#SSPremiership: Round Eight Preview

Ermal Hajdari is looking to fire Tasman United to just their second win of the campaign. Photo: Heinrich Kalmeier / www.photosport.nz

Find out what’s in store in Round Eight of the Stirling Sports Premiership this weekend with the official preview. Televised live on SKY Sport is the Wellington Phoenix U-20s taking on Hamilton Wanderers at FMG Stadium Waikato on Saturday.


Referee: C Kerr
Assistant Referees: J Cowie, A Verolino
Fourth Official: C Berg


Southern United: 1. Liam Little, 2. Conor O’Keeffe, 5. Stephen Last, 6. Danny Ledwith, 7. Eric Molloy, 8. Michael Hogan, 9. Harley Rodeka, 11. Andy Mulligan, 12. Sam Cosgrave, 14. Ross Howard, 15. Andrew Ridden, 16. Tom Stevens, 17. Sam Collier, 18. Campbell Higgins, 23. Cameron McPhail, 25. Danny Furlong
Coach: Paul O’Reilly

Hawke’s Bay United: 1. Joshua Hill (GK), 2. Sean Liddicoat, 3. Kohei Matsumoto, 6. Alex Palezevic, 7. Cory Chettleburgh, 8. Finlay Milne, 9. Facundo Barbero, 10. Sam Mason-Smith, 11. Saul Halpin, 12. Ross Willox, 14. Martin Canales Ramos, 15. Ben Everson, 16. Angus Kilkolly, 17. Fergus Neil, 19. Nile Walwyn, 26. Ruben Parker (GK)
Coach: Brett Angell


Many opposition coaches have remarked that Southern are a far more competitive proposition than last season’s incarnation but that will come as little comfort to coach Paul O’Reilly, who is still searching for his first three-pointer of the campaign. He will be boosted in that aim by the return from injury of Harley Rodeka, although the skipper is not yet ready to start and will be restricted to a cameo off the bench. Hawke’s Bay have won the previous nine meetings between the sides with Southern’s last points a 2-0 victory back in 2011. Whatever the outcome, history will be made as Peter Johnstone Park in Mosgiel is hosting a men’s national league match for the first ever time.


Paul O’Reilly (Southern United): “Hawke’s Bay were in the top four last year and have had a mixed spell so far but are still doing quite well. A lot of people have said we should target this one for points but I certainly don’t think it’s going to be an easy game.”

Brett Angell (Hawke’s Bay United): “Southern are a very hard-working side and their performances perhaps haven’t been matched by their output in points. If we don’t approach the game correctly then we’re in danger of having egg on our face.”


Southern United coach Paul O’Reilly

Hawke’s Bay United coach Brett Angell


Referee: A-M Keighley
Assistant Referees: G Lochrie, S Merriman
Fourth Official: M Batoor


Wellington Phoenix U-20: 20. Lewis Italiano (GK), 6. Dylan Fox, 14. Alex Rufer, 15. James McGarry, 18. Ben Litfin, 24. Logan Rogerson, 25. Sarpreet Singh, 26. Jack Henry-Sinclair, 27. Joe Bell, 28. Max Mata, 29. Liam Wood, 30. Oliver Sail (GK), 34. Benjamin Mata, 38. Ruairi Cahill-Fleury, 40. Luke Johnson, 42. Luke Tongue
Coach: Andy Hedge

Hamilton Wanderers: 1. Max Tommy (GK), 2. Sam Redwood, 3. Tom Davis, 4. Aaron Scott, 5. Regont Murati, 7. Mark Jones, 8. Cory Mitchell, 12. Roussin Nkoy, 13. Dylan Windust, 14. Marc Evans, 15. Bailey Webster, 18. Alexis Varela, 19. Jack Salter, 21. Matt Oliver (GK), 22. Raymond Gunemba, 23. Godwin Darkwa
Coach: Mark Cossey


The Phoenix have hardly had ideal preparation for this encounter after the shock resignation of first-team coach Ernie Merrick but the youngsters must put all that off-field drama to one side if they are to hit back from last week’s disappointing showing. Coach Andy Hedge felt his players were well off the pace in their 2-0 loss to Hawke’s Bay and is expecting much better against a Wanderers outfit who enjoyed a break in the previous round. Mark Cossey’s side have now slipped to eighth on the table, albeit having played at least one game less than all other teams, and need a couple of good results prior to Christmas to avoid being cut too far adrift of the top four.


Andy Hedge (Wellington Phoenix U-20): “It’s been a bit different to a normal week obviously. The staff are a bit shell-shocked so it’s been quiet in the office but we still need to prepare right for the weekend. We really didn’t show up last week and Hawke’s Bay dominated everything from start to finish so we’ve spent a lot of time this week on the basics. Hamilton have good, experienced coaches so they’ll be well-drilled and will work hard for each other. We have to give as good as we get and be better with the ball.”


Wellington Phoenix U-20 coach Andy Hedge


Referee: J Rowbury
Assistant Referees: C Gruschow, M Love
Fourth Official: H McCabe


Canterbury United: 1. Tom Batty (GK), 3. Jackson Brady, 4. Felix Komolong, 5. Tom Schwarz, 6. Gary Ogilvie, 7. Matthew Wiesenfarth, 8. Aaron Clapham, 10. Aaron Spain, 11. Juan Chang Urrea, 14. Andre de Jong, 15. Andreas Wilson, 16. Sebastian Schacht, 17. Stephen Hoyle, 18. Daniel Thoms, 19. Colin van Gool, 22. Danny Knight (GK)
Coach: Willy Gerdsen

Eastern Suburbs: 12. Silvio Rodic (GK), 3. Finn Cochran, 5. Luke Adams, 7. Tim Payne, 8. Moses Dyer, 9. Sean Lovemore, 10. Sam Burfoot, 11. Armin Pasagic, 13. Jordan Vale, 14. Andrew Blake, 15. Henry Chikere, 16. Anthony Hobbs, 18. Tristan Prattley, 24. Calvin Opperman, 25. Michael O’Keeffe (GK), 36. Fabien Kurimata
Coach: Malcolm McPherson


After going through the first five rounds unbeaten, Canterbury have now lost two on the trot and will be keen to arrest that mini slump before it turns into something more serious. Having the table toppers in town hardly seems like the ideal way to go about that though, especially as Suburbs have been beaten only once all season and have the highest win ratio in the league. But this will be their debut trip across the Cook Strait and Canterbury will be determined to make their first taste of the mainland an unpleasant one. If they are to extend their good run, Suburbs will need to keep a tight rein on Dragons talisman Aaron Clapham, who has provided nearly half of his side’s 11 goals.


Willy Gerdsen (Canterbury United): “We’re not getting the rub of the green at the moment but I’m happy with the character and the work rate. I expect us to bounce back at home, put in a performance and get a result. Eastern Suburbs are at the top of the table and have assembled a very good squad, there’s no doubt about that.”

Malcolm McPherson (Eastern Suburbs): “I’ve known Willy for a long time and his sides have always been really well organised and determined. You don’t become an average team overnight so we know they’ll be a really tough ask, especially on their home ground. I imagine they’ll start pretty aggressively so we’ll have to be on our game.”


Canterbury United coach Willy Gerdsen

Eastern Suburbs coach Malcolm McPherson


Referee: M Conger
Assistant Referees: I Trevis, R Preston
Fourth Official: B O’Connell


Tasman United: 1. Coey Turipa (GK), 2. Nick Smith, 3. Jordan Swaney, 4. Cameron Lindsay, 5. Tyrrell Barringer-Tahiri, 7. Ryan Stewart, 8. Paul Ifill, 9. Ermal Hajdari, 10. Dylan Burns, 11. Alex Ridsdale, 12. Robbie Pearson, 13. Scott Gannon, 15. James Hoyt, 16. Daniel Allan, 19. Tinashe Marowa, 20. Thomas Fawdry (GK), 23. Nicolas Abot
Coach: Richard Anderson

Team Wellington: 1. Scott Basalaj (GK), 2. Justin Gulley, 3. Omrie Saolele, 4. Guillermo Moretti, 5. Bill Robertson, 6. Taylor Schrijvers, 7. Leonardo Villa, 9. Tom Jackson, 10. Cameron Howieson, 11. Mario Barcia, 12. Andy Bevin, 15. Joel Stevens, 17. Sam Blackburn, 18. Nicolas Zambrano, 21. Nico Kirwan, 22. James McPeake (GK)
Coach: Jose Figueira


Tasman have not found their opening season in the Stirling Sports Premiership smooth sailing so far and the challenge doesn’t get any easier with the visit of defending champions Wellington, who have now well and truly found their feet under new coach Jose Figueira and are just three points off the top. With Auckland City and Waitakere United both not in action this weekend, it would take just a point for the capital men to edge in front of City and into second while a win could even put them at the summit by the end of the round. In contrast, second-bottom Tasman are looking to pull away from the foot of the table and have just two rounds to lay the foundations for a more fruitful second half of the season.


Richard Anderson (Tasman United): “The football we played against Eastern Suburbs was very encouraging and we’ve done that before to teams such as Hawke’s Bay. We’ve played well against Hamilton, the Phoenix and Canterbury, and, at some point, those performances have to be met with steely determination in the box and a ruthlessness in their box so we can start getting those rewards.”

Jose Figueira (Team Wellington): “Tasman have shown they can’t be underestimated and have a coach who has a real eye for detail. For large parts of last week’s game against Eastern Suburbs, they dominated and will be a bit aggrieved they didn’t come away with anything. Our performance level and work-rate is going to have to be right up there.”


Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira

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