NWL Round Seven Preview

Photo: David Joseph / www.photosport.nz

Find out what’s in store in the National Women’s League this weekend with the official preview of the final round. All matches take place at the same time on Sunday afternoon as defending champions Canterbury United Pride, 2015 winners Northern and Auckland all try to join Southern United in the playoffs while Southern will be looking to secure direct entry to the grand final. WaiBOP’s season is now over as they will sit out the round with the bye.

Central vs Canterbury United Pride
Memorial Park, Palmerston North
Sunday 26 November, 1pm

Referee: M Archer
Assistant Referees: H Johnson, J Frank
Fourth Official: D Barry


Central: 1. Courtney Norman, 2. Sarah Morton, 3. Molly Woodhead, 4. Leah Gallie, 5. Emma Crewe, 6. Amber Phillips, 7. Rose Morton, 8. Meisha Boone, 10. Aniela Jensen, 12. Kate Watson, 13. Chantelle Lebon, 15. Hannah Robert, 16. Mackenzie Barry, 17. Sophie Crewe, 19. Aleesha Heywood, 20. Aoife Gallagher-Forbes
Coach: Simon Lees

Canterbury United Pride: 21. Briar Guyan, 2. Emma Clarke, 3. Rebecca Lake, 6. Chloe Jones, 8. Tahlia Herman-Watt, 9. Melanie Cameron, 11. Britneylee Nicholson, 12. Gabrielle Rennie, 13. Whitney Hepburn, 15. Annabel Gilchrist, 16. Jayda Stewart, 17. Cody Taylor, 18. Rebecca Gillett, 19. Beth Elliott, 20. Macey Fraser, 22. Una Foyle
Coach: Mike De Bono


While a draw could be enough to send Canterbury through, they will not want to rely on results elsewhere going their way, especially as they are facing a Central side that has won only once this season and is propping up the table. They will therefore have their sights set on three points and making sure of the chance to defend their title but will have to do so without nearly half of their regular line-up. Captain Annalie Longo and fellow key players Meikayla Moore, Aimee Phillips and Victoria Esson are all in Thailand with the Football Ferns, leaving the Pride without a huge amount of experience and guile. As the only team in action this weekend with no Ferns call-ups, Central have no such concerns and will be looking to exploit Canterbury’s reduced ranks as they aim to avoid the wooden spoon.


Shane Verma (Canterbury assistant coach): “There’s four teams still in contention and the results this weekend are really important. But we just have to go out there and make sure our destiny is in our own hands. We need to be more clinical at the top end, last weekend against Auckland we probably could have put it away in the second half but instead we left it quite tight. We know Central will be strong defensively so we have to make our chances count.”

Auckland vs Northern
Keith Hay Park, Auckland
Sunday 26 November, 1pm

Referee: A-M Keighley
Assistant Referees: H Simons, D Neville
Fourth Official: N Browning


Auckland: 1. Nadia Olla, 2. Georgia Brown, 4. Georgia Martin, 5. Kate Carlton, 6. Nicole Mettam, 7. Tayla O’Brien, 11. Jacqui Hand, 12. Maisy Dewell, 13. Margot Ramsay, 14. Britney Cunningham Lee, 15. Lily Taitimu, 19. Ally Toailoa, 20. Erinna Wong, 21. Megan Robertson, 22. Amy Waters, 24. Kathryn Gow
Coach: Gemma Lewis

Northern: 24. Emily Couchman, 2. Claudia Bunge, 3. Bernadette Goulding, 6. Hannah Mackay-Wright, 7. Jessica Oulaghan, 8. Dayna Stevens, 10. Kate Loye, 12. Liz Savage, 13. Arabella Maynard, 14. Cara Lonergan, 16. Aneka Mittendorff, 17. Milly McWhirter, 19. Samantha Tawharu, 20. Catherine Pretty, 22. Jane Barnett, 28. Casey Klyn
Coach: Hayley Stirling


The ‘Battle of the Bridge’ is always a massive game with local bragging rights on the line but the latest instalment of this long-standing rivalry has even more riding on it than normal. At stake for both sides is a place in the playoffs and, with Southern already having booked their berth and Canterbury favourites to beat Central, there could only be one place up for grabs. Neither side will be at full strength due to Football Ferns selections but Auckland have been particularly hard hit as Stephanie Skilton, Grace Jale, Hannah Blake and Liz Anton will all be missing while Northern will only be without Anna Leat and Malia Steinmetz. The visitors are taking the better form into this crucial clash as they swept aside Capital 5-1 last weekend while Auckland fell 1-0 to Canterbury.


Gemma Lewis (Auckland coach): “Whenever it’s Northern against Auckland it makes for a good game because both sides of the bridge get up for it. The girls are excited for it and obviously there’s pressure but that makes things simple. We know there’s a job to do – if we win then we’re pretty much into the semi-finals but if we lose we’re out. We’re going to try to produce a complete performance that shows we deserve to be in the semi-final.”

Capital vs Southern United
Memorial Park, Petone
Sunday 26 November, 1pm

Referee: R Fleetham
Assistant Referees: B Buchanan, L McGee
Fourth Official: D MacDonald


Capital: 1. Cushla Lichtwark, 2. Libby Boobyer, 3. Serena Murrihy, 4. Bex Jefferies, 5. Francesca Grange, 6. Maya Hahn, 7. Emma Lavery, 8. Ellen Fibbes, 9. Emma Main, 10. Sarah Gregorius, 11. Michaela Robertson, 12. Jade Morrissey, 14. Asha Strom, 16. Kennedy Bryant, 17. Ella Wilson, 18. Bex Williams
Coach: Emma Evans

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, 24. Samantha Richards, 26. Laura Wallis
Coach: Terry Parle


Southern are already through to the playoffs while Capital’s hopes of joining them died last weekend with a heavy defeat up at Northern. But the result is still of real significance here as Southern are looking to go straight through to the final and receive the hosting rights which come with that while a loss for Capital would leave them with only two wins from the campaign, which would be a very disappointing return after last year’s runners-up placing. Both sides will be without their captain as Southern’s Elise Mamanu-Gray is in Bangkok with the Football Ferns while Capital’s Katie Barrott suffered a medical issue in the previous round and has not been included in the squad. Also a blow to Capital’s chances is the loss of Maggie Jenkins, who has joined Mamanu-Gray with the Ferns.


Emma Evans (Capital coach): “We’ve reminded the girls it is important to finish the season on a high. Although we’re not in the playoffs like we would have hoped to have been, there’s still an important game ahead of us and they’ve got a couple of former Capital players in their team so I think it’s going to be a big game for both. Everyone is really looking forward to it and hopefully we’ll go out on a bang.”

Terry Parle (Southern coach): “The girls are fully aware of what they need to do but our preparation has been no different from any other week. I’ll still keep running out that cliché that it’s another cup final because we’re determined to make sure we actually create a bit of history. I expect Emma to have a team set up to turn us over, they’re at home and I expect them to be determined not to give us anything. They’re not going to roll over for anyone so we’re looking forward to a good game.”

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