There’s everything from the All Whites’ first World Cup qualifier to bouncy castles at Hibiscus Coast as football fans plan for a weekend of action.
Here’s our round-up of what to watch, what do do, and when, over the weekend of Friday March 18 – Sunday March 20:
Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix
Kick-off: 9.45pm (NZT)
McDonald Jones Stadium, NSW
Watch: Sky Sport 7
The Wellington Phoenix are hovering within reach of the top six play-off places and a win at Newcastle’s McDonald Jones Stadium will at least ensure they stay in the race.
The competition is splitting into two packs — seven clubs, including the Nix, trying to cement a play-off place and the five others who are all at risk of the wooden spoon.
New Zealand v Papua New Guinea
Group B, Game 1, Oceania FIFA World Cup qualifying tournament
Qatar SC Stadium, Doha
Watch: Sky Sport 7
The All Whites open their 2022 World Cup campaign, facing a Papua New Guinea side that’s confident despite not having played a competitive game for more than two years.
New Zealand will be without some of its more experienced players, including Chris Wood, Bill Tuiloma and Liberato Cacace, whose clubs would not release them in time for this match.
However head coach Danny Hay believes his squad is good enough to get the All Whites past their first hurdle.
Click here for details of the All Whites squad for the qualifiers >>>>
CANCELLED: Central United v Mt Albert Ponsonby
Brian Stanyer Memorial Trophy match
Croatian Club, McLeod Rd, Auckland
This was to have been the sixth annual match in memory of MAP stalwart Brian Stanyer who died in 2016, aged 61.
Both sides traditionally use this match as a pre-season blowout and the rivalry between these footballing neighbours was expected to produce an entertaining match for spectators, including the neutrals just looking for a decent 90 minutes of football.
However, COVID-related issues forced the late cancellation of the game.
Click here to read about Brian Stanyer and the annual match in his memory >>>>
POSTPONED: Papakura City v Ngaruawahia United
Lotto NRFL Division 2 play-off series
McLennan Park, Papakura
This was meant to be the second leg of a two-match promotion play-off series between the two clubs fighting for the last remaining spot in this year’s Lotto NRFL second division.
The first leg and this weekend’s game were postponed due to COVID-19 cases and Northern Region Football have yet to confirm when the games will take place.
UPDATE: NEW DATES SET FOR PROMOTION PLAY-OFFS – CLICK HERE FOR DETAILS >>>>
Girls and women’s events
March is our national Girls & Women’s Month in which clubs, regional federations and our national body work together to stage dozens of free activities throughout the country.
To check out what’s available, go to our story here >>>>
You’ll find links there to regional websites that have details of what’s on in your area.
Auckland United will host a girls and women’s ‘fun day’ on Saturday March 19 at Key Hay Park – click here for details >>>>
Females who want to take the first step towards coaching can attend a free Junior Level 1 coaching workshop at Papakura’s McLennan Park on Sunday afternoon (3pm-6pm). Click here for details >>>>
… and don’t forget these
Bay of Plenty footballers who fancy a go at beach soccer can head to Mount Maunganui on Saturday to play (if they can register in time) or to watch the action between 10am and 4pm. Click here for details >>>>
Fencibles United are hosting a family open day at Riverhills Park on Saturday (11am-3pm). Lots of fun activities are planned. Click here for details >>>>
Hibiscus Coast AFC are holding a club open day at Stanmore Bay Park on Sunday (10am-3pm). Lots of fun for the kids with a bouncy castle, popcorn and candy. Click here for details >>>>
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