Ten clubs begin their challenge on Saturday for the Lotto NRFL Division 2 title.
More than any other competition in the north, this division covers the greatest expanse of geography with the inclusion of Northland, three sides from the Waikato and six teams from the outer reaches of Auckland.
Here are the contenders:
Relegated from last year’s first division, they have appointed Juan Roman as their new head coach and club Technical Director. Last year’s form was poor — only one win, and the side conceded 70 goals in 18 games.
Third last season, the side has Munith Naidu as full-time Director of Football and will be head coach for the first team. At 29, he’s one of the league’s up and comers.
Fourth last year, United are one of the division’s most stable teams with coach Mark Holt going into his third season in charge and with many of last season’s squad re-signed for 2022.
Fifth in 2021, the Coasters have former professional player Adam Dickinson in the dug out, replacing Mauricio Rojas who has stepped down as first team coach after six years in the role.
Sixth last season, the Reds have a new coaching partnership in place in Bradley Rea (23) and Antony Meiklejohn (30). Rea has been a full-time coach with the Ricki Herbert Football Academy for five years while Meiklejohn was head coach last year for WaiBOP Premiership side Papamoa.
Seventh in 2021, the Northlanders will be led again by first team head coach Michal Walęsiak, a former professional footballer in Poland.
Eighth last year, United will be coached by Director of Football Steve Cain who is the division’s longest-serving coach, having been with Tia since 2010.
Former All White Mark Cossey (56) continues as head coach at Galloway Park but has brought in the experienced Paul Richardson (54) as his assistant for the coming season. Richardson coached Matamata Swifts in the WaiBOP Premiership before joining Cambridge FC as their head coach three years ago.
Head coach Scott Mackay leads the newly-promoted team after their promotion as winners of the NRF Conference.
The Green Machine have probably had the most rigorous pre-season campaign of all, having to overcome Papakura City in a two-match promotion play-off series to gain promotion. As WaiBOP Premiership champions, the Waikato side is ambitious and are expected to be competitive.