Western Springs lose three points after case of mistaken identity prompts protest

Western Springs have lost their unbeaten start to the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League after being docked three points for playing an ineligible player in their 5-0 win against Hibiscus Coast.

A protest by Hibiscus Coast has turned the result into a 3-0 win for them, though Springs are now appealing against that decision.

The ineligible player is understood to be former Football Ferns captain Maia Jackman who came off the bench for the last eight minutes of the game.

It is understood her records in football’s COMET database were confused with those of a player with the same name, and a genuine error was made in the registration process.

READ MORE: Legendary Fern Maia Jackman makes a surprise return to NRFL competition >>>>

In a statement, NRF said:

“Western Springs were found to have fielded an ineligible player in their 24 March 5-0 win over Hibiscus Coast in the LOTTO NRFL Women’s Premiership.

“After a federation disciplinary process, the matter is currently before New Zealand Football’s disciplinary committee.”

Impact on the competition

The decision — as it stands — sees Springs drop from top spot to sixth place on the eight-team table.

Hibiscus Coast, promoted to the league this season, jump from seventh place to second.

Timeline of events

Game played on Friday March 24, 2023

Western Springs 5 (Sam Tawharu 2′, 87′, Sofia Garcia 7′, 52′, Lily Jervis 28′)
Hibiscus Coast 0

  • Hibiscus Coast protest to Northern Region Football.
  • NRF reject the initial protest.
  • Hibiscus Coast appeal to NRF, seeking to overturn the decision.
  • The appeal is successful; the result is reversed.
  • Western Springs appeal to NZ Football, seeking review of NRF decision.

Current result

Western Springs 0
Hibiscus Coast 3


BEFORE the reversal of the Western Springs v Hibiscus Coast result:

AFTER the reversal of the Western Springs v Hibiscus Coast result:

Preview of Round 4

By Joan Grey

Game of the wee

Northern Rovers host Auckland United at McFetridge Park on Sunday.

These two sides faced each other in the Kate Sheppard Cup final last September, but roll on 2023, and both teams have few of their original players and new coaches.

Ben Bate coached Northern Rovers to victory last year in the Women’s Premier League.

This season, Bate leads the Auckland United women, and his magic continues; Auckland United have demonstrated strong form, scoring seven goals in their first three games.

Auckland United landed a number of 2022 Northern Rovers players. Among them are Rene Wasi and Suya Haering, whose goals sealed a 3-0 victory against West Coast Rangers last week.

Meanwhile, Northern Rovers bolstered their 2023 squad with new signings, including midfielder Katy Gothard from Wellington United, who scored a goal against league leaders Western Springs in round two, and Capital Premier League top goalscorer Trudi Greig.

After achieving so much in 2022, this year, Northern Rovers are yet to win a contest and desperately need points to lift them off the foot of the table.

Player to watch

Young gun Ruby Nathan (17) returns to the Auckland United attack for her third season and already has added a goal to her tally.

Last year, Nathan competed in the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in Costa Rica and the FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in India.

Nathan’s pace and long-range shooting proved a lethal combination last year, and she pocketed ten goals across the 2022 Women’s Premier League and Women’s National League.

Bold prediction

Hibiscus Coast will travel 150km to face Hamilton Wanderers on Sunday.

The two clubs are geographically the most distant of all the women’s premier teams, and Hamilton’s Porritt Stadium home advantage could come into play.

Last weekend, Wanderers earned a 3-3 draw with league leaders Western Springs, no doubt boosting Wanderers’ confidence.

I’m picking them to topple the newly-promoted Hibiscus Coast this weekend, 3-1.


Game to be played on Friday April 21, 2023

Western Springs v Eastern Suburbs
Seddon Fields, Westmere, 7.30pm

Games to be played on Sunday April 23, 2023

West Coast Rangers v Ellerslie
Fred Taylor Park, Whenuapai, 3pm

Northern Rovers v Auckland United
McFetridge Park, Glenfield, 1pm

Hamilton Wanderers v Hibiscus Coast
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton, 1pm


BEFORE the reversal of the Western Springs v Hibiscus Coast result:

AFTER the reversal of the Western Springs v Hibiscus Coast result:

Joan Grey

Friends of Football writer Joan Grey loves playing and writing about football. She attends ACG Strathallan College and plays football for Franklin United.

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