PREVIEW: Upset win by Hamilton Wanderers stirs up NRFL Women’s Premiership

By Joan Grey

Auckland United and West Coast Rangers have tightened their grip on the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premiership, with an eight-point chasm between themselves and third-placed Fencibles.

Women’s Premiership fans can enjoy four matches this weekend, with games spread across Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Game of the week

In the last round, Hamilton Wanderers earned their first three points of the season with a 1-0 upset victory over Eastern Suburbs.

A 50th-minute goal from Wanderers’ vice-captain Stella Neems was the match-decider.

This Sunday, they’ll face Fencibles United at Riverhills Park.

Another win for Wanderers could potentially lift them above Hibiscus Coast and off the bottom of the table.

Fencibles United sit third on the table, and they defeated Wanderers 5-1 in the opening round.

But last weekend, Fencibles managed only a 1-1 tie with sixth-placed Ellerslie.

Suddenly, it’s all on for the Waikato side as they sniff the chance of a second upset win.

Player to watch

Hannah Mitchell.

Only three goals have sneaked past Auckland United’s goalkeeper Hannah Mitchell in her seven games this season.

The 23-year-old New Jerseyite brings a wealth of experience, including time with America’s Cedar Stars Academy, NCAA Division I football with UCLA and the University of Arizona, and Scotland’s U-19 Women’s National Team.

At UCLA, Mitchell was coached by 77-capped former Football Ferns goalkeeper Jenny Bindon.

Bold prediction

Eastern Suburbs and Western Springs are neck and neck on ten points in fourth equal position. After strong starts to the season, the two sides have faltered in recent weeks, both having lost their last three matches.

It has the ingredients for a fiery match at Madills Farm. I’ll opt for the middle ground, 1-1.

Golden Boot

8 — Sofia Garcia (Eastern Suburbs)
7 — Shannon Henson (West Coast Rangers), Zoe Benson (Eastern Suburbs)
6 — Danica Urlich-Beech (Hibiscus Coast), Rene Wasi (Auckland United)
4 — Bree Johnson (West Coast Rangers), Charlotte Roche (Auckland United)
3 — Alexis Cook (Auckland United), Maisy Dewell (West Coast Rangers), Megan Lee (Western Springs), Rosie Missen (Fencibles United)


Games to be played on Friday May 17, 2024

West Coast Rangers v Hibiscus Coast 
Fred Taylor Park, Whenuapai, 7.30pm 

Auckland United v Ellerslie
Keith Hay Park, Mt Roskill, 7.30pm 

Games to be played on Sunday May 19, 2024

Fencibles United v Hamilton Wanderers
Riverhills Park, Pakuranga, 1.30pm

Eastern Suburbs v Western Springs
Madills Farm, St Heliers, 1pm

Joan Grey

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

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