Pride's title defence starts with understrength team

The Pride won their fourth National Women's League title in December.
The Pride won their fourth National Women's League title in December.
Canterbury United Pride begin the defence of their National Women’s League title when they host Capital at English Park on Sunday.

Pride coach Alana Gunn will have a tough task putting together a full strength team for the opening round with more than half a dozen of the 22 players recently named in the full Pride squad unavailable due to national team commitments or injury. She’s confident the defending champions will have a strong starting 11, but admits the bench will lack depth.

Lara Wall, Gabi Rennie, Tahlia Herman-Watt, Marisa Van der Meer are all unavailable due to being away with the New Zealand under-19 team in Rarotonga. Macey Fraser and Britney-Lee Nicholson are expected to be left out due to arriving home today after a trip to China with the national Futsal side, meanwhile striker Cody Taylor is expected to potentially miss the whole season due to injury.

Last year the Pride won nine and lost three of their 12 round-robin games to advance to the final where they defeated top qualifiers Northern Lights 3-2 after extra-time. The goal this year will be to once again make the grand final come December.

“I think we’ve got a stronger squad than last year, so our first goal will be to get to the final,” said Gunn.

The match against Capital at English Park kicks off at 1pm.

2019 Pride squad
Una Foyle, Marisa van der Meer, Rebecca Lake, Lara Wall, Annie Gilchrist, Chloe Jones, Gabi Rennie, Tahlia Herman-Watt, Jayda Stewart, Annalie Longo, Macey Fraser, Lauren Dabner, Whitney Hepburn, Jasmine Donald, Britney Lee Nicholson, Sam Senior, Cody Taylor, Frankie Morrow, Ellena Firth, Kate Taylor, Nicola Dominicovich, Bel van Noorden.