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Be afraid…

Forrest Hill Milford 8, Papatoetoe AFC 2
Huapai Domain, Auckland, March 23 2014

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I was going to head down to Western Springs and check out the finals action in the Auckland City FC under 17 tournament today, but in the end I decided I couldn’t face it. I popped in yesterday to do a yet to be published interview with a certain Football Fern goal machine and snapped a few photos while I was there. But while it was pleasant enough, it was a bit more hectic than I’m used to and parking was a slight issue. Yes that’s right, I am 86 years old. The truth is fun-filled festivals of football are not really my scene. I like a barren cow paddock, three spectators and a Yorkshire Terrier. Give me the NRFL any day. Besides, the ACFC tournament is well covered elsewhere, you don’t need an inane write-up from me and there are photos all over Twitter and Facebook. I’d much rather go and cover something different that isn’t on many other people’s radar screen. So that’s what I did today.

Huapai domain was the backdrop for more Women’s Premier pre-season action as Forrest Hill Milford took on Papatoetoe with two weeks left before the season proper. All eyes are once again on FHM as we look to see if the rumours are true that their squad now contains the whole Football Ferns starting XI, the Harlem Globetrotters, Richie McCaw and Abby Wambach (who is very pissed it looks like she will only be making the bench).

The truth is much more scary. Oh. My. God. Their starting eleven today looked like this: Elise Donovan, Kate Seatter, Emily Jensen, Chloe Knott, Michelle Windsor, CJ Bott, Casey Ridsdale, Emma Rolston, Briar Palmer, Dallas Olsen and Tayla O’Brien. On the bench they must have been a bit short but still, just casually, they had Chloe Wilson and Owen Morgan with Lily Alfeld watching on although not on the team sheet… So no fewer than seven under 20 internationals, some others who aren’t far behind them, and who knows if that was a full strength line-up…

I hesitate to write yet again about Forrest Hill Milford and rumours of big bucks raining down from the heavens to shower riches upon all who don the swan, but it’s quite hard not to. The temptation is overwhelming even if it feels like about ten minutes ago that I wrote the last one of these. But that is interesting in itself. If you read what I wrote this time last year, you could be forgiven for thinking that this team was on a collision course with destiny, they were sure to win the league and nothing short of a miracle could stop them.

Funnily enough though, they didn’t win the league. In fact, they ended up finishing a pretty distant fifth, 18 points behind the champion Eastern Suburbs outfit. As was pointed out to me on Twitter earlier, this season’s incarnation of FHM will find their depth tested immeasurably as well, when the Under 20 World Cup gets underway in August, so don’t start engraving the club’s name on the trophy just yet!

In all seriousness though, when it comes to the crunch I am a fan of all of these ladies individually and the fact that the new signings have in part come from other parts of the country is great for the strength and depth of the Northern League, so I do wish them every success. Well, almost every success… I‘m still cheering for Claudelands! A leopard doesn’t change its spots.

One thing’s for sure however, they had far too much firepower for Papatoetoe today, even though the plucky underdogs battled hard and earned their two goals. The other talking point of the game was the ejection of FHM coach Mauro Donoso partway through the second third for yelling something at the ref after an offside call he wasn’t enamoured with. He can’t have been too worried though, camped down by the corner flag by himself for the second half of the match. With a team like that, he could spend the next few months in Tahiti and they’d coach themselves!

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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