By Joan Grey
Auckland women’s football powerhouses Auckland United and Eastern Suburbs meet in an early season derby in their Women’s National League fixture at Madills Farm on Sunday.
Both won their opening round fixtures, with United beating Canterbury United Pride 4-2 and Eastern Suburbs returning from Dunedin with a 1-0 win against Southern United.
This year, Auckland United and Eastern Suburbs emerged as the titans of the NRFL Women’s Premier League, finishing first and second, respectively.
Despite appearing evenly matched on paper, Eastern Suburbs had the better of Auckland United in their two Women’s Premier League clashes this season, with scores of 3-1 in March and 4-1 in May.
These were Auckland United’s only league losses of 2023.
Eastern Suburbs was the only team able to defeat them in the Women’s Premier League, and they will enter Sunday’s match with that psychological edge.
Player to watch
Under-20 New Zealand international and former Wellington Phoenix forward Charlotte Lancaster (19) has signed with Eastern Suburbs for the Women’s National League season.
During her two seasons with the Wellington Phoenix, Lancaster made 12 appearances off the bench and notched her first start for the club in late March.
In that game, she contributed the assist for Chloe Knott’s goal in their 3-1 win over Adelaide United.
Since then, she’s had a stint with Australian club Northbridge Bulls, a New South Wales club which has a partnership with A-League club Macarthur FC.
Main photo: Auckland United’s Bree Johnson was the Player of the Match in their season opener against Canterbury United Pride. Photo credit: Andrew Cornaga / Phototek.
It could go down to the wire, but Suburbs have had a knack for out-duelling Auckland United.
I’m backing a 1-0 victory to Suburbs.
Eastern Suburbs squad
Brooke Bennett, Caelan Tremain
Kenya Brooke, Erinna Wong, Kate Williamson, Yukino Nishizono, Laney Strachan, Arya Blackler, Hannah Saxon, Jo Sargisson
Hayley Miller, Zoe Benson, Charlotte Wilford Carroll, Ella Findlay, Olivia Erskine, Saki Yoshida, Nicole Cooper, Nicole Mettam, Emily Gillion
Charlotte Lancaster, Annie Byrne, Tayla O’Brien, Aimee Atkins, Emily Lyon, Sophia Dyer, Shion Hwang
Auckland United squad
Amberley Hollis, Aimee Hall
Talisha Green, Jess Philpot, Greer Macintosh, Chelsea Elliot, Kate McConnell, Suya Haering
Yume Harashima, Maisy Dewell, Danielle Canham, Maya Vince, Penny Brill, Manami Nishio
Bree Johnson, Shannon Henson, Rene Wasi, Alexis Cook, Emmeiln Bowala, Poppy O’Brien
How to watch
The game will be one of 46 Women’s National League games to be live-streamed under the new content partnership between NZ Football and FIFA+.
Game to be played on Sunday October 1, 2023
Eastern Suburbs v Auckland United
Madills Farm, St Heliers, 4pm
Friends of Football writer Joan Grey loves playing and writing about football. She plays football for Franklin United.