By Joan Grey
This weekend, reigning champions Eastern Suburbs host champions-in-waiting Northern Rovers in a top-of-the table match.
Northern Rovers lead the pack by an 11-point margin in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League.
Chasing hard are rivals Eastern Suburbs, Auckland United and Western Springs.
Here’s how the round looks this weekend (July 30-31):
Eastern Suburbs (2nd) v Northern Rovers (1st)
Madills Farm, Auckland
Suburbs are on a streak of five wins and one draw in the last six weeks but the unbeaten Rovers must still be the favourites to win.
The two Auckland teams have met three times this season, and Rovers have emerged victorious in all three matches.
The Lilywhites have, however, been closing the score gap, from a 1-6 loss to Rovers in round 2 to narrowly losing 2-3 in round 9, and recently 1-3 when they butted heads in their Kate Sheppard Cup quarter-final.
There’s sure to be exciting action between the posts given Suburbs and Rovers together possess the league’s top five goalscorers: Suburb’s Deven Jackson, Juliette Lucas, and Jade Parris, and Rovers’ Danielle Canham and Michaela Foster.
Between them, they have scored more than a quarter of the women’s premier league’s total goal tally.
With home advantage, Suburbs will want a winning display for their Madills Farm supporters. They have won six of eight home games this season, but notably, their two home losses were against Rovers.
If Suburbs can turn the tide and get one up on Rovers they stay in the race for second position on the table alongside Auckland United and Western Springs.
Other fixtures (with current league placings)
Tauranga City (8th) v Auckland United (3rd)
Links Ave Reserve, Tauranga
Kick-off 2 pm
Hamilton Wanderers (7th) v Ellerslie (5th)
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton
West Coast Rangers (6th) v Western Springs (4th)
Fred Taylor Park, Auckland
How they stand
Last weekend’s games
Friends of Football writer Joan Grey loves playing and writing about football. She captains the Strathallan College Girls First XI and represents Franklin United in the NRF Women’s Championship.