PREVIEW: Tight at the top as United and Rangers vie for Premiership lead

By Joan Grey

Pressure is mounting at both ends of the Lotto NRFL Women’s Premiership table as the competition progresses past halfway.

With only a single point separating leaders Auckland United and West Coast Rangers, neither side has room for slip-ups.

In third place are Eastern Suburbs and Fencibles United.

Suburbs’ narrow victory over Fencibles in the previous round brought them level on points.

For teams near the foot of the table, points are becoming vital to avoid relegation.

Ellerslie’s Anita Trudgen … helping her side find mid-season form. Photo: Jackie Tran Van Phototek.

Game of the week

Resurgent seventh-placed Ellerslie faces faltering fifth-placed Western Springs under the Friday night lights at Seddon Fields.

After taking some time to find form, Ellerslie have notched two wins and two draws in recent weeks.

Ellerslie’s attack has clicked into gear, scoring 11 goals in their last five games, with help from mainstays Leigh Atkin, Hollie Leona, and Anita Trudgen.

In the previous round, the Ponies almost upstaged league second-placers West Coast Rangers with two late goals, losing 3-4 when the whistle blew.

Springs have stumbled in recent weeks, and haven’t secured a league victory since April.

A win for Ellerslie could see them leapfrog Springs into fifth place.

Player to watch

Kate Duncan.

Ellerslie bolstered their squad this season by signing former Auckland United midfielder Kate Duncan.

The former Baradene player has experience playing NCAA Division I soccer for Drexel University in Pennsylvania, and before that represented New Zealand at U-17 level and trained with age-group squads from Under-16 to Under-20 level.

Duncan (20) could prove vital in Ellerslie’s efforts to climb the table.

Bold prediction

I sense an upset this weekend.

Bottom-placed Hamilton Wanderers are capable of throwing a wrench in the works for high-flying West Coast Rangers.

Wanderers are beginning to find their stride and have recently given a few of the top sides a run for their money.

Last weekend, in their Kate Sheppard Cup fixture, Wanderers pushed Suburbs to the limit, and Suburbs needed a 90th-minute goal from youngster Millie Boyle to snatch a 4-3 win.

Golden Boot

10 — Danica Urlich-Beech (Hibiscus Coast), Shannon Henson (West Coast Rangers)
9 — Sofia Garcia (Eastern Suburbs)
7 — Bree Johnson (West Coast Rangers), Charlotte Roche (Auckland United), Rene Wasi (Auckland United), Zoe Benson (Eastern Suburbs)
5 — Chloe Knott (Auckland United), Rosie Missen (Fencibles United)
4 — Megan Lee (Western Springs)


Game to be played on Friday June 7, 2024

Western Springs v Ellerslie
Seddon Fields, Westmere, 7.30pm

Games to be played on Sunday June 9, 2024

West Coast Rangers v Hamilton Wanderers
Fred Taylor Park, Whenuapai, 1pm

Hibiscus Coast v Eastern Suburbs
Stanmore Bay, Whangaparaoa, 1pm

Fencibles United v Auckland United
Riverhills Park, Pakuranga, 1.30pm

Joan Grey

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

More football stories