Lotto NRFL Women’s Championship heads for nail-biting finish

By Joan Grey

The Lotto NRFL Women’s Championship promotion race remains a nail-biting affair as Onehunga Sports and Fencibles United gallop towards the top spot.

Onehunga Sports’ game last weekend was postponed, and now Fencibles lead by four points, having played one extra game.

Fencibles have two matches to go, and if they win both, they’ll earn promotion to the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League.

Easier said than done, however.

Their final games are against strong opponents — third-placed Franklin United and second-placed rivals Onehunga Sports.

It’s anyone’s bet.

Game of the week

Fencibles and Franklin convene at William Green Domain on Sunday.

Franklin are out of the running for promotion, but they can upset Frencibles’ promotion prospects.

Prolific goalscorers Fencibles have netted 61 goals this season, the most of any team in the competition by a margin of 17 goals.

They also boast the tightest defence, with just 15 goals scored against them.

But Franklin won’t be an easy opponent. Franklin and Fencibles’ previous encounters this season both resulted in draws, with a 2-2 tie in April and a 1-1 deadlock in July.

Player to watch

Leading the Franklin line-up is captain Nikita Lieshout (26).

Lieshout brings Women’s Premier League experience from her time with Pukekohe AFC and captained the Saint Kentigerns First XI in her school years.

Lieshout’s prowess in the defensive midfield comes from her tactical awareness, aerial ability, and solid tackles denying opponents’ attacking moves.

Bold prediction

Bottom-placed Te Atatu and Central United face off this weekend in a crucial match that will likely determine who gets relegated.

With a one-point lead over Central, Te Atatu hold the upper hand.

A Te Atatu victory would secure them safety from relegation and consign Central to the wooden spoon.

Central defaulted due to insufficient player numbers last weekend. This weekend, more than ever, they will want to field a full squad.

Te Atatu’s last victory dates back to the second round robin when they won 2-1 against Central.

It’s likely to be close and I’m picking Central to win 1-0.


Games to be played on Sunday September 3, 2023

Tauranga City v Onehunga Sports
Links Ave, Mt Maunganui, 1pm

Fencibles United v Franklin United
William Green Domain, Pakuranga, 1pm

Otumoetai v Manukau United
Fergusson Park, Otumoetai, 1pm

Central United v Te Atatu
St Peter’s College, Auckland, 1pm

Joan Grey

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

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