With only three rounds left, this weekend’s games could well provide answers to key questions for the Women’s National League.
- Will it be an all-Auckland final, or can Southern United spoil the party?
- If it is going to be an all-Auckland final, which of the three top clubs will miss out?
- Will Ellerslie or Central Football get their first win of the season?
Two games on Saturday will provide some clues, if not full answers.
Southern United badly need to beat CF Waterside Karori to boost their hopes of reaching the Grand Final, which has been confirmed for Auckland’s Go Media Stadium Mt Smart on Sunday November 26.
The Southerners have led the charge against the strong Auckland sides and Saturday’s game in Wellington is the toughest of their three remaining fixtures.
Their other games are against the bottom pair, Central Football and Ellerslie.
Saturday’s other game pitches the two winless teams against each other, giving both the chance to finally get a win — in Ellerslie’s case, the club’s first-ever win at this level.
On Sunday, Western Springs can continue their good form with a home game against the disappointing Canterbury United Pride.
Springs are aiming for back-to-back Grand Finals and as the winners of this year’s Kate Sheppard Cup, can target a national league/cup double.
Defending champions Eastern Suburbs won’t give up their crown lightly and they travel to play CF Wellington United who have the ability to cause an upset.
Wellington Phoenix are at home to high-flying Auckland United, the current Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier League champions.
Zoe McMeeken has been in top form for the Nix of late but she’s been included in the provisional squad for the club’s A-League game against Brisbane Roar on Saturday.
Player to watch
Always be wary of players facing their former clubs.
The football gods seem to favour such players and CF Waterside Karori’s Renee Bacon will be worth watching on Saturday if she lines up against her former side, Southern United.
Bacon (27) is a class act at National League level and was the competition’s Most Valuable Player last year.
She’s been outstanding for Waterside Karori since moving from Otago two years ago, collecting a Capital Football Player of the Year award and a Golden Boot.
It’s been a tough Women’s National League so far for Ellerslie and Central Football, with both winless and in the bottom places.
They’ll both see this weekend’s clash as a chance to pick up much-needed points, but I think it’ll be a 2-2 draw with both winless streaks going on.
— Logan Smith
CF Wellington United have performed better than their current fifth-placing might suggest and while their chances of making the Grand Final are mathematically possible, logic suggests they need a miracle.
Such a miracle would start with beating Eastern Suburbs on Sunday, and I’m expecting Wellington United to go out with guns blazing.
If Suburbs aren’t at their best, the home side could topple the league leaders and defending champions.
I’ll tip a one-goal win to Wellington United.
— Jack Sharp
Games to be played on Saturday November 4, 2023
Southern United v CF Waterside Karori
Logan Park, Dunedin, 12.30pm
Ellerslie v Central Football
Michaels Ave, Ellerslie, 1pm
Games to be played on Sunday November 5, 2023
Western Springs v Canterbury United Pride
Seddon Fields, Westmere, 2pm
CF Wellington United v Eastern Suburbs
Petone Memorial Park, Lower Hutt, 3pm
Wellington Phoenix v Auckland United
Fraser Park, Lower Hutt, 4pm