PREVIEW: It’s tight as one point separates top four teams in the Central League

posted in: Central League, News

By Luke Austin

With the top four sides all winning last weekend, Miramar Rangers retain their one point lead over Wellington Olympic, Napier City Rovers and Western Suburbs.

This week, Rangers host Napier in a crucial game at David Farrington Park.

Napier head coach Bill Robertson … his side can overhaul leaders Miramar Rangers with a win on Saturday.

Waterside Karori will look to continue their solid start to their season as they take on the Wellington Phoenix Reserves at Martin Luckie Park.

The Wharfies eased their way to a 4-1 victory over Stop Out last weekend and have moved up to 5th place, three points ahead of the Phoenix Reserves who have a game in hand.

Following their recent loss at home to Wests, Petone are winless since their opening round victory at Stop Out. They need to find some form in 2024 soon and have the opportunity to do so as they welcome North Wellington to Memorial Park.

North Wellington suffered a heavy loss last weekend, going down 6-0 to Miramar but they could leapfrog Petone with a win this Saturday.

Fans will be treated to a first Wakefield Derby of the season when Island Bay host Olympic on their side of the Wakefield Turf.

Olympic continued their good form with a solid victory over the Phoenix Reserves while Island Bay came away empty handed from their trip to the Hawkes Bay, falling to a 3-1 defeat to Napier City Rovers.

Expect a good atmosphere at this game, with both teams playing in front of a home crowd.

Bottom-placed Stop Out are away to Western Suburbs in the final game of the round on Sunday. A win could see the Hutt Valley team climb off the bottom of the table though it will be a tough task against the strong Wests outfit.

Game of the week

It’s an easy choice this week, with the clash between high-flying Miramar and Napier City Rovers the game to watch for football fans in Wellington this weekend.

Miramar remain undefeated heading into the weekend but face arguably their biggest challenge of the season so far against Napier.

The Blues have been in fantastic form on the road this season, scoring 11 goals across their two trips to the capital and could stake their claim as real challengers for the title with a win over Miramar.

Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues … been playing in the Central League for the Phoenix reserves.

Player to watch

Wellington Phoenix player Gabriel Sloane-Rodrigues (16) recently became the youngest men’s A-League player in the club’s history when he came off the bench against Melbourne City on March 9. He’s since signed his first pro’ contract with the club.

READ MORE: History-making teen signs three-year contract with Wellington Phoenix >>>>

In recent weeks, he has been featuring for the reserves in the Central League and scored his first goal of the season last weekend, a goal judged the round’s Goal of the Week.

Sloane-Rodrigues played for Auckland United and East Coast Bays before making the move south, joining the Phoenix in 2022, and earning selection to the New Zealand U-17 side.

The highly rated and exciting winger will likely be in action this Saturday at Martin Luckie Park and will be one to look out for as the Phoenix Reserves take on Waterside Karori.

Bold prediction

Last season’s meeting between Western Suburbs and Stop Out at Endeavour Park ended in a dramatic 3-3 draw.

With the up and down nature of some of the results in the Central League so far this season I would not be surprised to see Stop Out come away from Wests’ home turf with another result this Sunday.

Golden Boot

10 — Lucas Meek (Western Suburbs), Oscar Faulds (Napier City Rovers)
6 — Hamish Watson (Wellington Olympic)
5 — Sam Mason-Smith (Miramar Rangers)
4 — Jonny McNamara (Napier City Rovers), Luke Supyk (Wellington Phoenix Reserves), Nicolas Bobadilla (Miramar Rangers)


Games to be played on Saturday May 4, 2024

Miramar Rangers v Napier City Rovers
David Farrington Park, Miramar, 2.30pm

Waterside Karori v Wellington Phoenix Reserves
Martin Luckie Park, Berhampore, 2.30pm

Petone v North Wellington
Petone Memorial Park, Petone, 3pm

Island Bay United v Wellington Olympic
Wakefield Park, Island Bay, 3.30pm

Game to be played on Sunday May 5, 2024

Western Suburbs v Stop Out
Endeavour Park, Whitby, 2pm

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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