By Jonno Ross
League positions suggest this weekend’s games should be predictable in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League — but I’m tipping at least one upset.
The draw pitches the top four teams against the bottom four, indicating the favourites should all win and retain their placings on the table.
But anything’s possible in football and wet weather is a great leveller.
Here’s our preview of the round:
Western Springs (2nd) v Ellerslie (6th)
North Harbour Stadium, Auckland
Western Springs will be disappointed they couldn’t make ground on Northern Rovers when they played the league leaders last time out, losing 2-1 and falling nine points behind in second place.
They need to bounce back this week with a win, and will be confident of doing so as they beat their opponents in the reverse fixture 4-0, thanks to a Rina Hirano hat-trick.
Springs will hold on with the hope that the undefeated Northern Rovers will drop points eventually, so will be going into every game with a ‘must win’ attitude.
If they don’t win this weekend, they could forfeit their position in second, and drop as far as 4th depending on other results.
Ellerslie are on a three-game undefeated streak for the first time this season. They have won one, and drawn twice — their latest result being a 1-1 draw with West Coast Rangers who are one position ahead of them in the league.
Ellerslie go into this game wanting revenge on Western Springs after their defeat in the first round, and will also hope that West Coast Rangers can beat Auckland United, so the gap between themselves and 4th will tighten.
A loss for Ellerslie would see them playing major catch-up with the teams ahead of them in the league for the remainder of the season, and it could also see them getting sucked into a relegation battle, with Hamilton Wanderers only seven points behind in 7th place.
I think Ellerslie could pull off an upset this week. I’m going to say 2-1 to the away side.
Other fixtures (with current league placings)
West Coast Rangers (8th) v Auckland United (4th)
Huapai Reserve, Kumeu, 7.30pm
Eastern Suburbs (3rd) v Hamilton Wanderers (7th)
Madills Farm, Auckland, 1pm
Northern Rovers (1st) v Tauranga City (8th)
McFetridge Park, Auckland, 2pm
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.
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