By Joan Grey
The second of the three round-robins in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Championship kicks off Sunday.
The Championship’s first round-robin ended with Franklin United surging two points ahead of Fencibles United, Otumoetai, and Onehunga Sports, who are three-way tied in second position.
Game of the week
Onehunga Sports and Otumoetai will cross paths for the second time on Sunday in what’s likely to be a fierce duel.
The two sides are neck and neck on the ladder in second position and share an identical record of four wins, two losses, and a draw.
Onehunga and Otumoetai seemingly refuse to be separated, and their previous encounter in the opening round resulted in a 2-2 draw, setting the stage for a competitive rematch.
This time, the game shifts to Onehunga’s home turf, Waikaraka Park, which could prove to be a decisive factor considering Onehunga have won all three of their home games so far.
Player to watch
Otumoetai goalkeeper Nikki Whyte (18) has played a pivotal role in Otumoetai’s triumphs this season.
She possesses unrivalled composure on the ball, and her powerful ball distribution has even notched an assist this season.
Beyond the football pitch, Whyte has been involved in Futsal Fern training camps, and last month, she was awarded the Golden Glove in the 2023 Ford Futsal SuperLeague.
On top of that, Whyte’s impressive hand-eye coordination will be on display when she heads to Europe for the World Ultimate Frisbee Championships in July.
Whyte didn’t play in the opening clash against Onehunga.
This Sunday, with her in goal, Otumoetai will have an added ace up their sleeves.
Te Atatu will take on Fencibles United on home soil on Sunday.
Fencibles’ second-position clout on the ladder casts them as the favourite to win this weekend.
However, in their earlier duel, Te Atatu’s defensive display limited Fencibles to a slim 1-0 victory, suggesting they are capable of an upset at home.
Still, if Fencibles bring their A-game, a 2-0 victory seems plausible.
Games to be played on Sunday May 21, 2023
Central United v Tauranga City
St Peter’s College, Auckland, 1pm
Franklin United v Manukau United
Drury Sports Complex, Drury, 1pm
Onehunga Sports v Otumoetai
Waikaraka Park, Onehunga, 1pm
Te Atatu v Fencibles 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.