By Joan Grey
The Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League enters its second and final round-robin of the season this weekend.
Games going forward gain importance as teams race to secure the top four spots and qualify for the Women’s National League.
The top four currently are Auckland United, Eastern Suburbs, West Coast Rangers, and Hamilton Wanderers.
However, with the postponement of last weekend’s Western Springs game and ongoing uncertainty at the club, it could get complicated to determine which teams truly lead the competition, as some teams will have games in hand.
Game of the week
Ellerslie will square off against Northern Rovers at McFetridge Park in Glenfield on Sunday,
Ellerslie sit in sixth position on the ladder after a mix of wins, draws, and losses. In their two wins so far, Ellerslie have kept the opposition scoreless.
One of those wins was against Northern Rovers, a 2-0 victory in the opening round.
Northern Rovers, despite being at the foot of the table, continue to show determination.
Grabbing three points this weekend will help keep Ellerslie in the running for Women’s National League qualification.
Players to watch
Exciting youngster Cilla Fa’afua (16) brings explosive pace and impressive ball skills to the Ellerslie wing.
Last year, Fa’afua earned a spot on the Samoa Women’s National Team but unfortunately couldn’t compete due to injury.
In recent weeks, she was selected for the U-20 New Zealand Auckland trial game.
Ellerslie goalkeeper Kelsea King (17) is another promising and exciting young talent. With confidence beyond her years, she uses her voice to guide the backline and has a knack for incredible diving saves.
King’s exceptional performances have earned her a call-up to the Auckland U-20 squad.
Auckland United face Eastern Suburbs at Keith Hay Park at 5.30pm on Saturday.
The newly-introduced Renell Cup is at stake. In future matches between Eastern Suburbs and Auckland United, the cup will be on the line whenever the current cup holder plays their cross-town rivals on home turf.
READ MORE: New trophy goes on the line between two of Auckland’s top women’s teams >>>>
It will surely be a tightly contested encounter between two top Women’s Premier teams. Home advantage might come into play, and I’m predicting a 2-1 triumph in favour of Auckland United.
To complete an entertaining doubleheader, the Auckland United and Eastern Suburbs men’s Northern League match kicks off at 3pm as a curtain raiser to the women’s match.
Games to be played on Saturday May 27, 2023
Auckland United v Eastern Suburbs
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 5.30pm
Games to be played on Sunday , 2023
Hamilton Wanderers v West Coast Rangers
Korikori Park, Hamilton, 1pm
Hibiscus Coast v Western Springs
Stanmore Bay, Whangaparaoa, 1pm
Northern Rovers v Ellerslie
McFetridge Park, Glenfield, 1pm
Friends of Football writer Joan Grey loves playing and writing about football. She attends ACG Strathallan College and plays football for Franklin United.