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NZF: National Women’s League round one preview

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

A historic moment will take place this weekend when an expanded National Women’s League kicks off with the season featuring two full rounds for the first ever time. Find out what’s in store on the opening weekend with the official preview of Round One. Two matches are set to take place on Saturday with WaiBOP hosting Auckland and Southern United welcoming Central while Capital face a trip to the Canterbury United Pride on Sunday. Northern sit out the action with the bye.

WaiBOP vs Auckland

Gower Park, Hamilton

Saturday 15 September, 2pm


Referee: B Baker

Assistant Referees: H Simons, J Lee

Fourth Official: N Browning


WaiBOP: 1. Georgia Candy (GK), 2. Toni Power, 3. Kate Williams, 4. Olivia Hooper, 6. Jayden Watts, 7. Emma Cawte, 8. Stella Neems, 9. Helen Talbot, 10. Ella Golding, 12. Kelli Brown, 13. Tiana Hill, 15. Grace Cox, 16. Grace Wisnewski, 19. Ashley Weld, 20. Chelsea Elliott, 21. Rylee Godbold (GK)

Coach: Michael Mayne

Auckland: 16. Corina Brown (GK), 3. Liz Anton, 4. Rebekah Van Dort, 6. Stephanie Skilton, 7. Britney Cunningham-Lee, 9. Jade Parris, 10. Paige Satchell, 11. Sam Muirhead, 12. Sarah Morton, 13. Kathryn-Anne Gow, 15. Leah Mettam, 19. Lucy Carter, 22. Genevieve Ryan, 24. Jade Morrissey, 25. Nadia Olla (GK)

Coach: Tracy Wrigley


Both sides are under new leadership with Michael Mayne taking over WaiBOP and Tracy Wrigley doing likewise at Auckland. Of the two, Wrigley has the larger boots to fill as Auckland won the title last season while WaiBOP mustered only four points to finish second-to-last. Mayne has turned to youth to lift WaiBOP back up the ladder and Auckland will certainly have the edge in terms of experience with Wrigley able to call on the likes of Liz Anton, Sarah Morton, Paige Satchell and Stephanie Skilton - all capped by their country at senior level.


Michael Mayne (WaiBOP coach): "This team is shy of genuine senior experience but there is no lack of youthful tenacity and energy. I’m looking forward to seeing some of the progress we can make as a group, starting on Saturday. It’s going to be a very competitive game on a very good surface and I expect both teams to try and impose themselves on each other."

Tracy Wrigley (Auckland coach): "I think all teams are a bit unknown this season - there’s been changes in personnel and coaching-wise and I’m sure they’ll have different philosophies. I guess we saw a bit in the NRFL of what we might get from WaiBOP - they’re young, exciting and there’s some talented players. It should be an entertaining game from both sides."

Southern United vs Central

Forrester Park, Dunedin

Saturday 15 September, 3pm

(Please note: Time and venue differ from originally released)


Referee: W McNeely

Assistant Referees: C Smith, C Campbell

Fourth Official: D Woulahan


Southern United: 16. Jordan Woodward (GK), 3. Kelsey Kennard, 4. Mikaela Hunt, 5. Lena De Ronde, 7. Shontelle Smith, 8. Renee Bacon, 9. Chelsea Whittaker, 11. Coral Seath, 12. Emily Morison, 14. Lara Wall, 15. Tahlia Roome, 17. Amy Hislop, 20. Britney-Lee Nicholson, 21. Mikayla Gray, 23. Georgia Brown, 24. Jade Middleditch (GK)

Coach: Ignacio Sande

Central: 1. Aoife Gallagher-Forbes (GK), 2. Kate Watson, 3. Mackenzie Barry, 4. Jenna Barry, 5. Aimee Atkins, 6. Florence MacIntyre, 7. Lydia Bamford, 8. Sophie Crewe, 9. Michaela Boxall, 10. Anna Robson, 11. Casey Ralph, 12. Jana Niedermayr, 13. Tyler Wood, 14. Maggie Pedersen, 15. Charlotte Lancaster, 20. Amelia Simmers (GK)

Coach: Matt Kilsby


Southern find themselves in the rare position of heading into a new season on the back of a successful campaign after surprising all comers with a first ever appearance in the playoffs last year. They also have some momentum behind them with around half of the squad having just won the Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup with Dunedin Technical. They will therefore be favourites to earn a win under new coach Ignacio Sande against a Central side - which has an average age of just 17 - trying to shake off the wooden spoon after posting only one victory in the previous season.


Mikaela Hunt (Southern): "It’s a game we’re really looking to win. Our pre-season has been a bit disrupted with the cup going on so we just need to get a game under our belts and start to focus on things we want to work on. The first couple of weeks may be like a bit of a pre-season with us trying to piece everything together but it’s really important we win this game, especially being at home."

Mikaela Boxall (Central): "We’re a young squad and I think we’ve got a two-year process ahead of us but we’re pumped for it and the start of the season is always exciting. They played some great football in the Kate Sheppard Cup final and it’s hard to go all the way down south but we’re looking forward to it."

Canterbury United Pride vs Capital

English Park, Christchurch

Sunday 16 September, 1pm


Referee: L Robinson

Assistant Referees: C Bremner, C Downes

Fourth Official: C Gruschow


Canterbury United Pride: 1. Victoria Esson (GK), 2. Marisa Van Der Meer, 3. Rebecca Lake, 4. Arna Roberts, 5. Annabel Gilchrist, 6. Chloe Jones, 7. Gabrielle Rennie, 8. Tahlia Herman-Watt, 9. Jayda Stewart, 10. Annalie Longo, 11. Macey Fraser, 13. Whitney Hepburn, 15. Monique Barker, 17. Cody Taylor, 18. Rebecca Gillett, 22. Una Foyle (GK)

Coach: Alana Gunn

Capital: 1. Courtney Norman (GK), 2. Rosie Wild, 3. Tessa McPherson, 4. Katie Barrott, 5. Molly Woodhead, 6. Jemma Robertson, 7. Kelsi Rutene, 8. Maya Hahn, 9. Emma Main, 10. Sarah Gregorius, 11. Kennedy Bryant, 12. Tory Schiltgen, 13. Sarah Alder, 14. Asha Strom, 15. Anna Green, 18. Ronisa Lipi (GK)

Coach: Emma Evans


This clash is undoubtedly the highlight of the round, pitting last year’s minor premiers against a side that boosts some heavyweight experience and talent. Capital have arguably pulled off the recruitment coup of the off-season in luring Football Ferns defender Anna Green back to these shores while the ability and leadership qualities of Sarah Gregorius will again be vital. The Pride possess a similarly talismanic figure in Annalie Longo and her control of the midfield could well decide the outcome on Sunday.


Emma Evans (Capital coach): "Playing away to Canterbury first up was always going to be tough when we know how consistent they have proven themselves to be over the past few years. But we’re looking forward to the challenge this game will bring and we can’t wait to get the league underway."

Alana Gunn (Canterbury coach): "The girls are very motivated, we have massive support from our region so making the final is always the main focus of the group. But personally I have many players wanting to reach further in football, so giving these players an opportunity to display what they have is always a priority for me as a coach."

BYE - Northern

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