Hamilton Wanderers on the rise in Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League

By Joan Grey

Auckland United continue to lead the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League, but chasing hot on their heels are Eastern Suburbs and Hamilton Wanderers, both just two points adrift.

It’s a Sunday feast this round for the women’s premier competition, with all four fixtures kicking off Sunday afternoon.

Game of the week

Going into their sixth-round encounter, table toppers Auckland United and third-placed Hamilton Wanderers are separated by just two points.

With the relegation of Tauranga City last year, Hamilton Wanderers are the only team outside Auckland competing in the Women’s Premier League.

They battled it out against the Auckland-based teams last year and were able to steer clear of relegation, finishing seventh out of eight.

They’ve had a great start this season and sit third on the ladder.

The Wanderers’ experienced leadership team has guided them to an unbeaten streak of four games in recent weeks.

At the helm is distinguished former All White coach and player Ricki Herbert, and the Northern League’s current top goalscorer Derek Tieku, along with strength and conditioning coach Paul Clout.

Wanderers captain Maddi Ollington (centre) … putting her experience to good use. Photo: Joan Grey.

Skipper Maddi Ollington captains the team and is in her seventh season with the Wanderers.

The central midfielder brings her United States soccer experience and solidity to the line-up.

It’s been eight years since a team outside of Auckland (Claudelands Rovers) last won the Women’s Premier League.

The draw so far has seen Wanderers tussle with the five teams sitting below them on the table.

Facing Auckland United on Sunday will be a litmus test for Wanderers to benchmark themselves against the competition leaders.

Auckland United, meanwhile, have continued to prove themselves formidable in the competition and they also boast a four-game winning streak.

If Wanderers triumph on Sunday, they will leapfrog Auckland United, and they could claim the top position on the ladder, depending on Eastern Suburbs’ result.

Game on!

Player to watch

Freya Harris (left). Has quickly become a key part of the Wanderers defence. Photo: Joan Grey.

Freya Harris (16), Hamilton Wanderers’ centre-back, has established herself as a vital defensive force this season.

The exciting youngster’s fearlessness and determination to put her body on the line has shut down many dangerous attacks on the Wanderers’ goal.

Bold prediction

A single point on the ladder separates mid-table Hibiscus Coast and West Coast Rangers.

Newly-promoted Hibiscus Coast are still finding their feet in the Women’s Premier League.

It was 17 years ago that Hibiscus Coast last competed at this level.

They have held their own in tough competition, but their offence has struggled to generate more than one goal per game.

Their opponents, West Coast Rangers, are finding their rhythm in the competition, and hosting Hibiscus Coast at Fred Taylor Park could be the perfect tonic to collect three points.

I’m inclined to tip a 2-1 victory to Rangers.


Games to be played on Sunday May 7, 2023

Auckland United v Hamilton Wanderers
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 1pm

Eastern Suburbs v Northern Rovers
Madills Farm, St Heliers, 1pm

West Coast Rangers v Hibiscus Coast
Fred Taylor Park, Whenuapai, 2pm

Ellerslie v Western Springs
Michaels Ave, Ellerslie, 3pm


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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