Leaders Southern United will take a significant advantage into the final stages of the Futsal National League next month while WaiBOP, Canterbury United and Auckland occupy the remaining play-off positions with just one series to go.
The southerners enjoyed a near perfect time of it over the weekend in the inaugural ‘National Travelling Series – Southern Division Hosting’ at ASB Sports Centre in Wellington, which gave each team the chance to face their counterparts from the other end of the country for the first time.
Up until this point, the matches have been restricted to regional rivalry with four series taking place across New Zealand between representatives in the Northern Division – Northern, Auckland, WaiBOP and Central-Hawke’s Bay – and the Southern Division – Central-Manawatu, Capital, Canterbury United and Southern United.
Southern adapted best to meeting their cross-division rivals by posting three wins and a draw to solidity their reputation as the side to beat when the competition wraps up in Auckland on December 9 to 11. Significantly, one of Southern’s successes came against defending champions Auckland, who succumbed 9-3, while WaiBOP, and Hawke’s Bay also fell to the pace-setters. The only outfit able to halt Southern was Northern, who pulled off a surprise 6-6 draw.
As has been the case throughout the campaign, Southern’s charge was led by the inspirational Brazilian pair of Carlos Herrmann and Daniel de Souza, who scored in every game of the series. Herrmann finished the weekend with eight goals to his name, including a hat-trick in the Northern draw, while compatriot de Souza ended on six and also notched a hat-trick in the impressive win over Auckland.
The other side to enjoy a memorable weekend was WaiBOP, who bounced back from that first-up defeat to Southern to post a trio of consecutive wins. Notable performers for the Brayden Lissington-coached team were the player-coach himself – Futsal White Lissington struck successive doubles in the victories over Manawatu and Canterbury – and Logan Wisnewski, who found the net six times, including on four occasions in one game against Manawatu.
The likes of Northern and Canterbury will also be pleased with their efforts after each lost just once. Daniel Culpan scored in every match and struck six goals in total for Northern as they posted two draws and a win to go with their sole loss. The Cantabrians fared slightly better, earning two wins and a draw to secure third place behind Southern and WaiBOP. Benji Lapslie, Ebrahim Luis Augusto and Matt Bergin were all on target in more than one game for Ronan Naicker’s side.
Experiencing mixed fortunes were Auckland and Manawatu but, of the pair, it’s the former who will go away the most disappointed. As reigning champions, the Nathan Robertson-led side would have expected more than a win and a draw from their four matches, although many Auckland followers would have gotten a kick out of seeing Robertson back on the court.
The ex-Futsal White has been retired for a couple of years but was forced into action due to injuries among the squad and was part of a veteran line-up when on court with the likes of Marvin Eakins, Kareem Osman and Bakr Al-Saudi – all hugely-experienced current or former internationals.
As usual, leading the way for Manawatu as they joined Auckland in claiming a win and a draw were Adam Cowan, Josh Smith, Jonathan Steele and Nathan Cooksley. The individual highlight was a hat-trick to Smith in the local derby victory over Hawke’s Bay.
The Bay were one of two sides who won’t be satisfied with their efforts after joining Capital in losing three of their matches and winning just one. Ethan Dent also scored a hat-trick in that loss to Manawatu but goal-scoring was a problem for coach Chris Greatholder – who, like Robertson, took to the court himself at times – and the rest of his team until they finally found their range with a 4-3 victory over Capital in the last match of the series.
Capital would have been bitterly disappointed to lose that one so narrowly after beginning with a pair of defeats but getting back to winning ways in the previous game – a morale-boosting 3-2 triumph against Auckland. Capital have competed in four of the past six grand finals but that proud record now looks unlikely to continue as the Wellingtonians are propping up the table with Hawke’s Bay.
Like the Bay, they struggled to find the target with enough regularity across the series, Fraser Norrington and Enrico Meirelles top scoring with just two each.
The Futsal National League now takes a short break but returns on December 9 with the ‘National Travelling Series – Northern Division Hosting’ at ASB Stadium in Auckland. That series will run for two days before the semi-finals and grand final take place immediately after at the same venue on December 11.
For more information and to view the full fixtures and standings please click here
Futsal National League – National Travelling Series, Southern Division Hosting
Southern United 3 (Carlos Herrmann, Kasam Ali, Daniel de Souza)
WaiBOP Futsal 1 (Bahram Ahmadi)
Central Futsal-Manawatu 4 (Adam Cowan, Josh Smith, Lucian Armstrong, own goal)
Northern Futsal 4 (Daniel Culpan 2, Oban Hawkins, Art Twigg)
Canterbury United 4 (Evandro Siqueira Madruga, Andre Pestana, Benji Lapslie, own goal)
Central Futsal-Hawke’s Bay 1 (Own goal)
Capital Futsal 0
WaiBOP Futsal 1 (Jordi Ditfort)
Southern United 9 (Daniel de Souza 3, Carlos Herrmann 2, Dan Ramsay, James Govan, Mike Taylor, Sean McIntee)
AFF Futsal 3 (Adam Paulsen, Sander Waterland, Nathan Robertson)
Central Futsal-Manawatu 7 (Josh Smith 3, Jonathan Steele 2, Adam Cowan, Nathan Cooksley)
Central Futsal-Hawke’s Bay 4 (Ethan Dent 3, Harrison Gregory)
Capital Futsal 2 (Lucas Da Silva, Fraser Norrington)
Northern Futsal 4 (Art Twigg 2, Mitchell Verry, Daniel Culpan)
Canterbury United 5 (Tom McGowan 2, Ebrahim Luis Augusto 2, Benji Lapslie)
AFF Futsal 5 (Bakr Al-Saudi, Arzan Todywalla, Marvin Eakins, Kareem Osman, Calvin Opperman)
Central-Futsal Manawatu 5 (Jonathan Steele 2, Adam Cowan, Nathan Cooksley, Josh Smith)
WaiBOP Futsal 8 (Logan Wisnewski 4, Brayden Lissington 2, Bahram Ahmadi, own goal)
Canterbury United 3 (Rami Dawwas, Matt Bergin, Benji Lapslie)
Northern Futsal 1 (Daniel Culpan)
Southern United 8 (Michael Sannum 2, Carlos Herrmann 2, Reid Hulleman, Daniel de Souza, Sean McIntee, Kasam Ali)
Central Futsal-Hawke’s Bay 2 (Harrison Gregory, Campbell Whitworth)
Capital Futsal 3 (Matthew Edridge, Alex Brodie, Enrico Meirelles)
AFF Futsal 2 (Own goal, Adam Paulsen)
Canterbury United 2 (Matt Bergin, Ebrahim Luis Augusto)
WaiBOP Futsal 6 (Logan Wisnewski 2, Brayden Lissington 2, Jordi Ditfort, Jacob Robb)
Southern United 6 (Carlos Herrmann 3, Reid Hulleman, Daniel de Souza, Michael Sannum)
Northern Futsal 6 (Daniel Culpan 2, Nikola Velkovski 2, Sam Emami, Abdallah Amleh)
Central Futsal-Manawatu 3 (Adam Cowan 2, Jake Besenyi)
AFF Futsal 6 (Sander Waterland, Calvin Opperman, Marvin Eakins, Arzan Todywalla, Rudy Mozr, Kareem Osman)
Capital Futsal 3 (Miroslav Malivuk, Enrico Meirelles, Fraser Norrington)
Central Futsal-Hawke’s Bay 4 (Bjorn Christensen, Harrison Gregory, Rudi Bauerfeind, Dylan Cozens)