Familiar look to women's league squad

Some quality lost, some quality gained, but for the most part Southern United's national women's league squad has a familiar feel.

The team has retained bulk of its players from last year as it looks to build on its fifth placing.

Mikaela Hunt will again lead the side from the defensive line.

It is a young line-up, but

many players throughout the league have been playing there since their teenage years.

There are a handful of significant losses.

Attacking weapons Lara Wall and Britneylee Nicholson will turn out for Canterbury United.

Midfielder Kirsty Hayr is in Auckland.

Former national age-group player Georgia Brown is a maybe.

She is back in Queenstown and the side is in discussions with her, although she was unsure whether she could commit at the moment.

Those losses are off-set by some useful pick-ups.

Defender Hannah Mackay-Wright and midfielder Rose Morton are both new to Dunedin and were part of the New Zealand side which finished third at last year's under-17 World Cup.

Coach Ignacio Sande said it had been great having both in the setup.

It was the retention rate from last year's squad which pleased him most, though.

Alongside Hunt, Kelsey Kennard is back to offer a very solid duo at the back.

It has genuine goal-scoring threats in Emily Morison, Renee Bacon and Ruby Anderson.

Shontelle Smith, Chelsea Whittaker and Mikayla Gray can create for both themselves and others in the midfield.

In goal, Jordan Woodward will look to continue last year's impressive form, although it is without Tessa Nicol, who will sit out with a knee injury.

While making the final would be great, Sande said the goal was continue to get better.

"It's the idea to continue to grow in the team, create a good environment when they come and to show they can grow as a player and perform," he said

"We approach it game-by-game and we try to be competitive every game and if we can we'll see if we can make the final.

"But the aim is to try to keep being one of the top teams if we can."

The season begins on Sunday next week, when Southern plays Central at the Logan Park Turf.

National women’s league

Southern United squad

Ruby Anderson, Renee Bacon, Samantha Baldwin, Mikayla Gray, Amy Hislop, Mikaela Hunt, Kelsey Kennard, Juliette Lucas, Hannah Mackay-Wright, Jade
Middleditch, Emily Morison, Rose Morton, Sammy Richards, Tahlia Roome, Lenda de Ronde, Madeline Roseke, Erin Roxburgh, Shontelle Smith, Zoe Thomas, Morgan Trainor, Chelsea Whittaker, Jordan Woodward

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