Northern League clubs make key signings in run-up to transfer deadline

A number of Northern League clubs have made key signings — or lost players — in the lead-up to football’s transfer deadline.

When the June 30 deadline passed, player movement within the Northern League included the following:

Joao Moreira playing for Team Wellington against his former club Auckland City in 2021. Photo: Andrew Cornaga / Phototek.

João Moreira (Manukau United to Takapuna)

Former Portugal age-group international forward João Moreira has swapped relegation-threatened Manukau United for another club fighting to clear the trapdoor.

Moreira (37) has had a long career with more than a dozen clubs in two decades, including Auckland City, Team Wellington and Miramar Rangers in New Zealand.

He made his debut for Takapuna in Saturday’s 3-0 loss to Western Springs.

Matt Ellis (Auckland City to Western Springs)

Attacking player Matt Ellis (22) joined Springs in June, following another long-time Auckland City player, Reid Drake, in the move across town.

Ellis was part of Auckland City’s squad at the FIFA Club World Cup in Morocco and at the recent OFC Champions League tournament.

Main photo: Matt Ellis … was part of the Auckland City squad that won the OFC Champions League in Vanuatu in May.
Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Jaydyn Englefield … 15 goals for Metro last season.

Jaydyn Englefield (Metro to Bay Olympic)

Relegation-threatened Bay Olympic have signed Jaydyn Englefield (23), a proven goalscorer who netted 15 times for Metro in last season’s Lotto NRFL First Division.

He had not played since last September but signed with Bay Olympic the day before the June 30 deadline, and made his debut in the club’s 3-0 loss at Birkenhead United on Sunday.

Brad Thomas (Southern Oregon University to Western Springs)

A Springs player since he was 5, defender Thomas (21) has rejoined the club after two years in the United States with Southern Oregon University.

He’s had a couple of outings with Springs’ U-23 side since his return and was on the bench for the Northern League game at Takapuna last weekend.

Shiloh O’Connor (Guildford City, England, to Melville United)

O’Connor (20) joins from Surrey’s Guildford City (Combined Counties League Premier Division South) and was previously at Molesey (Combined Counties League Division One).

From ages 8-14, he played for Brentford FC. O’Connor plays as a left winger or attacking centre midfielder and Melville say he can be fast, skilful, unpredictable and explosive.

Sean McDonnell (Molesey, England, to Melville United)

McDonnell (21) played alongside O’Connor at Moseley and plays anywhere in the frontline. He was previously at Westside FC and Bedfont FC.

The signing of the two English imports was facilitated by former Melville committee member Ian Richards, whose son Ethan played alongside McDonnell at Cobham FC.

A spectacular start to his football career in New Zealand, as Jack McGovern scores for Melville United.

Jack McGovern (AFC Liverpool, England, to Melville United)

Goalkeeper Jack McGovern (27) had a dramatic debut for Melville, coming off the bench as an outfield player and scoring the equaliser in the Waikato derby with Hamilton Wanderers.

His previous club was AFC Liverpool, who play in the North West Counties Football League, which is step 9 of the English football pyramid.

In the recently-finished UK season, McGovern equalled the club’s record for clean sheets in a season and broke the record number of appearances for a goalkeeper with more than 80 games.

READ MORE: Goalkeeper comes off bench to score equaliser in his Northern League debut >>>>

Legion Rogerson (West Coast Rangers to Ngaruawahia United)

After playing mainly for Rangers’ U-23 side, winger Rogerson (19) has moved to Lotto NRFL Men’s Championship side Ngaruawahia United, who are pressing for promotion to the Northern League.

Prior to playing for West Coast Rangers, Rogerson was with Auckland City’s U-23 side, but he played his youth football in the Waikato, with Melville United and Hamilton Wanderers.

Waiheke United striker Niko Vanina tries to find space between two Tauranga City players in the Lotto NRFL Men’s Championship. Photo: Jackie Tran Van / Phototek.

Niko Vanina (Waiheke United to Birkenhead United)

Vanina (30) led the scoring for Waiheke over the past three seasons, scoring 22 goals in the Northern League and the next tier below.

He was a key part of Waiheke’s promotion-winning team from the Lotto NRFL first division in 2021 when he found the net 11 times, and last season he scored five goals at Northern League level before the islanders were relegated.

Vanina scored his first goal for Birkenhead in their 3-0 win against Bay Olympic on Sunday.

READ MORE: Birkenhead United make double signings ahead of transfer deadline >>>>

Andrew Cromb (Takapuna to Birkenhead)

Birkenhead United have also bolstered their defence with the return of central defender Andrew Cromb (22), who left the club for Northern League rivals Takapuna at the start of this season.

He had previously made more than 50 first team appearances for Birkenhead.

Fernando Orduna (Manukau United to Mount Albert Ponsonby)

Goalkeeper Fernando Orduna (33) has returned to Mount Albert Ponsonby, for whom he played last season, helping the side stiffen its defence with a string of clean sheet.

He went straight into the MAP starting line-up against Northern Rovers for last weekend’s Lotto NRFL Men’s Championship game, keeping a clean sheet in their 2- 0 win.

Boon Ozawa (right) playing for former club Auckland United. He’s since moved from Manukau United to Manurewa. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Boon Ozawa (Manukau United to Manurewa)

Winger Ozawa (26) left struggling Manukau United for Manurewa in early June and went straight into Rewa’s Northern League line-up.

He’ll miss their next game after copping a double yellow card in their 5-2 loss at Melville United.


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