By Jack Sharp
Ngaruawahia United will take their unbeaten record into a Waikato derby with Claudelands Rovers with the sides chasing them all hoping the Green Machine will finally have a bad day.
Hibiscus Coast and Bucklands Beach should be strong enough to overcome teams down the table while West Auckland will look to extend their own unbeaten run with a trip to Northland’s Trigg Arena.
Meanwhile, it will be an emotional day at Cambridge’s John Kerkhof Park where captain Patrick Woodlock (34) will lead out the Reds to play Bucklands Beach, as supporters celebrate his 300th first team appearance for the club (click here for more details).
Here’s our preview of the round:
Northland (6th) v West Auckland (3rd)
Trigg Arena, Whangarei,
West Auckland will extend their unbeaten league run to nine games if they can get a result at Northland’s Trigg Arena but they can ill afford to head home with a draw.
Draws in three of their last five outings have cost them six points — the same as losing two games — and if they want to stay in the chase after league leaders Ngaruawahia United, they’ll have to get the win.
Certainly, their 3-0 home win against Bucklands Beach last weekend suggests they’re in the winning mood.
Northland have been fairly predictable this season, winning when expected and losing when expected.
They have not always been able to take full advantage of their Trigg Arena home ground, losing three of their five games there (to Ngaruawahia, Cambridge and Franklin United).
Their wins at Trigg Arena have been against Claudelands Rovers (who played with 10 men for 73 mins) and bottom side Oratia United.
West Auckland should get the points in this fixture, and by a margin of three or more.
Other fixtures (with current league placings)
Beachlands Maraetai (9th) v Franklin United (5th)
Te Puru Park, Beachlands, 3pm
Cambridge (8th) v Bucklands Beach (4th)
John Kerkhof Park, Cambridge, 3pm
Oratia United (10th) v Hibiscus Coast (2nd)
Parrs Park, Oratia, 3pm
Ngaruawahia United (1st) v Claudelands Rovers (7th)
Centennial Park, Ngaruawahia, 3pm
How they stand
Last weekend’s games
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