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Northern outlook

Northern Football 4, Football South 0
Taharoto Park, Auckland, October 11 2015

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Hello, hello, it’s good to be back, it’s good to be back… It’s summer football time!!  As I have pointed out many times before, the one true benefit of being a football fan in New Zealand is the fact that we get football all year round. With the NRFL season (playoffs) wrapping up two weeks ago, and the ASB Youth League starting last weekend, that constitutes a completely seamless transition from winter to summer football. How good is that???

Yes – I am overjoyed, in an arguably pathetic kind of way, about all of this.

There was a call, in the build-up to the competitions review, to revert back to a winter national league structure. I am so relieved that this doesn’t appear to be on the cards in the near future for one big selfish reason: Without summer football I would have nothing to write about for six months of the year! It’s not just that though. There are plenty of other things I truly love about summer football, such as…

  • It’s warm.
  • It’s dry (usually).
  • I can sit on the grass and shoot from a low angle without getting a wet arse.
  • My shoes don’t get muddy.
  • My photos aren’t as noisy in brighter light.
  • The playing surfaces are better, resulting in more appealing football.
  • It’s professionally run – I know the numbers on the shirts will match the programme without any need to hassle the refs for team sheets.
  • I don’t have to get there early, I can just turn up and start shooting.
  • People are smiling more.
  • There are little birdies chirping in the trees!
  • I’ll stop there…

And it’s truly the highlight of my year to be able to write about the ASB Women’s League once again. I’m not kidding when I say this is the best league in New Zealand. What I love about it is the football is exciting, the contests are even and, unlike the ASB Premiership, the trophy is genuinely up for grabs – there are arguably six teams capable of taking this out. That was borne out yesterday when two of the four games went against many of the predictions I saw and at least one of the others – Northern vs South – was closer than we all thought it would be.

On paper, this Northern side is plenty formidable. Made up of equal dollops of two of the NRFL’s best women’s sides – Forrest Hill Milford and Glenfield – with a dash of Norwest added in the form of first choice Football Fern keeper Erin Nayler. If you are looking for competition favourites I would suggest you look no further! The only real question is will this group of super talented international quality players unite to form a cohesive unit? Either way, not too many people were giving Football South a chance of toppling them yesterday.

The thing was though, the plucky Southerners held their own, particularly in the first half when Northern looked a bit rusty. Struggling a bit perhaps, to find their combinations and rhythm, there was a fair bit of choice language emanating from the lips of the side in pink and black as not enough balls seemed to be ending up where their architects intended.

With the only goal in the first half coming from the spot via the boot of Katie Rood, South might have fancied their chances of nicking something from the match. But when push came to shove, Northern accelerated a bit from there after the break. CJ Bott headed home beautifully in the 60th minute and in so doing effectively put an end to the contest. The floodgates opened somewhat when Tayla O’Brien put things well and truly beyond doubt in the 81st minute and Rood iced the cake just four minutes later.

Despite the comprehensive score line, Northern will perhaps be slightly disappointed with that performance. But of course it’s only game one. Assuming they click, as I’m sure they will very soon, one might suspect there to be one or two more comfortable wins than that in their season to come. If anyone can put a lie to what I said above about the competitiveness of the ASB Women’s League, and turn it into a dull procession, it’s this lot!

Categories: NZ Women's National League

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Enzo Giordani

A grassroots sports photography enthusiast based in Auckland, New Zealand, and a fan of the most magnificent football club on earth - A.S. Roma.

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