Southern United drawn to meet big guns first

Southern United faces a tough start to its 2017-18 national football league campaign.

It opens its season against Auckland City at Sunnyvale Park on October 22, before hosting Eastern Suburbs on October 29.

Both sides will pose big challenges. Auckland City is a perennial favourite and Eastern Suburbs is a quality team, on the cusp of last year's playoffs.

An away match against Tasman United follows, before a tough road trip to play Waitakere United.

That means Southern United plays three of the league's toughest sides in the first four rounds.

Hawke's Bay United, which made last year's top four, is next at home - one of two Saturday games at Sunnyvale Park.

The other Saturday game comes later in the season, against Hamilton Wanderers, on March 10. The team is scheduled to play all nine of its home games at Sunnyvale Park.

It will also have three games televised live, all away from home.

The match against Waitakere United on November 12 and the A-league curtain raiser against the Wellington Phoenix reserve side in Wellington on November 25 will both be broadcast live, as will its December 3 match-up with Hamilton Wanderers.

The first round of full competition begins on October 22, although Auckland City and Team Wellington will start their campaigns a week earlier.

The competition continues until December 17, at which point every team will have played each other once, before a two-week break over Christmas and new year.

It resumes on January 7, with split rounds on February 11 and 18, as well as on February 25 and March 4.

March 18 is the last day of league action, before the semifinals on March 24-25 and the final on April 1.


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