PREVIEW: Early pacesetters go head-to-head in NRFL Women’s Premiership

By Joan Grey

Heading into round five, West Coast Rangers, Auckland United and Eastern Suburbs are the early pace-setters in the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premiership.

Narrowly trailing them is Western Springs, who have announced some significant signings as their campaign ramps up.

Springs’ new arrivals include former New Zealand age group international Rebecca Burrows, who played in the Newcastle Jets midfield in the A-league last season.

Former Eastern Suburbs midfielder Rebecca Burrows (left) has joined Western Springs. Photo: Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.

Springs have also signed goalkeeper Amberly Hollis who earned the Golden Glove award with Auckland United at the OFC Women’s Champions League last month.

Game of the week

Auckland women’s football giants Auckland United and Eastern Suburbs are set to collide at Keith Hay Park on Sunday.

In a doubleheader event, the women’s match kicks off at 3pm, ahead of the Northern League men’s fixture between Auckland United and Eastern Suburbs at 5.45pm.

Former Football Fern Katie Duncan returns to former club Auckland United this weekend as head coach for Eastern Suburbs. Photo: Joan Grey.

Auckland United won the 2023 Women’s Premiership, with Suburbs finishing runners-up a mere three points behind.

Their close rivalry looks to continue this season.

Auckland United steamrolled their way through their first three matches without conceding a goal. Their trophy cabinet must be groaning under the weight of their relentless recent successes: 2024 OFC Club Champions, 2023 Women’s Premiership and National League Grand Final champions.

Ella Findlay … a key player for Suburbs. Photo: Joan Grey.

Meanwhile, Eastern Suburbs have notched three wins from their first four games, their one loss being a 0-1 defeat to Western Springs.

Can Suburbs’ new head coach Katie Duncan guide her team to victory over her former club?

Duncan played and coached at Auckland United in 2022 before taking up her coaching role at rivals Eastern Suburbs.

Player to watch

New Zealand U-20 international Ella Findlay marshalled the Eastern Suburbs backline with calm confidence as centre back against Fencibles United in the third round.

Driving forward from deep positions, Findlay, with her precise line-breaking passes, sparked numerous dangerous attacks on the Fencibles goal.

Findlay has cemented herself as a key player for Suburbs, having been named the Eastern Suburbs Young Player of the Year in 2019, 2020 and 2021.

Bold prediction

Winless teams Hibiscus Coast and Ellerslie are separated by just one point on the table, and their clash could be hotly contested. I’ll tip a 2-2 result.

… one more thing

Northern Region Football will stream the Saturday match between Auckland United and Eastern Suburbs via their YouTube channel. Follow the link below to watch the match.


Games to be played on Friday April 19, 2024

Hibiscus Coast v Ellerslie
North Harbour Stadium, Albany, 7.30pm

West Coast Rangers v Fencibles United
Fred Taylor Park, Whenuapai, 7.30pm

Game to be played on Saturday April 20, 2024

Auckland United v Eastern Suburbs
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 3pm

Games to be played on Sunday April 21 2024

Western Springs v Hamilton Wanderers
Seddon Fields, Westmere, 1.30pm

Joan Grey

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

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