NWL Round Five Preview

The good form of Southern United captain Elise Mamanu-Gray has been rewarded with a call-up to the Football Ferns. Photo: John Davidson / www.photosport.nz

Find out what’s in store in the National Women’s League this weekend with the official preview of Round Five. The action is headlined by a top-of-the-table clash between Southern United and Northern on Sunday after Auckland host WaiBOP and Capital welcome Canterbury United Pride in a repeat of last year’s final on Saturday. Central will sit out the round with the bye.

Auckland vs WaiBOP
Keith Hay Park, Auckland
Saturday 11 November, 1pm

Referee: M Archer
Assistant Referees: T Day, C Dickson-Hards
Fourth Official: A Maharaj


Auckland: 1. Nadia Olla, 2. Georgia Brown, 3. Liz Anton, 5. Kate Carlton, 6. Nicole Mettam, 7. Tayla O’Brien, 8. Grace Jale, 9. Stephanie Skilton, 10. Hannah Blake, 11. Jacqui Hand, 12. Maisy Dewell, 14. Britney Cunningham-Lee, 16. Margot Ramsay, 19. Ally Toailoa, 20. Erinna Wong
Coach: Gemma Lewis

WaiBOP: 1. Georgia Candy, 2. Toni Power, 3. Kate Williams, 4. Hannah Reid, 6. Leanna Ryan, 8. Sarah Krystman, 9. Helen Talbot, 10. Ella Golding, 11. Katherine Robinson, 13. Tianna Hill, 14. Georgia Nixon, 15. Grace Cox, 16. Kelli Brown, 17. Kim Maguire, 23. Angelique Tuisamoa, 24. Eileish Hayes
Coach: Barry Gardiner


An impressive-looking Auckland squad began in disappointing fashion with a shock loss to Southern but the victors’ results since then have shown that was maybe not quite the upset it seemed at the time. The Aucklanders have responded to that opening setback exactly how coach Gemma Lewis would have hoped, winning both of their subsequent matches to sit just one point off the top. With their bye out of the way, they are therefore in a promising position to push for the playoffs but at least four other sides are still very much in the running for those three spots so they can’t afford to take their foot off. In contrast, WaiBOP are the only side yet to win a game and would have been hugely disappointed with their 4-1 loss to Capital last weekend – a result that effectively ended their playoff hopes. They are now just playing for pride and looking to get as close as possible to last year’s placing of third. Several Auckland players were celebrating this week after Grace Jale, Stephanie Skilton and Hannah Blake were all selected in the Football Ferns squad for the upcoming Thailand tour.


Gemma Lewis (Auckland coach): “They’re a strong team and that hasn’t necessarily been reflected in the results they’ve had. They’re not to be underestimated because the players they’ve got are similar to last year and they made the semi-finals and beat us convincingly. So we’re not taking them lightly and we know they’re better than what their results have shown. They’ve been building week-on-week so we know they’re going to be up for the game and will come out firing.”

Barry Gardiner (WaiBOP coach): “Goals change games and we’ve had our opportunities across all the games. I guess that’s the difference between what we’ve done this summer and what we did in 2016. We want to take a few more of our chances so, even if we don’t make the play-offs, we can end the season with the confidence from a couple of good results.”


Auckland coach Gemma Lewis

Capital vs Canterbury United Pride
Memorial Park, Petone
Saturday 11 November, 12pm

Referee: D Stevens
Assistant Referees: K Tan, L McGee
Fourth Official: R Fleetham


Capital: 1. Cushla Lichtwark, 2. Libby Boobyer, 3. Serena Murrihy, 4. Bex Jefferies, 5. Francesca Grange, 6. Maya Hahn, 7. Maggie Jenkins, 8. Katie Barrott, 9. Emma Main, 10. Sarah Gregorius, 11. Michaela Robertson, 12. Jade Morrissey, 13. Rosie Wild, 14. Asha Strom, 16. Kennedy Bryant , 17. Ellen Fibbes
Coach: Emma Evans

Canterbury United Pride: 1. Victoria Esson, 2. Emma Clarke, 3. Rebecca Lake, 5. Meikayla Moore, 6. Chloe Jones, 7. Aimee Phillips, 8. Tahlia Herman-Watt, 9. Melanie Cameron, 17. Annalie Longo, 11. Britneylee Nicholson, 13. Whitney Hepburn, 14. Mikayla Weiblitz, 15. Annabel Gilchrist, 20. Macey Fraser, 21. Briar Guyan, 24. Gabrielle Rennie
Coach: Mike De Bono


Defending champions Canterbury became the latest victims of Southern’s giant-killing exploits last weekend and have now not won since the first round. They find themselves in real danger of missing out on the opportunity to defend their title and this is therefore a must-win game. Capital are only one point behind leaders Northern but, such is the tightness of the league, a win to Canterbury would see them leapfrog the Wellingtonians. Capital had a muted started to their campaign after having the bye first up and then losing to Auckland but are now right on track after consecutive wins and their most recent success, a 4-1 triumph over WaiBOP, will have lifted their confidence levels. A big motivation for Capital will be getting their own back on the side that defeated them in last year’s final. At least one player will go into the match in high spirits after Capital’s Maggie Jenkins received her first call up to the Football Ferns.


Emma Evans (Capital coach): “I think it’s going to be a really close game. We obviously know what the Pride are capable of doing and how threatening they can be. We’ve just got to focus on what we’ve been trying to achieve this campaign, look at our performances over the last few weeks and tidy up a couple of areas. But if we can continue to work on our strengths and shut down the Pride in a couple of their areas of strength then we can away with the result.”

Annalie Longo (Canterbury captain): “Last week was a bit tough, we were obviously frustrated and disappointed in our performance. I think Capital will be physical, they’re always very organised and have a couple of key players who will cause us problems if we’re not careful. But really we’re focusing on ourselves and the way we want to play. We need to bring back that Canterbury spirit which I think we lacked last weekend.”


Capital coach Emma Evans

Canterbury United Pride captain Annalie Longo

Canterbury United Pride coach Mike De Bono

Southern United vs Northern
Tahuna Park, Dunedin
Sunday 12 November, 1pm

Referee: M Dungey
Assistant Referees: D Woulahan, S Lau
Fourth Official: S Morris


Southern (from): 1. Tessa Nicol, 2. Sophie Dijkstra, 3. Coral Seath, 4. Kelsey Kennard, 5. Kristy Hayr, 7. Renee Bacon, 8. Zoe Thomas, 9. Shontelle Smith, 10. Ansley Martin, 11. Mikaela Hunt, 12. Ellie Issac, 14. Lara Wall, 15. Olivia de Ronde, 17. Sophie Aitken, 18. Mikayla Gray, 19. Holly Johnstone, 20. Eva Zellekens, 21. Sam Baldwin, 22. Katie Faulkes, 23. Elise Mamanu-Gray, 24. Samantha Richards, 26. Laura Wallis
Coach: Terry Parle

Northern: 26. Anna Leat, 6. Hannah Mackay-Wright, 7. Jessica Oulaghan, 8. Dayna Stevens, 10. Kate Loye, 13. Arabella Maynard, 14. Cara Lonergan, 16. Aneka Mittendorff, 18. Malia Steinmetz, 19. Samantha Tawharu, 20. Catherine Pretty, 22. Jane Barnett, 23. Saskia Vosper, 24. Emily Couchman, 28. Casey Klyn
Coach: Hayley Stirling


It’s now clear that Southern’s headline-hitting win over Auckland in the opening round was far from a fluke and they have kicked on to share the lead with 2015 champions Northern. For a side that had previously only ever won one match in the competition, the turnaround in fortunes has been remarkable and they must now genuinely be considered a title threat. It is worth bearing in mind they are yet to have the bye though and have played one more match than the rest of the top five. The visit of Northern will be one of their toughest tests yet but they have already come through arguably the most difficult fixture in the league with flying colours, picking up a 2-1 win over Canterbury at the home of the defending champions last week. Northern sat out the action with the bye and will have been pleased to see that result come through as they look to wrestle the title back off the Pride. But it’s now their turn to find out just how far Southern have progressed and they will be desperate to avoid the same fate as Auckland on their trip to Dunedin. A key factor in Southern’s unexpected success has been the form of captain Elise Mamanu-Gray, which has been now been rewarded with a place in the Football Ferns squad. Northern coach Hayley Stirling may feel strange in the away dugout as she was formerly in charge of Southern for three seasons and this is her first trip back.


Terry Parle (Southern coach): “We were happy with last week’s result but it’s in the past now. The challenge for the girls is to back it up this weekend, which we didn’t do after the Auckland result. One result doesn’t make a season for you and we’ve got to go out this weekend and show that we’re capable of being consistent in our performances. If we do that then we’ll get the right result.”

Hayley Stirling (Northern coach): “I don’t think we can underestimate any squad in this league. We’ve got a campaign that’s really exciting and it’s probably what the league needed. On paper, there may have been a few shocks but the reality is that there’s not too many shocks around this league anymore. It’s going to be a tough match and this is a must-win game for us because we had ambitions to go straight through to the final. But Southern are in a really great position themselves where three points is going to put them in the box seat.”


Southern United coach Terry Parle

Northern coach Hayley Stirling

BYE – Central

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