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Comparing apples with oranges…

Eastern Suburbs 5, Three Kings United 0
Madills Farm, Auckland, May 12 2013

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I’ve been a slack-arse lately. I didn’t cover any local football last weekend and I haven’t done a women’s game for over a month, therefore yesterday it was time for a little catch-up. So yesterday I developed what turned out to be the slightly misguided impression that I could cover two full games in a row. The plan was to leave the Metro vs Bay Olympic Knockout Cup match slightly early, and leisurely make my way from Central Auckland over to Auckland’s glittering East for the Northern Premier League’s Eastern Suburbs vs Three Kings clash in plenty of time for kick-off.

The minor flaw in my cunning plan was that the Metro game was fascinating and I didn’t want to leave early. But the major folly of the endeavour very quickly became apparent when I arrived at the City end of Tamaki Drive with five minutes left until the scheduled kick-off. I then, rather predictably in hindsight, found myself picking my way towards Kohimarama at what felt like 2KPH in the midst of a convoy of the world’s most annoying Sunday drivers in the history of Sundays, heading to what could only have been the 95th annual Sunday Drivers Convention for the Criminally Slow and Excruciatingly Geriatric.

The game had already been going for 25 minutes when I arrived at my destination. Thankfully I had only missed one goal.

Both these clubs are aristocracy in the realm of Auckland women’s football. Eastern Suburbs have won the Northern Premier League six times and always seem to field a strong side that’s there or there abouts, while reigning Knockout Cup holders Three Kings have won the league four times and the cup four times. Both squads are star studded line-ups that include players who have represented our country at various age-group and senior levels.

Going into the match, Suburbs, along with Hamilton outfit Claudelands Rovers, had a perfect record – five games and five ticks in the win column. Three Kings on the other hand have struggled slightly by comparison with a mere four wins and one 2-0 loss to Claudelands in round 2. One of the many delicious prospects this clash threw up was the opportunity to measure Suburbs against the Hamiltonians. If they could dispatch Three Kings by more than Claudelands did, would that make them favourites for the title?

Well they did and arguably it does. Although I found it slightly curious to see Three Kings defender Kristen Molloy, a player who has impressed me many times in the past, on the bench when I arrived and while coach Andrew Clay certainly knows a damn sight more about football, not to mention the players at his disposal, than me, I couldn’t help but observe that when Molloy came on the goals stopped leaking and her distribution from the back seemed to greatly improve her team’s quality of possession. It may have been simple squad rotation but whatever the rationale I suspect the margin of the Eastern Suburbs victory might have been reduced if the strongest Three Kings backline had been on the pitch and so a true comparison with Claudelands won’t be possible until the two clubs face each other in round 11. Or at least, as a Claudelands fan, that’s what I’m telling myself.

Either way you can bet your arse that game is in my diary!

Categories: NZ Northern Women's Premier

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots football enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent club on earth - A.S. Roma. More info (including e-mail address) can be found here: https://in-the-back-of-the.net/about/

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