Expect the unexpected in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Championship this weekend

By Joan Grey

Four exciting rounds of the Lotto NRFL Women’s Championship games have been unpredictable and thrilling, with no obvious pattern to the results.

With evenly matched sides, Championship teams are clustered together on the ladder.

Early pace-setters Fencibles United went down to Otumoetai last round and dropped valuable points, allowing the pack to catch up.

Five teams are now within a three-point reach of the lead, and a single win could claim first position after this weekend’s matches.

Round 5 sees Tauranga travel to their first away game of the season to face Franklin United in Drury. After they hosted four consecutive home games, Tauranga’s form will be tested on a rival’s territory.

Game of the week

On Sunday, Central United hit the road to take on Otumoetai in Tauranga.

Otumoetai have kept spectators on the edge of their seats with their tendency for high-scoring results and goals in the closing minutes. In three of their four games, Otumoetai have scored a goal in the final ten minutes to secure a draw or victory.

Otumoetai will be buzzing after a 90th-minute Lilly Muspratt goal grabbed a 3-2 victory over previously unbeaten league leaders Fencibles United last weekend.

Otumoetai now sit on seven points, a mere two points away from Fencibles United, who remain leaders … just.

Central United are yet to add a notch to their wins column after four attempts this season and will be hungry for three points this weekend.

Central United’s new coach, Jon Scott, hails from Wales.

Scott takes the reins of a versatile mix of experience and new talent. Phoebe Donaldson and Natasja Van Den Berg have returned to the fold and complement long-standing stalwarts Shannon McDonnall and Megan Bethell, along with Tara Murphy, Renee Ralph, Caitlin Clark, and captain Wallis Bland.

Bold prediction

League leaders Fencibles United have proved deadly in front of goal this season and have found the back of the net 13 times in just four games and have conceded just three.

I think their ability to convert will give them an edge over Manukau United this weekend.


Games to be played on Sunday April 23, 2023

Otumoetai v Central United
Fergusson Park, Otumoetai, 1pm

Manukau United v Fencibles United
Walter Massey Park, Mangere East, 1pm

Franklin United v Tauranga City
Drury Sports Complex, Drury, 1pm

Onehunga Sports v Te Atatu
Waikaraka Park, Onehunga, 1pm


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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