PREVIEW: Fresh faces give Rangers flying start in NRFL Women’s Premiership

By Joan Grey

Eastern Suburbs, West Coast Rangers and Fencibles United sit at the head of the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premiership table after victories in the first round.

Round two promises three separate gamedays this Easter weekend, with reigning champions Auckland United and Hibiscus Coast playing their first matches in the competition.

Game of the week

Auckland United start their Women’s Premiership campaign on Thursday night, against Ellerslie at Michael’s Ave Reserve.

Auckland United are riding a wave of success; last year, winning both the NRFL Women’s Premiership and National League, and last week winning the Oceania Women’s Champions League.

READ MORE: Auckland United crowned Oceania women’s champions after tight final >>>>

Their opponents, Ellerslie, find themselves on the back foot after a 1-0 loss against league newcomers Fencibles
United in their opening clash.

Fencibles controlled possession, but could not capitalise on their many opportunities, allowing Ellerslie to hold the
scoreline 0-0.

In the dying minutes of the match, a foul on Fencibles captain Rosie Missen in the box proved costly.

Louise Turley scores from the penalty spot for Fencibles United’s winner. Photo credit: Joan Grey.


Taking the penalty, Louise Turley powered the ball into the top corner beyond the reach of Ellerslie’s goalkeeper Petra Wedlake, to give Fencibles a winning debut in the top tier.

Stung by that late defeat, Ellerslie will search for a better result this weekend. The Ellerslie squad will be bolstered
by key players Cat Pretty, Abby Wright, and Ella James who missed the first round due to their involvement in the Ford Futsal Superleague.

Fencibles United’s Kate Berry (left) under pressure from Ellerslie’s Katie Mawdesley. Photo credit: Joan Grey.

Player to watch

Former New Zealand U-20 international Rene Wasi was Auckland United’s joint top goalscorer last year (tied with Chelsea Elliot with seven goals).

The pacy and versatile forward has won back-to-back Women’s Premiership competitions, with Northern Rovers in 2022 and Auckland United in 2023.

Wasi was named player of the match in Auckland United’s 2-0 National League grand final victory over Southern United last year.

READ MORE: Auckland United’s Rene Wasi named women’s Grand Final MVP >>>>

Rene Wasi … has a knack of delivering top performances in big games. Photo / Phototek.

Bold prediction

West Coast Rangers’ new signings aided their 3-1 win over Western Springs last weekend.

Striker Shannon Henson (23), who played for Auckland United last season, and was also a member of Northern Rovers’ 2022 title-winning side, scored Ranger’s second goal.

She also played for English club Leicester City between 2017-2019.

I think Rangers’ fresh faces and the confidence gained from their opening round victory will help them to a 4-2 victory over Hibiscus Coast.


Games to be played on Thursday March 28, 2024

Ellerslie v Auckland United
Michaels Ave, Ellerslie, 7pm

Games to be played on Friday March 29, 2024

Western Springs v Eastern Suburbs
Seddon Fields, Westmere, 1pm

Hibiscus Coast v West Coast Rangers
North Harbour Stadium, Albany, 7.30pm

Games to be played on Sunday March 31, 2024

Hamilton Wanderers v Fencibles United
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton, 1pm


Joan Grey

Friends of Football writer Joan Grey loves playing and writing about football.

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