the National Women’s League came to an end in their last outing and this weekend they aim to pick up a further three points and end their campaign on a high.
They are up against winless Southern United, with whom Auckland Football drew 2-2 last season, the first time Auckland has dropped points to their southern rivals since the National Women’s League’s introduction in 2002.
Coach Tracy Wrigley is wary of the threat they may pose and also the conditions playing at Tahuna Park will bring.
“I’ve seen varying things from Southern,” says Wrigley.
“They’ve done some things really well and obviously put some goals in so we know there’s a threat there.”
“It’ll be interesting down at Tahuna Park with the challenges it provides. Obviously we train on artificial turf so it will be interesting to see how the players adapt to that.”
Despite having the bye last weekend, the two weeks’ preparation for their final match has been interrupted with many of the squad sitting NCEA or University exams.
“It’s been an interesting couple of weeks. Lots of the players have been involved in exams so we’ve had varying degrees of availability for training.”
“The moods pretty good though. Bittersweet as we obviously know it’s our last game but the group is really tight and they’re happy and enjoying training and looking forward to the game.”
One of those players looking forward to the match is defender Georgia Martin who has featured in every game so far.
“We’ve had a week off to regroup and get ready for this match and we’re just hoping to get another win under our belts and go out on a high,” says Martin
The Lynn Avon United youngster was part of the New Zealand U-17 Development side in last year’s campaign but believes her time in the Auckland squad has been just as beneficial.
“With the older players in the environment I am learning a little bit more in the sense of playing with players who have had a lot more experience than myself. I think that’s been really beneficial.”
Georgia and her Auckland team mates kick off their final match of the 2016 National Women’s League at 1pm on Saturday 26 November at Tahuna Park.
Southern United vs Auckland Football
Saturday 26 November, 2016
Referee: Sarah Jones
Assistant Referee 1: Andrew Sommerville
Assistant Referee 2: Sean Lau
Fourth Official: Wilson James
The players: Renee Bacon is Southern’s leading goal scorer with two goals, both coming against last years finalists Canterbury United Pride.
The vital statistics: Southern United, previously known as Football South, gained their first point against Auckland Football in the National Women’s League last year with a 2-2 draw.
Squad list: 1. Jade Middleditch, 2. Sophie Dijkstra, 3. Jordyn Walker, 4. Kelsey Kennard, 5. Annabel Gilchrist, 7. Kate Guildford, 11. Renee Bacon, 12. Mikayla Gray, 14. Lara Wall, 15. Olivia de Ronde, 16. Caitlin Taylor-Lynch, 17. Stephanie Lee, 18. Tabitha Seaton, 20. Holly Johnstone, 21. Holly White, 22. Ruby Coers
Coach: Hayley Stirling
Auckland Football Federation
The players: Jenna Dodd and Hannah Kraakman come back into the match day squad for Harriet Steele and Milly McWhirter.
The vital statistics: In the past three seasons since becoming a fully national competition again, rather than two conferences, Auckland have put seven goals past Southern. Just one goal scorer from those campaigns will be in action with Evie Millynn netting in 2014. Current squad member Emily Cooper also netted whilst former players Jasmine Pereira, Megan Robertson, Sam Muirhead, Becky Hawker and Stephanie Trowill have also found the net against Southern
Squad list: 2. Georgia Martin, 3. Jenna Dodd, 5. Leah Mettam, 8. Ally Toailoa, 10. Tessa Leong, 12. Jess Philpot, 13. Deven Jackson, 17. Britney Cunningham-Lee, 18. Maisy Dewell, 19. Hannah Kraakman, 20. Annie Byrne, 22. Evie Millynn, 23. Nicole Mettam, 24. Alosi Bloomfield, 25. Bella Richards, 27. Ashleigh Emery
Coach: Tracy Wrigley