Check out what’s coming up in the Stirling Sports Premiership this Waitangi weekend with the official preview of Round 14. The match televised live on SKY Sport is Hawke’s Bay United’s hosting of Auckland City on Sunday.
Referee: C Mills
Assistant Referees: S Merriman, L Agnew
Fourth Official: C-K Waugh
Eastern Suburbs: 12. Silvio Rodic (GK), 2. Hayden Johns, 4. Ross Haviland, 7. Tim Payne, 8. Moses Dyer, 9. Sean Lovemore, 11. Armin Pasagic, 13. Jordan Vale, 14. Andrew Blake, 15. Henry Chikere, 18. Tristan Prattley, 20. Derek Tieku, 22. Ross Langworthy, 24. Calvin Opperman, 25. Michael O’Keeffe (GK), 36. Fabien Kurimata
Coach: Malcolm McPherson
Team Wellington: 1. Scott Basalaj (GK), 2. Justin Gulley, 5. Bill Robertson, 6. Taylor Schrijvers, 7. Leonardo Villa, 9. Tom Jackson, 10. Nathanael Hailemariam, 11. Mario Barcia, 12. Andy Bevin, 14. Billy Scott, 15. Joel Stevens, 16. Ben Harris, 18. Nicolas Zambrano, 19. Josh Margetts, 21. Nico Kirwan, 22. James McPeake (GK)
Coach: Jose Figueira
This match is undoubtedly the highlight of the round and the result is likely to have a significant impact on the eventual ordering of the top four. Wellington took advantage of the absence of Auckland City from the previous round to return to the top of the table but are only enjoying that honour on goal difference over Waitakere. They will also be fully aware that the threatening figure of Auckland looms just three points back with two games in hand while Suburbs are also only three off the pace, albeit having played the same number of games as Wellington. That makes this clash a genuine six-pointer and one Suburbs in particular can’t afford to lose if they still harbour hopes of the minor premiership. Their chances will be boosted slightly by the absence of the visitors’ classy Argentine defender Guillermo Morretti due to suspension.
Eastern Suburbs assistant coach Martin Bullock
Referee: N Waldron
Assistant Referees: C Watkins, T Chang
Fourth Official: A-M Keighley
Hamilton Wanderers: 1. Max Tommy (GK), 4. Adam Luque, 7. Jerahl Hughes, 8. Cory Mitchell, 9. Ignacio Machuca, 12. Jamie Woodlock, 13. Dylan Windust, 14. Jacob Mechell, 16. Sam O’Regan, 17. Paul Clout, 18. Alexis Varela, 19. Jack Salter, 21. Matt Oliver (GK), 22. Raymond Gunemba, 23. Godwin Darkwa
Coach: Mark Cossey
Canterbury United: 1. Tom Batty (GK), 4. Felix Komolong, 5. Tom Schwarz, 7. Matthew Wiesenfarth, 8. Aaron Clapham, 9. Sean Morris, 10. Aaron Spain, 11. Juan Chang Urrea, 14. Andre de Jong, 15. Andreas Wilson, 16. Jack Anderson, 17. Stephen Hoyle, 19. Colin van Gool, 22. Danny Knight (GK), 23. Sebastian Schacht
Coach: Willy Gerdsen
The play-off chances of Wanderers appear to have fizzled out but Canterbury are still very much in the mix and anything less than three points here would be a huge disappointment. The sides are coming off contrasting results with Hamilton having shipped four goals against Wellington while Canterbury stuck the same number past the Phoenix. Wanderers will have done plenty of soul searching after that loss as they were on track for their first win of the new year at 2-1 up with just a quarter of an hour remaining. But they then hit the self-destruct button, Jordan Shaw seeing red for a rash challenge and leaving his team mates to hang on against the defending champions with 10 men – a task that proved beyond them. Shaw is now suspended for this round while Canterbury are also still without Gary Ogilvie, serving the second part of his two-match ban.
Canterbury United assistant coach Joe Hall
Referee: A Riley
Assistant Referees: H Tutbury, C Trent
Fourth Official: A Wilson
Waitakere United: 1. Pirmin Strasser (GK), 2. Scott Hilliar, 4. Ethan Galbraith, 5. Julyan Collett, 6. Chris Bale, 7. Stefen Thelen, 8. Rory Turner, 9. Dylan Stansfield, 10. Eder Franchini Pasten, 13. Ryan Cain, 15. Pascal Reinhardt, 16. Dylan Manickum, 17. Jake Butler, 20. Keegan Linderboom, 23. Jake Porter, 28. Liam Anderson (GK)
Coach: Chris Milicich
Tasman United: 1. Coey Turipa (GK), 3. Luca Perico, 4. Cameron Lindsay, 7. Ryan Stewart, 8. Paul Ifill, 9. Ermal Hajdari, 10. Dylan Burns, 11. Alex Ridsdale, 12. Robbie Pearson, 13. Scott Gannon, 14. Sam Ayers, 16. Daniel Allan, 19. Tinashe Marowa, 20. Marcel Kampman (GK), 21. Matt Tod-Smith, 23. Nicolas Abot
Coach: Davor Tavich
Tasman have endured far-from-ideal preparation for this fixture with the future of coach Richard Anderson thrown into doubt. He has been temporarily relieved of his duties, leaving youth team boss Davor Tavich to take charge in his absence. After such a disrupted build-up, they might have wished for an opponent of lesser quality than Waitakere, who are being kept off the top of the table only on goal difference. Tasman do not have fond memories of the west Aucklanders, who claimed a 3-1 victory in the teams’ earlier meeting. Tasman’s hopes of marking their debut Stirling Sports Premiership season with a play-off appearance died some time ago, leaving the main goal now to avoid the wooden spoon and sneak above the resurgent Southern and Hamilton. After being held to a 1-1 draw by Eastern Suburbs last time out, Waitakere won’t want to drop points at home for the second week running and, with the rest of the top four all having tough games, this is a golden opportunity to put themselves in pole position.
Waitakere United coach Chris Milicich
Referee: M Conger
Assistant Referees: G Sheehan, A Davenport
Fourth Official: M Stoneman
Hawke’s Bay United: 1. Joshua Hill (GK), 2. Sean Liddicoat, 6. Alex Palezevic, 8. Finlay Milne, 9. Facundo Barbero, 10. Sam Mason-Smith, 11. Saul Halpin, 12. Ross Willox, 13. Ethan Dent, 14. Martin Canales Ramos, 15. James Hoyle, 16. Angus Kilkolly, 17. Fergus Neil, 19. Jorge Akers, 22. Daniel Mulholland, 26. Ruben Parker (GK)
Coach: Brett Angell
Auckland City: 1. Enaut Zubikarai (GK), 2. Marko Dordevic, 4. Mario Bilen, 7. Reid Drake, 8. Albert Riera, 9. Darren White, 10. Ryan De Vries, 14. Clayton Lewis, 15. Mario Ilich, 16. Daewook Kim, 18. Danyon Drake (GK), 19. Micah Lea’alafa, 20. Emiliano Tade, 21. Harry Edge, 22. Abdulla Alkalisy, 25. Sean Cooper
Coach: Ramon Tribulietx
Auckland City are on a massive high after their unprecedented trophy-winning success at the Lunar New Year Cup in Hong Kong and the main challenge will be getting their feet back on the ground upon their return to regular business. They cannot really afford to have any sort of hangover from their jet-setting exploits as Wellington and Waitakere have both edged in front of them at the top of the table and, with a run of seven games in just 28 days coming up, a loss of form at this stage would have real consequences. In a sign of the close-knit nature of this season’s play-off race, Hawke’s Bay are just one point behind Auckland in sixth spot – meaning this game is hugely important to their post-season prospects. They may be playing City at a good time as, in addition to their travel-laden legs, captain Angel Berlanga is out with a broken nose, leaving Mario Bilen to take the armband.
Mario Bilen (Auckland City): “It will be hard to put aside the win in the New Year Cup but we have to – we don’t have a choice. We must win this game but every game against Hawke’s Bay is tough, whether you play at home or away. So we expect a hard game and I hope we recover well in the next couple of days.”
Hawke’s Bay United assistant coach Jamie Dunning
Referee: J Rowbury
Assistant Referees: M Whitehead, E Cook
Fourth Official: P Linney
Wellington Phoenix U-20: 20. Lewis Italiano (GK), 5. Ryan Lowry, 6. Dylan Fox, 15. James McGarry, 23. Matt Ridenton, 24. Logan Rogerson, 25. Sarpreet Singh, 26. Jack Henry-Sinclair, 29. Liam Wood, 30. Oliver Sail (GK), 31. Sam Philip, 34. Benjamin Mata, 35. Samuel Gillespie, 36. Sam Sutton, 38. Ruairi Cahill-Fleury, 42. Luke Tongue
Coach: Andy Hedge
Southern United: 1. Liam Little (GK), 2. Conor O’Keeffe, 5. Stephen Last, 6. Danny Ledwith, 7. Eric Molloy, 8. Michael Hogan, 9. Harley Rodeka, 10. Danny Furlong, 11. Andrew Mulligan, 12. Sam Cosgrave, 13. Hamish Cotter, 14. Ross Howard, 15. Andrew Ridden, 21. Riley Anderton, 25. Ben O’Farrell
Coach: Paul O’Reilly
Southern were not in action last weekend due to Auckland City’s involvement in the Lunar New Year Cup in Hong Kong and the break was untimely in some ways as it appeared as if Southern were finally finding some form. Paul O’Reilly’s side had strung a rare three-game winning streak together, although that run did come to an end in the previous round with a 3-1 loss to Waitakere. To stay match sharp, Southern staged an internal game featuring many members of the club’s youth set up and some appear to have caught the eye, with Hamish Cotter and Riley Anderton both stepping up to the first team squad for this weekend. With the top six looking like the only teams capable of making the play-offs and the seventh-placed Phoenix not able to progress, Southern are in a battle with the ‘WeeNix’, Hamilton and Tasman to finish top of their ‘league-within-a-league’ and this game will be crucial in that. The Phoenix have a significantly superior head-to-head record after winning four of the last five matches between the pair.
Wellington Phoenix U-20 coach Andy Hedge
Southern United defender Stephen Last