Teams gear up to secure all-important spots

Last week, Southern Premier League's Green Island AFC secured the trophy after three decades, locking it in with three rounds still to go.

With 12 games undefeated this season, their 4-0 win to Mosgiel last week ensured the clean slate with those three points securing top spot.

All central teams will play at home this weekend across the Women's Premier League and Southern Premier League.

This will be a great opportunity for home club supporters to get down and cheer on their teams as they battle for final placings, being second to last fixture of the season (WPL & SPL bottom 5) and third to last (SPL top 4).

This week in the SPL we are up to round 4 of the split. In the top 4  Wanaka AFC are hosting  Mosgiel AFC and are in good spirits leading up to it!

Last week's win was the first points gained against the other top 3 sides this season, and head coach Ian Bell welcomed the confidence the squad has gained from the victory.

“Training this week has been problematic, with injuries and work commitments keeping numbers low,” Bell said.

“With a firm belief in the squad, and its ability, I am confident of putting in a much improved performance from the previous two games against Mosgiel.”

Danillo Santana has a toe injury, while Weston Bell has a knee injury - the most recent players to succumb to long-term injuries ruling the pair out for the remainder of the season.

Wanaka’s ever reliable Paul Hodgson is yet to recover from his knee injury sustained last week, and will be greatly missed as Bell said he brings “a work ethic and attitude second to none in the squad.”

On a positive note, Steve Pleskun and Fletcher Cavanagh’s return this week will aid Wanaka’s attacking options.

“Mosgiel are a well organised team who know how to win games, so we will need to be at our very best if we are to break our duck against them.”

Bell has asked his experienced players - captain Vanhees, Carmichael, Grehan and Pleskun to lift their game another notch and lead the younger players - who undoubtedly have potential but are new to the top 4 environment.

Otago University AFC host season winners Green Island AFC on home turf.

Uni head coach Darren Hart is looking for his team to bounce back after a disappointing result last weekend that ended the (very) slim chances of pushing the league challenge to the end of the season.

“The unavailability of 10 players and a very challenging surface out at Wanaka made for a disjointed game in which both teams struggled to fashion good chances, but the surface should not be a problem for either team on Saturday at the turf," Hart said.

“University have not dropped points so far this season at home and will be looking for some big games over the next few weeks to finish in a strong positive fashion.

“Hopefully we should see the return of a number of players to the squad for Saturdays game bringing our strength back up and push to maintain our unbeaten record and secure the shield for another few weeks.”

In the bottom 5, Queenstown AFC have a home game in central this week against Dunedin Technical AFC.

Jamie Whitmarsh, head coach of QT, is simply looking to improve on last week's win away at Northern.

“Our earlier fixture away against Tech was a positive experience in terms of performance and outcome. This weekend we will see more of our Youth players getting game time, as the club look to the future both on and off the pitch."

Hancock Park will see Caversham AFC  play Roslyn Wakari. With Cavy being top of the bottom 5, they will be looking to secure that placing with only two fixtures remaining.

Cavy head coach Richard Murray said the team will be refreshed coming off the bye and ready to fire.

“We need to make sure we are up to matching/bettering them during the game.

"The two teams had a good battle in the first round at Ellis Park and, despite dominating, we didn't put away the numerous good chances we had and were punished by a late Roslyn goal."

Murray said Cavy have been in good form, and going into the weekend are focused on finishing opportunities created.

Northern AFC has the bye this weekend, and still without a win thus far. They will be giving it their all next week for the last game of the season.

Green Island striker Stephanie Lee (left) in action against a Queenstown player. Photo: Adam Binns
Green Island striker Stephanie Lee (left) in action against a Queenstown player. Photo: Adam Binns

WOMEN'S PREMIER LEAGUE

The WPL heads into round 13 and the competition is closer than ever to lock in table placings.

The match between Otago University A and Green Island AFC will be played at the awesome ground conditions of Logan Park Turf.

Uni head coach Stuart Moffatt is aware Green Island will be a tough opponent this weekend.

“They are a close group who play for each other, are hard to break down, and are dangerous on the counter.

“Competition for places is strong in the squad. Jess Marvin has been superb in training and carried that through to last week's game.

"Nadege Salvador and Christy Barker are both back, while Katie Mawdesley's performances have grabbed attention in midfield.”

Moffatt said Uni will play as if they are still in with a “sniff of the title”, however unlikely, and will look to play their best until the final whistle of the season.

“I think we all agree it's a shame that this season is drawing to a close, as it just feels like it's only got started.”

Queenstown AFC find themselves on home soil against Dunedin Technical for round 13.

Tech is still unbeaten and has been showing clinical play right through the season. This weekend will decide if they win the WPL 2020 title.

QT head coach Mark Ford knows it will be tough, and acknowledged Tech have already proved themselves as best team in the league.

“We are coming off an excellent weekend on and off the pitch, and are really looking forward to this week's fixture.

“We are going to give it 100% and have a good time doing it… you never know what could happen!!”

Dunedin Tech head coach Craig Johnston said the team was looking forward to travelling to QT for this round - as it is one of the most beautiful places in New Zealand to play and Queenstown are superb hosts.

“We are still on the high from last weekend's effort and training this week has been top notch. Queenstown won’t be easy, they have had some very good results this year, especially at home.”

Tech will be missing a couple of players this week, including Zoey Thomas and Mik Gray. This will allow Johnston to continue to blood new players coming through.

Roslyn Wakari AFC host Otago University 2nds at Ellis Park before a bye in the next week.

Roslyn head coach Hamish Philip said: “Following last week's performance we have bounced back extremely well at training. With this being our last game of the league, our focus has been on the enjoyment factor.”

Mosgiel AFC have the bye and face Green Island for their final fixture next weekend.

- Supplied content  

 

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