By Jonno Ross
With the title seemingly a sure thing for Northern Rovers, the focus goes on the race for second place in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League.
Western Springs, Eastern Suburbs and Auckland United are all likely candidates and all three will need to be at their best this weekend to claim maximum points.
Here’s our preview of the round:
Auckland United (4th) v Western Springs (2nd)
Keith Hay Park, Auckland
Auckland United are coming off the back of three games undefeated, including getting through to the semi-final of the Kate Sheppard Cup after beating Tauranga City 4-0 in their quarter-final.
Their previous defeat was to this weekend’s opponents when they lost 3-1, with two goals being scored in the space of three minutes by the Western Springs pair Sofia Garcia and Lara Colpi.
Auckland United will be sick of the sight of Garcia, as her winning goal sealed the result in the opening round of the season, when Springs won 1-0.
United have the chance to claim second spot with a victory (depending on the Eastern Suburbs result), and will want to get at least one over their visitors this season.
After failing to beat league leaders Northern Rovers in round 13, Western Springs got back to business last week with a 3-2 win over Ellerslie.
That win kept them in second position, nine points behind the leaders.
With Northern Rovers seeming unlikely to drop points anytime soon, it’s looking like it will be a battle for second place come the end of the season, with Eastern Suburbs just two points behind Springs, and Auckland United three points behind.
Points will be dropped this weekend, but I think Western Springs will do the treble over the hosts on Sunday, with a 2-1 win.
Other fixtures (with current league placings)
Eastern Suburbs (4th) v West Coast Rangers (5th)
Madills Farm, Auckland, 1pm
Northern Rovers (1st) v Hamilton Wanderers (7th)
McFetridge Park, Auckland, 1pm
Ellerslie (4th) v Tauranga City (8th)
Michaels Ave Reserve, 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.