By Joan Grey
Lotto NRFL Women’s Championship attackers were on fire last weekend, scoring 21 goals across the four games.
The Tauranga derby kept spectators on tenterhooks in a seven-goal thriller as Otumoetai edged a 4-3 victory over cross-town rivals Tauranga City.
Championship table leaders Fencibles United continued to show their prowess with a dominant 6-0 victory over Central United. Unbeaten Fencibles are the only team to have won all their games so far and are emerging as the early title favourites.
Despite the large scorelines, the table points are still close together.
Teams can ill afford slip-ups this weekend, and wins will be vital for clubs to break free from the pack.
Game of the week
Te Atatu will be eager to bounce back from their 1-4 loss to Manukau United in the previous round. With the points table so close, a win this weekend could propel Te Atatu several places higher on the ladder.
Te Atatu host Franklin United at Te Atatu Peninsula Park on Sunday at 1pm.
Franklin have notched two draws and a win this season and are the only other unbeaten team. Their 3-0 win over Onehunga Sports last weekend leapfrogged them to second place on the table.
But five teams are within two points on the ladder and hot on Franklin’s heels.
Te Atatu and Franklin will be vying for those valuable three points and will need to bring their A-game.
Player to watch
Former Football Fern Marlies James, with 33 caps, was instrumental in the Franklin backline last season.
Franklin had one of the tightest defences in the NRF Women’s Championship and conceded 14 goals in 15 games.
James combines precisely timed tackles and poised composure on the ball, bringing steel and security to the Franklin defensive line.
She also possesses a dangerous set-piece ability, and last weekend James scored an 86th-minute free kick to seal Franklin’s 3-0 victory over Onehunga Sports.
Games to be played on Sunday April 16, 2023
Central United v Onehunga Sports
Kiwitea St, Sandringham, 11am
Tauranga City v Manukau United
Links Ave, Mt Maunganui. 1pm
Fencibles United v Otumoetai
William Green Domain, Pakuranga, 11.30am
Te Atatu v Franklin United
Te Atatu Peninsula Park, Te Atatu, 1pm
Friends of Football writer Joan Grey loves playing and writing about football. She attends ACG Strathallan College and plays football for Franklin United.