Eastern Suburbs and Auckland United close in on Women’s National League spots

By Joan Grey

Eastern Suburbs and Auckland United could be the first teams to secure spots in this year’s Women’s National League if they get positive results this Sunday.

To make sure of a top-four qualification, clubs need at least 26 points, at this stage, in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League to make the cut.

Suburbs can achieve that with a draw or better against Hibiscus Coast while Auckland United can qualify with a win against Ellerslie, who are also pushing for a place in the national competition.

Hibiscus Coast likely breathed a sigh of relief last round when they won against Hamilton Wanderers, securing their survival in the Women’s Premier League.

It’s no longer possible for Northern Rovers to catch them on points and Rovers now know they’ll be taking home the wooden spoon.

READ MORE: Hibiscus Coast make sure of survival as champions consigned to wooden spoon >>>>

Game of the week

Ellerslie welcomes Auckland United to Michaels Ave in a high-stakes encounter.

Auckland United have been in gilt-edged form this season, and have won eight of their 10 matches.

If Auckland United pocket another three points on Sunday, they will secure a ticket to the National League.

Sitting in fourth place in the standings, Ellerslie are also in the running for National League qualification, and for them, every point counts.

Auckland United will need to contain Ellerslie’s striker Britney Cunningham-Lee, the league’s equal-top goalscorer.

Player to watch

Abby Wright (19) is a new addition to the Ellerslie squad this season, having joined from West Coast Rangers last summer.

A versatile midfielder and fullback, Wright brings crisp technical skills, pace, and quick thinking to the pitch.

Wright also excels in another outlet of the beautiful game as a futsal player with the winning Papakura City side.

Bold prediction

The western showdown between Western Springs and West Coast Rangers could be a see-saw battle.

Early in the season, Rangers got off to a great start and led the table for several weeks.

But more recently, they’ve had a dry spell and earned no points from their last three games.

The last encounter between the two west Auckland sides ended in a 1-1 stalemate, but this time, I think Springs will come out on top.


Games to be played on Sunday July 16, 2023

Auckland United v Ellerslie
Waikaraka Park, Onehunga, 1pm

Eastern Suburbs v Hibiscus Coast
Madills Farm, St Heliers, 1pm

Hamilton Wanderers v Northern Rovers
Ashurst Park, Hamilton, 1pm

West Coast Rangers v Western Springs
Huapai Domain, Kumeu, 3pm

Joan Grey

Friends of Football writer Joan Grey loves playing and writing about football. She plays football for Franklin United.

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