By Jonno Ross
Two games on Sunday will likely shape the top half of this year’s Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League.
At 1pm, league leaders Northern Rovers face second-placed Western Springs.
At 3pm, third-placed Auckland United will host an Ellerslie side trying to force their way into the top bunch.
It makes for an entertaining afternoon!
Here’s our preview of the round, with our recommendations for the neutral spectator:
Ellerslie (5th) v Auckland United (3rd)
Michaels Ave Reserve, Auckland
After a strong start, Ellerslie seem to have hit an early season roadblock, losing their last three games in a row and without scoring a goal.
They will want to get their season back on track this weekend against an Auckland United team who also tripped up last week, going down 4-2 against top-of-the-league Northern Rovers.
This is an important game for both teams.
If Ellerslie win, they will draw level on points with Auckland. If United win, they will remain part of the pack chasing leaders Northern Rovers.
Ellerslie will need to contain Auckland United’s leading goalscorer Tessa Leong, who scored twice in their defeat last week to remain top of the competition’s Golden Boot table with six goals.
This could be a make or break result for Ellerslie, and their defensive effort will be key.
By the time this game kicks off, the result of the 1pm match between Northern Rovers and Western Springs will be known.
If Rovers win, Auckland United may well be going into their game knowing victory will lift them to second.
Other fixtures (with current league placings):
Northern Rovers (1st) v Western Springs (2nd)
McFetridge Park, Auckland, 1pm
West Coast Rangers (4th) v Hamilton Wanderers (8th)
Huapai Reserve, Kumeu, 1pm
Eastern Suburbs (6th) v Tauranga City (7th)
Madills Farm Auckland, 3pm
How they stand
Last weekend’s games
Friends of Football writer Jonno Ross is a former New Zealand U-20 goalkeeper who is the team manager for Mount Albert Ponsonby. He supports the All Whites, the Football Ferns, the Wellington Phoenix and Arsenal.