AUCKLAND - A pair of clashes on the opening weekend of the ASB Women’s Youth League could have lasting impact on the race for the semi finals.
The national women’s league returns with a new name and a new format – age restrictions have been introduced for the next three years – and six-time champions Auckland Football and perennial bridesmaids Capital Football start as favourites in their respective Northern and Southern Conferences.
Auckland are ‘at home’ on Saturday to their Development squad – competing as the league’s eighth team for the first time – and despite the presence of Football Ferns Aroon Clansey and Abby Erceg as overage players in the development side, the A team will be favoured to start their title defence with three points.
However, Northern and Waikato-BOP look like mounting serious challenges this season and the clash between the two at Fred Taylor Park in Whenuapai is already shaping as crucial to both teams’ drive to qualify for the semi-finals.
Northern Football’s coach Nathan Janes says his side are making no secret of their hopes of challenging the favourites and he believes a win this weekend could turn the Northern Conference into “two-horse race.”
“There’s no room in my mind at the moment to think about a loss this weekend,” Janes said.
“We don’t underestimate Waikato at all, but we know quite a bit about them and think our pattern and the players we have can break down the system they play.
“We’re strong and very organised and everyone is buying into the same philosophy.
“Looking around the league, we understand Auckland are strong and have depth but we believe no other team in the league will be as prepared as us.”
A key for Northern Football, previously United Soccer 1, will be getting as much time on the field from captain Priscilla Duncan in the midfield engine room and Caitlin Campbell who is making her way back from injury.
For Waikato-Bay of Plenty the return of former age-group striker Helen Collins will give coach Dave Edmondson extra options in a team spearheaded by New Zealand striker Sarah McLaughlin and age group winger Olivia Chance.
Meanwhile the race the Southern Conference appears wide open and while a trip to Dunedin’s Tahuna Park to meet Football South will be a tricky one to navigate for a Capital side led by prolific forward Renee Leota, Sunday’s meeting between Mainland Pride and Central Football in Christchurch should be just as tight.
“We have been working hard over the past couple of months and are determined to start campaign on a high note,” said Pride coach Mike De Bono.
“We will have to be at our best to keep the likes of Football Fern Anna Green at bay, we also have a number of talented players who are more than capable of producing the goods.”
Football South v Capital Football
Tahuna Park, Dunedin
Saturday 22 January. 2011
Referee: Phillip BULLING
The players: 24 year old captain Kushla GLOVER is the only player overage player named in the Football South squad.
Squad list: 1-Tess NICHOL (gk), 2-Amber MULHILL-LARSEN, 3-Kelsey KENNARD, 4-Annie GILCHRIST, 5-Ana KEELTY, 6-Georgia BROWN, 7-Jordyn WALKER, 8-Kushla GLOVER, 9-Mary Fraser, 10-Sam MUIRHEAD, 11-Amelia CURRIER, 12-Samantha SEWPERSAD, 13-Chelsea WHITTAKER, 14-Sahara MACDONALD, 15-Shontelle SMITH, 16-Charley KERRY.
Contact: Darren REWI (coach)
The players: Renee LEOTA, second on the all time Women’s League goal scoring table with 24 goals, takes the captains armband for the 2011 season.
Squad list: 1-Ronisa LIPI (gk), 2-CJ BOTT, 3-Tamsin BROWN, 4-Tessa MCPHERSON, 5-Amanda RASCH, 6-Evie MILLYN, 7-Emily STOTTER, 8-Megan ROBERTSON, 9-Emma HUMPHRIES, 10-Ana OLSEN, 11-Chelsea O'CALLAGHAN, 12-Emily MCCOLL, 13-Emma ROLSTON, 14-Renee LEOTA (captain), 15-Briar PALMER, 22-Corina BROWN (gk)
Contact: Peter ROYLE (coach)
Auckland Football v Auckland Football Development
Keith Hay Park
Saturday January 22, 2011
Referee: Martin NEALE
The players: Football Ferns midfielder Annalie LONGO is in doubt as she recovers from a calf injury and has been bracketed with Daisy CLEVELEY.
Squad list: 2-Courteney VAN LIESHOUT, 3-Rachel HEAD, 4-Jessie VERDON, 5-Briony FISHER, 6-Hannah CARLSEN, 7-Stephanie SKILTON, 8-Rebecca BURROWS, 9-Hannah WALL, 10-Annalie LONGO/21-Daisy CLEVERLEY, 11-Rosie WHITE, 12-Claudia CRASBORN, 13-Nadia PEARL (captain), 16-Jessica REDDAWAY (gk), 17-Sivitha BOYCE, 19-Martine PUKETAPU, 23-Chelsey WOOD (one to be omitted)
Contact: Paul TEMPLE (coach)
Auckland Football Development
The players: The experience of 49 cap New Zealander defender Abby ERCEG will be vital to a young side.
Squad List: 1-Aaron CLANSEY (gk), 2-Michelle WINDSOR, 3-Libby WILLIAMS, 4-Jessie MATHEWS, 5-Abby ERCEG, 6-Tessa BERGER (captain), 7-Anna FRASER, 8-Tina KOLOSE, 9-Stephanie EATON, 10-Jessica SNELL, 11-Kristen MOLLOY, 12-Hannah KRAAKMAN, 13-Melissa TEBAY, 14-Tayla HETHERINGTON, 15-Min KHANTHEE, 16-Joanna KENNEDY (gk).
Contact: Andrew CLAY (coach)
Northern Football v Waikato-BOP Football
Fred Taylor Park
Saturday January 22, 2011
Referee: Anna-Marie KEIGHLEY
The players: Former Football Fern Cilla DUNCAN captains a side that contains no fewer than six players capped at senior international level.
Squad list: 1-Pam YATES (GK), 2-Tiffany PATERSON, 3-Mel RAY, 4-Katie BOWEN, 5-Caitlin SMALLFIELD, 7-Caitlin CAMPBELL, 12-Hannah HOEKSEMA, 13-Erin NAYLOR (GK), 14-Katie MCDONALD, 15-Priscilla DUNCAN (captain), 16-Megan LEE, 17-Katie ROOD, 19-Kate SEATTER, 20-Rebecca O’NEILL, 21-Bridgette ARMSTRONG, 22-Hannah WILKINSON, 24-Elizabeth MILNE (one to be omitted).
Contact: Nathan JANES (coach)
The players: Former New Zealand U-20 striker Helen COLLINS returns from university in the United States to add bite to an attack already featuring Football Fern Sarah McLAUGHLIN and U-17 starlet Olivia CHANCE.
Squad List: 1-Naomi CARTER (gk), 2-Alex SHADBOLT, 5-Kate CARLTON, 6-Helen COLLINS, 7-Holly PATTERSON, 8-Sarah MCLAUGHLIN, 9-Alice BENNETT, 10-Rachel PORTEOUS, 11-Katherine ROBINSON, 12-Nicole STRATFORD, 13-Kate LOYE, 15-Anna FULLERTON, 16-Olivia CHANCE, 17-Sara MERRITT, 18-Holly NIXON, 22-Amanda WILSHIER (gk).
Contact: Dave EDMONDSON (Head Coach)
Mainland Pride v Central Football
Sunday January 23, 2011
Referee: Sarah WALKER
Squad list: 1-Victoria ESSON (gk), 2-Emily JENSEN, 3-Isla SMITH, 5-Maia VINK, 6-Chelsea BIGNAL, 7-Laura MERRIN, 8-Rachel BRODIE, 10-Hannah WONG, 11-Haley MCKNIGHT, 12-Belinda VAN NOORDEN, 13-Gabrielle BRODIE, 14-Mikayla WEBLETS, 15-Alana AINSWORTH, 16-Ashleigh WARD, 19-Meikayla MOORE, 21-Lilly ALLFIELD (gk).
Contact: Mike DE BONO (coach)
The players: Football Fern Anna Green, now based in Auckland, returns to her home province to lead their Women’s Youth League campaign.
Squad list: 1-Chloe-May GUERTS (GK), 2-Torepe TAUMAUNU, 3-Jess OUGHLAHAN, 4-Anna GREEN, 5-Caitlyn BLOXHAM, 6-Charlotte HARRIS, 7-Jane BARNETT, 8-Tiffany KAWANA-WAUGH, 9-Rhonda BRIDGES, 10-Rosie MISSEN, 11-Nicole BAIRD, 12-Nikki WENZLICK, 14-Kowhai HUDSON, 15-Letitia HANSEN, 18-Rachel INGRAM (GK), 19-Catherine PRETTY.
Contact: Brett ANGEL (coach)