The clean sheet: 24 June

Ah, winter. There are plenty of joys of living in our southern paradise. The weather at this time of year — for most people — is not one of them. Freezing cold mornings and evenings, white pitches and a wind that cuts right through you have greeted us this week. It always adds to the feeling on the pitch, although those who are watching might want to wrap up warmly this week.

Alex Cox heads the ball for Green Island during a game earlier this month. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Alex Cox heads the ball for Green Island during a game earlier this month. PHOTO: STEPHEN JAQUIERY
Green Island has a chance to get a second win on the board, as it travels to Christchurch to face Nomads United tomorrow. It claimed its only win — a scrappy 1-0 victory — against the same opponent in the first round. Across town, Mosgiel will look to close the gap on the top half of the competition against Ferrymead Bays. In Dunedin, the so-far-untouchable Christchurch United travels south to face the Dunedin City Royals at the Logan Park Turf, at 12.30pm tomorrow. The biggest game of the day, though, will likely be in Nelson, when Nelson Suburbs hosts Cashmere Technical. Second-placed Tech holds a five-point lead over third-placed Suburbs. A win would go a long way to securing a national league spot for Tech, and a loss would make for an interesting finish to the season.

The Dunedin City Royals have, predictably, won their way through the local rounds in the Kate Sheppard Cup. They have put together an outstanding season so far, even by their own lofty standards. They are unbeaten in their 13 games, across all competitions. More impressively, their combined score is 93-1 — yep, they have conceded just one goal. The national quarterfinals, and a trip to Christchurch to play a somewhat surprise winner Cashmere Technical, will test how good this team really is. There are plenty of southern connections on that Cashmere team. Mikaela Hunt and Lara Wall accounted for three of the four goals when Dunedin Technical — now the Royals — won the Cup final in 2018, while Kate Guildford was also a long-time player on that team.

Kosta Barbarouses is back with what is looking to be a very handy Wellington Phoenix team for next season. The 32-year-old has bounced around the A-League over the past 15 years, but this will be his third stint with the Phoenix. Returning to a club once is common enough. Doing so twice — in any sport — is far rarer.

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