PREVIEW: Top-of-table clash headlines next round of Central League games

posted in: Central League, News

By Luke Austin

A huge win over giants Wellington Olympic has given Western Suburbs an early lead in the Central League, but can they extend their hot streak against an in-form Miramar Ranger side?

The opening game of the round sees the Phoenix Reserves take on North Wellington under the lights at Alex Moore Park on Friday night.

Both sides picked up their first points of the season last weekend, with North Wellington holding on to earn a draw away to Stop Out and the Phoenix earning a last-minute win over Petone.

The Nix beat Petone 3-2 in a game that saw three goals in the last 10 minutes.

Here are the highlights:

North Wellington will hope for a repeat of last season’s home win over the Phoenix which proved crucial in ensuring their survival.

Island Bay United head to Memorial Park to face Petone.

The Bay went down to Miramar last weekend in a much-improved showing from their heavy opening-round defeat and will hope to earn their first points of the season.

Olympic are back at home for a second week as they take on Waterside Karori.

The Greeks will still be hurting following their loss to the West last weekend, and it will be interesting to see how the defending champions respond to their early setback.

Sunday’s game sees Stop Out make the trip north to Bluewater Stadium to take on Napier City Rovers.

The Blues put in an impressive showing in round 2, coming away from Wellington with a 5-1 victory over Karori. They will be favourites against Stop Out and will be keen to put on a show for their home fans.

Game of the week

Only two sides remain unbeaten heading into the weekend, and on Saturday, they meet at David Farrington Park.

Western Suburbs and Miramar have made impressive starts to their campaigns, but it is Wests who have caught the eye in particular by swatting aside Island Bay and then putting five past Olympic at Wakefield Park.

Can Western Suburbs extend their fast start, and can their new star player, Lucas Meek, add to his tally of seven goals in two games?

Miramar Rangers strengthened their squad over summer with a host of signings from the Waikato and Auckland regions.

The Kale Herbert-coached Rangers get their chance to make a statement if they can foot it with Wests and take over at the top of the table.

Nico Bobadilla.

Player to watch

While eyes will undoubtedly be on Lucas Meek, another player who could make a difference at David Farrington Park this Saturday is Miramar Rangers winger Nicolás Bobadilla.

The recent signing scored 11 goals in 10 Northern League games for Manurewa last season but Bobadilla (24) is yet to find the back of the net this campaign.

This Saturday’s fixture would be a fantastic time for the Argentinian to score for the first time in the Central League.

Bold prediction

I fear Waterside Karori could be on the wrong end of an Olympic onslaught at Wakefield Park this weekend.

The Greeks are sure to play with increased intensity as they look to bounce back from a rare loss in round 2.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see a big scoreline, with Karori falling to a second heavy defeat in as many weeks.


Game to be played on Friday April 12, 2024

North Wellington v Wellington Phoenix Reserves
Alex Moore Park, Johnsonville, 7.15pm

Games to be played on Saturday April 13, 2024

Miramar Rangers v Western Suburbs
David Farrington Park, Miramar, 2.30pm

Petone v Island Bay United
Petone Memorial Park, Petone, 3pm

Wellington Olympic v Waterside Karori
Wakefield Park, Island Bay, 3.45pm

Game to be played on Sunday April 14, 2024

Napier City Rovers v Stop Out
Bluewater Stadium, Napier, 2pm

Lukas Meek.

Golden Boot

7 — Lucas Meek (Western Suburbs)
3 — Jesse Randall (Wellington Olympic), Martin Bueno (Miramar Rangers), Oscar Faulds (Napier City Rovers)
2 — Cameron Mackenzie (Western Suburbs), Hamish Watson (Wellington Olympic), Jared Cunniff (Stop Out), Sebastian Barton-Ginger (Miramar Rangers)

Luke Austin

Luke Austin is a Wellington-based football fan and volunteer, who plays for Island Bay, and follows the Central League.

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