Two-match series to decide which club takes last Lotto NRFL spot

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Two former Northern League clubs will go head-to-head in March to decide which of them will fill the last vacant spot in this year’s Lotto NRFL Division Two.

Papakura City will meet WaiBOP Premiership title winners Ngaruawahia United in a two-match series of play-offs to determine the 10th side in the second division.

Game one (Saturday March 12, 3pm)

Ngaruawahia United v Papakura City

Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia

Game two (Saturday March 19, 3pm)

Papakura City v Ngaruawahia United

McLennan Park, Papakura

The winner over two legs will join Beachlands Maraetai, Bucklands Beach, Claudelands Rovers, Cambridge, Franklin United, Hibiscus Coast, Northland, Oratia United and West Auckland in the second division.

Papakura qualify for the play-off series by finishing second in last season’s NRF Championship.

Ngaruawahia got there by beating Waikato Unicol in their last match of 2021 to take the WaiBOP Premiership title.

Main photo: The WaiBOP Premiership winners (courtesy Ngaruawahia United FC).

The Waikato club go into 2022 with a new Director of Football in David Edmondson, a vastly experienced coach who returned to Centennial Park in January.

Both clubs have performed in the Lotto NRFL before, both playing as high as Division 1 in the past decade.

Papakura City were relegated in 2018.

Ngaruawahia withdrew from the competition in 2016 after deciding they could not financially sustain their participation.

Edmondson … reunited with his former club.