Waikato Bay of Plenty 1, Northern Football 6
St Peter’s College, Cambridge, November 23 2014
I want you to fix your eyes upon this shiny watch… Concentrate… Look at it as it sways… backwards and forwards… Forwards and backwards… Your eyes are veeeeeeery heavy… You are getting veeeeery sleepy… Sleeeeeeeeeeepy… You are falling asleeeeeeeeeep………..
Now. When I say the words “wakey wakey”, you are going to open your eyes. And when you open your eyes you are going to be a changed football team. Because as soon as I say the magic words, you will be just as good a football team without Helen Collins as you are with Helen Collins!
If only it was that simple. If I had the answer I’d be a football coach, and I am very much not, so I have no idea how to go about it, but it’s reasonably clear to me that the secret to getting WaiBOP into the semi-finals of this competition next year is to somehow convince them that they are better than they think they are. It shouldn’t be a hard sell, because it’s true. They are a very good football team with plenty of skill and talent – I have seen it. But for some reason when they don’t have Helen Collins they don’t play with confidence.
The frustrating thing about it is their attack is not what suffers without their goal machine. Ella Golding is a good striker and has a good goals to games ratio when Helen is not in the side. The problem is down the end that Helen has little to do with aside from the fact that when a team is attacking it’s not having to defend…
Goals conceded by WaiBOP with Helen Collins on the pitch in 2014 – 1, Goals conceded when Helen Collins is not on the pitch in 2014 – 18. I mean, I get it that the team lifts when she’s there but those numbers are absurd.
I’m even less of a psychologist than I am a football coach but I reckon it’s all in their heads.
Good way to finish the year for Northern. Another talking point from the season is surely the appointment of Jenny Bindon as Northern’s coach ahead of the man who has got them to the final the past two seasons in a row and won the league on one of those occasions – Mauro Donoso. Bindon’s appointment sparked off a heated debate at the time about ‘gender-based’ appointments as opposed to what is perceived as picking the best person for the job regardless of gender. No doubt Northern’s relatively poor showing will be put down to Bindon’s inexperience. New Zealand Football’s long term goal of having women’s football coached and refereed by women will be open to criticism once again.
I am on the record at the time this controversy first came up as supporting giving women a chance whenever possible and I don’t back away from that now. Developing the women’s game in New Zealand should not just be about the players. Women deserve a fair go as players, as coaches, as officials, on boards and in every other facet of the game. You can’t get experience without being given an opportunity and if the clubs aren’t doing it (there was only one club coached by a woman in the NRFL last season and indications are there will be even fewer in 2015) then the federations have to. I am sure Coach Bindon will have learned a lot from her debut season in charge and I hope she is given an opportunity to put those lessons into practice in 2015 with more of her federation’s top female playing talent making themselves available…
In other results this week, Auckland have also made a shock exit from the league after going down 6-2 to New Zealand Development at William Green! It’s worth pointing out that Auckland are a traditional powerhouse of this competition but the fact that they are coached by a bloke will certainly not come up when people discuss their failure… Double standard much?
Development will now host next week’s semi-final against Capital, who snuck past Central 2-1 today. In the other match, Mainland took care of South 4-0 to clinch the home final.
I will be following this competition right through to its conclusion, including a trip to Christchurch on December 7 for the season climax. It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas!
Categories: NZ Women's National League
A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.