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National Women's League match week 13 preview

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

The thirteenth match week of the National Women’s League takes place this weekend, find out what’s in store with the official preview.

Canterbury United Pride vs Auckland Football

English Park, Christchurch

Saturday 8 December, 1pm


Referee: L Robinson

Assistant Referees: C Bremner, C Bolster

Fourth Official: R Preston


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. Gabi Rennie, 8. Tahlia Herman-Watt, 9. Jayda Stewart, 10. Annalie Longo, 11. Macey Fraser, 13. Whitney Hepburn, 14. Jasmine Donald, 15. Monique Barker, 16. Melanie Cameron, 17. Cody Taylor

Coach: Alana Gunn

Auckland Football: 1. Corina Brown (GK), 2. Lily Taitimu, 3. Elizabeth Anton, 4. Caitlin Pritchard, 5. Nicole Mettam, 7. Britney Cunningham-Lee, 8. Tessa Leong, 9. Jade Parris, 10. Paige Satchell, 12. Sarah Morton, 13. Kathryn-Anne Gow, 15. Leah Mettam, 19. Lucy Carter, 20. Grace Jale, 22. Genevieve Ryan, 25. Nadia Olla (GK)

Coach: Tracy Wrigley


This is a repeat of last year’s final and, with Northern expected to sweep aside WaiBOP in the only other game affecting the title chase, much of the attention this weekend will focus on English Park. Both sides have had the depths of their squads tested in recent weeks, particularly Auckland. The defending champions have been without the majority of their starting line-up and clearly missed that quality in being held to a draw at home by WaiBOP last weekend. Canterbury will likewise be delighted to welcome back Football Ferns Annalie Longo and Victoria Esson after a shock defeat to Capital. Auckland need all three points to make the final while a draw will be enough for the Pride, who could still finish top with a win.


Alana Gunn (Canterbury United coach): "We’ve been reviewing our last game against Auckland in depth, we really struggled in that game and Auckland beat us quite convincingly. We know that, if we want to make the final, we have to be a whole lot better than we were last time so we’re really looking into it. We’ve really missed Flea’s [Annalie Longo] drive to win, she’s not only a fantastic player but she inspires the players to win games and we’ve noticed the difference already."

Lucy Carter (Auckland captain): "We’re pretty excited, we’ve managed to get our full-strength side back with the Ferns and the U-17s coming back. Obviously, it’s a do-or-die game for us so we’re pretty pumped. We managed to get a result over them last time so we’re really looking forward to it. This game is like a semi-final now and I think we’ll got into the game with some confidence and real fight to try and get that final spot."

WaiBOP Football vs Northern Lights

Gower Park, Hamilton

Saturday 8 December, 2pm


Referee: S Jones

Assistant Referees: K Browning, J Lee

Fourth Official: R Al Rabea


WaiBOP Football: 1. Georgia Candy (GK), 3. Kate Williams, 4. Olivia Hooper, 5. Chloe Henderson, 6. Jayden Watts, 7. Emma Cawte, 10. Ella Golding, 12. Kelli Brown, 13. Tiana Hill, 14. Richlyn Tuhoro, 15. Grace Cox, 16. Grace Wisnewski, 19. Ashley Weld, 20. Chelsea Elliott, 21. Rylee Godbold (GK), 24. Shae Brady

Coach: Michael Mayne

Northern Lights: 1. Lily Alfeld (GK), 2. Claudia Bunge, 3. Greer MacIntosh, 4. Emma Turnbull, 5. Saskia Vosper, 6. Nicole Stratford, 7. Malia Steinmetz, 8. Dayna Stevens, 9. Ava Pritchard, 10. Talisha Green, 11. Helena Kelderman, 12. Liz Savage, 14. Jane Barnett, 15. Vegas McCaroll, 16. Laney Strachan

Coach: Gemma Lewis


The Lights have already booked their place in the final but this is still a significant match as they could need all three points to secure both the minor premiership and home advantage. Gemma Lewis will be making a timely return to the technical area after acting as assistant coach in New Zealand’s ground-breaking campaign at the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup while Northern will also welcome back Laney Strachan and Malia Steinmetz, from the U-17s and Football Ferns respectively. That doesn’t bode well for a WaiBOP side with only pride to play for but they showed they are capable of matching top sides in last week’s draw at Auckland, although the hosts were without a lot of key players. WaiBOP’s chances will likewise be boosted though by the return of U-17 internationals Grace Wisnewski, Kelli Brown and goalkeeper Georgia Candy.


Michael Mayne (WaiBOP coach): "A point away from home against a top team in the league was massive and really validated the commitment these players have had all the way through. The players showed a great deal of execution around the game plan and, while we conceded late again, I was totally proud of what they did that day and the way they stuck together. This season we have had to learn some of the toughest and cruellest lessons the game can throw at you but we have spoken to the group about what this does in terms of our personal development."

Gemma Lewis (Northern Lights coach): "The girls have done amazing without me and haven’t dropped a single point so there’s a few jokes going round at camp as to whether or not they need me to come back. WaiBOP are a team that you can’t really sleep on, they’ve been getting better in the second half of the season and they’re definitely a team who can take points off you if you’re not really focused on what they can do. So we know we really need to pay attention to them."

Southern United vs Capital Football

Sunnyvale Park, Dunedin

Sunday 9 December, 2pm


Referee: M Archer

Assistant Referees: C Smith, W Dymond

Fourth Official: A Verolino


Southern United: 16. Jordan Woodward (GK), 3. Kelsey Kennard, 4. Mikaela Hunt, 5. Lena de Ronde, 6. Samantha Baldwin, 7. Shontelle Smith, 8. Renee Bacon, 9. Chelsea Whittaker, 10. Kirsty Hayr, 11. Coral Seath, 14. Lara Wall, 18. Ruby Anderson, 21. Mikayla Gray, 22. Olivia de Ronde, 23. Georgia Brown, 24. Jade Middleditch (GK)

Coach: Ignacio Sande

Capital Football: 18. Natasha Ingram (GK), 2. Molly Woodhead, 3. Katie Barrott, 4. Danielle Ohlsson, 5. Danielle Turton, 7. Maya Hahn, 8. Anna McPhie, 9. Emma Main, 10. Sarah Gregorius, 11. Kennedy Bryant, 12. Michaela Robertson, 13. Tory Schiltgen, 14. Asha Strom, 15. Anna Green, 16. Meisha Boone

Coach: Emma Evans


This is the only match with no bearing on the fight for the final but is still important for both sides as they will be disappointed not to be in title mix and will want to finish on a high. Capital can count themselves unlucky to not still be in the running as they have been beaten only three times and underlined their potential with a thrilling win over title contenders Canterbury last weekend. Earning another three points would be particularly special for coach Emma Evans as this is her last game in charge of Capital after taking up a new role with the Auckland-based Oceania Football Confederation. Southern suffered a five-match losing streak mid-way through the season that proved fatal to their title chances but have now won two on the trot and are in great form in front of goal, scoring 13 times in that pair of victories, albeit against the two lowest-placed sides.


Stuart Moffatt (Southern United assistant coach): "Despite the fact that it’s the last game of the season, Capital are still a very strong side who are finishing just above us. Although we’ve had lots of pundits saying there’s nothing much left for the teams who aren’t in the top three to play for, I don’t think that’s how Capital and us will see it. We’ll both be putting out a strong side and there is still plenty of pride and honour to play for so I’m sure the girls are going to do their best."

Sam Morrissey (Capital assistant coach): "We always seem to have good encounters against Southern, they’re a good team and work hard for each other. On their day, they can compete with anyone in the league. We’ve got a couple of Ferns coming back in with Sarah and Anna and we’ve also got Maya back from the U-17s, so the squad is looking good and strong. It’s been a good week at training and everyone is looking forward to the last game of the season."

BYE - Central Football

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