Football: Team face Auckland loaded with confidence

WaiBOP Football women's team are ready to rumble for the first battle of the Bombays of the ASB Women's League season.

The side travel to St Peter's College in Epsom on Sunday, to take on Auckland Football.

It's the second match of a double header, with Northern-based NZF U-17 hosting Northern Football on the St Peter's College artificial turf at noon.

WaiBOP head coach Peter Smith said his side were looking forward to the game which was gearing up to be pivotal in deciding which of the two sides was to join likely semifinalist Northern Football.

"This is a big game for both teams, however I wouldn't say there is any added pressure at this stage," Smith said.

"We've got a good relaxed atmosphere in the squad and are focusing on our own performance. We know if we play well, everything else will take care of itself."

Last week's 6-2 win over Northern-based NZF U-17 has been good for the WaiBOP squad with Smith saying there is a real "buzz" amongst the players.

"We're encouraged by the way the team played last Sunday. The girls knocked the ball about and looked very comfortable with players playing to the best of their ability."

WaiBOP striker Helen Collins has gone to the top of the ASB Women's League Golden Boot standings. Collins' four goals last Sunday have increased her season tally to five goals, which is two clear of Mainland Football's Monique Barker.

"Helen's in a fine vain of form. She's a huge player on and off the field. In the game she is constantly supporting the younger players, which is invaluable for the team. For a young player you just can't buy that sort of support."

Smith has made two changes to last Sunday's 16 player match day squad. Forward Jackie Pretswell and young defender Trudi Greig have been replaced by midfielders Katherine Robinson and Laura Phillips.

"The changes are purely for player rotation. We're looking to develop the players in our squad so we have to keep giving players opportunities. The more opportunities we can give to players at this level then as a federation we're the benefactors.

"It's also important for the culture of the squad that players are given opportunities. We're quite comfortable with the balance of our squad and the player rotation will have no effect on the game plan we're looking to implement against Auckland."

Smith said from the large player pool Auckland Football had available they were sure to put a quality team on the park.

"We've done a wee bit of homework on them and we know they'll be strong, organised players with a high technical range. We'll have to make sure we're on our toes because if we're not then we'll get punished."

ASB Women's League: Round 3

Auckland Football v WaiBOP Football

St Peter's College, Epsom, Auckland

Kickoff: 3pm

WaiBOP squad: Naomi-Beth Carter, Kylie Jens, Kate Carlton, Eileish Hayes, Libby Williams, Emma Baker, Rachel Porteous, Keri O'Connell, Katherine Robinson, Helen Collins, Issy Coombes, Ella Golding, Nicole Christensen, Megan Anderson, Jess Clark, Laura Phillips.

- Rotorua Daily Post

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