NWL Round Six Preview

Canterbury's Tahlia Herman-Watt tries to keep possession under a challenge from Capital's Katie Barrott. Photo: Raghavan Venugopal / www.photosport.nz

Find out what’s in store in the National Women’s League this weekend with the official preview of Round Six.

The action kicks off on Saturday as the play-off chasing pair of Canterbury United Pride and Auckland do battle in Christchurch before Sunday brings another significant clash in the fight for the finals as Northern play host to Capital. In the other match, WaiBOP and Central are playing for pride as they look to avoid the wooden spoon while leaders Southern will sit out the round with the bye.

Canterbury United Pride vs Auckland
English Park, Christchurch
Saturday 18 November, 1pm

Referee: N Browning
Assistant Referees: C Bremner, C Bolster
Fourth Official: M Killick


Auckland: 1. Nadia Olla, 2. Georgia Brown, 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, 16. Margot Ramsay, 18. Maxine Rawnsley, 19. Ally Toailoa, 20. Erinna Wong, 21. Megan Robertson, 22. Amy Waters, 24. Kathryn Gow
Coach: Gemma Lewis

Canterbury United Pride: 1. Victoria Esson, 2. Emma Clarke, 3. Rebecca Lake, 6. Chloe Jones, 8. Tahlia Herman-Watt, 9. Melanie Cameron, 10. Annalie Longo, 11. Britneylee Nicholson, 12. Gabrielle Rennie, 13. Whitney Hepburn, 14. Mikayla Weiblitz, 15. Annabel Gilchrist, 17. Cody Taylor, 18. Rebecca Gillett, 20. Macey Fraser, 21. Briar Guyan
Coach: Mike De Bono


After coming back from the bye with a draw and a loss, Canterbury were in great need of all three points last week to keep up their hopes of defending their title. With the pressure on, the Pride delivered with a 3-1 win over Capital in a repeat of last year’s final and will need to produce a similar performance against Auckland or risk dropping off the top-three pace. They will have to do so without a pair of their most important players though as Meikayla Moore and Aimee Phillips will not feature this weekend due to their Football Ferns commitments. But Auckland have the same challenge with skipper Stephanie Skilton, Grace Jale and Hannah Blake all included on the Ferns’ tour to Thailand so whichever side has the greater squad depth is therefore likely to be the one putting its hand up for the playoffs. With leaders Southern having the bye, a home win would put Auckland on top of the table.


Mike De Bono (Canterbury coach): “It’s a big game because we’re coming to the end of the round robin and probably nothing but three points will get us on the way to a semi-final place. The competition has been really tight this year and the top five places are currently spread over four points so this whole weekend is huge in terms of the top three. We’ll be focused on what we have to do on the day and again it will be one of those physical battles that we need to turn up for.”

Gemma Lewis (Auckland coach): “This will definitely be one of our toughest games and we know it’s not going to be easy. There are no easy games in the league this year so we have continued our preparation as planned and have adjusted for the players that we’ll be missing. The team has a goal of reaching the semi-finals and everyone knows this is still achievable. But we are focusing more on continuing to progress and becoming more consistent and effective in the way we want to play. If we continue to do this we feel as though we will be able to get the results as an outcome.”


Canterbury coach Mike De Bono

Canterbury defender Rebecca Lake

WaiBOP vs Central
John Kerkhof Park, Cambridge
Sunday 19 November, 1pm

Referee: D Stevens
Assistant Referees: R Maris, K Browning
Fourth Official: N Browning


WaiBOP: 21. Amanda Wilshier, 3. Kate Williams, 4. Hannah Reid, 6. Leanna Ryan, 8. Sarah Krystman, 10. Ella Golding, 11. Katherine Robinson, 13. Tianna Hill, 14. Georgia Nixon, 15. Grace Cox, 16. Kelli Brown, 17. Kim Maguire, 19. Grace Wisnewksi, 23. Angelique Tuisamoa, 24. Eileish Hayes
Coach: Barry Gardiner

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, 9. Aleesha Heywood, 10. Aniela Jensen, 11. Tilly James, 13. Chantelle Lebon, 15. Hannah Robert, 16. Mackenzie Barry, 17. Sophie Crewe, 20. Aoife Gallagher-Forbes
Coach: Simon Lees


These are the only teams in the competition not to see their squads affected by Football Ferns call-ups and they will look to take advantage of that as they fight to avoid the wooden spoon. This is WaiBOP’s sole chance to do so though as they have a bye in the final round a week from now. They are still the only side in the league yet to pick up a win and will be desperate not to end the season without one, especially after making the playoffs last term. Finishing last would be a major step backwards from those impressive exploits of 2016 but Central will be just as keen to haul themselves away from the bottom, making this a massive match for both teams. Each has struggled to score enough goals to regularly pocket three points and also have the worst defensive records but WaiBOP’s is particularly poor, having conceded 18 times in just five matches. Coach Barry Gardiner will therefore need to see a far tighter defensive effort if his charges are to finish on a high.


Barry Gardiner (WaiBOP coach): “We can point to a variety of things that would explain our results but the bottom line is we haven’t scored enough goals and we’ve let too many in. We’ve been good at times, and I’ve been happy with some of the stuff we’ve produced, but we haven’t been consistent enough for long enough in all the games we’ve played. Our plan is to go out on Sunday and try to put in a performance that will hopefully lead to a result. We owe it to ourselves as well as the fantastic fan base out at Cambridge to try for that.”

Northern vs Capital
QBE Stadium, Domain 3, Auckland
Sunday 19 November, 1pm

 Referee: W McNeely
Assistant Referees: B Baker, B Matthews
Fourth Official: B Rattray


Northern: 24. Emily Couchman, 2. Claudia Bunge, 3. Bernadette Goulding, 6. Hannah Mackay-Wright, 7. Jessica Oulaghan, 8. Dayna Stevens, 10. Kate Loye, 13. Arabella Maynard, 14. Cara Lonergan, 16. Aneka Mittendorff, 17. Milly McWhirter, 19. Samantha Tawharu, 21. Anya Gross, 22. Jane Barnett, 23. Saskia Vosper, 28. Casey Klyn
Coach: Hayley Stirling

Capital: 1. Cushla Lichtwark, 2. Libby Boobyer, 4. Bex Jefferies, 5. Francesca Grange, 6. Maya Hahn, 7. Klara Gronevik, 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, 18. Bex Williams
Coach: Emma Evans


With Southern and Auckland leading the pack while Canterbury are also still very much in the hunt, the push for the playoffs has turned into a five-horse race and defeat for Northern or Capital this weekend would be a hammer blow to their chances. Northern have now not tasted victory since the second round – their bye was sandwiched between a draw and a defeat – and they can’t afford for that winless run to extend any longer. Just a point behind, Capital are in a similar position so a draw would not be much good for either side. We are therefore likely to see an attacking approach from both teams which could suit Northern as they have a far superior offensive record than Capital, finding the net nearly twice as many times. The hosts will be missing goalkeeper Anna Leat due to international duty though while Capital will be without Maggie Jenkins for the same reason.


Hayley Stirling (Northern coach): “It’s going to be a tough game – everything now is do or die. It’s quite exciting but then you’ve got that nervousness of knowing you can’t make any mistakes. So we’ve got to be really on top of our game to be able to perform and get the result. After a setback, it will be great to see the character of the side and how they respond to that. I’m confident they will respond to it – they have ambitions to get to the business end of the competition so they need to show that through their actions.”

Emma Evans (Capital coach): “The main thing we’ve been speaking about this week is that these big games really do come down to who actually wants it more – who shows more heart, desire and actually wants to come away with the result. I think Canterbury had that from the start and it probably took us half a game before we actually switched on and realised the importance of the game. So against Northern we need to be switched on from the start and deliver a 90-minute performance.”


Northern coach Hayley Stirling

Capital coach Emma Evans

BYE – Southern

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