Soccer: WaiBOP clash should be thriller

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National women's league action makes a long-awaited debut in Rotorua on Sunday when WaiBOP Football play Northern Football in their round five ASB Women's League.

The game at the Rotorua International Stadium is a replay of the 2011 national women's league final in which Northern defeated WaiBOP 3-0 on a cold, wet and windy Parrs Park artificial turf.

The teams have met once this season, in a round one clash at Fred Taylor Park in Auckland, with Northern winning 3-1.

After the match WaiBOP head coach Peter Smith felt the score was not a true reflection of the game, saying "on another day it could have been a different result".

Smith said his side were going to have to do the basics right.

"Retaining possession, 100 per cent passing rate, movement off the ball, all the basic stuff that should be bread and butter are essential to build a platform to move forward from," he said.

After a couple of below-par performances in their last two matches the WaiBOP players are looking to get back on track.

"We've had a good [training] session that was very constructive and a decent intensity and there is ... a bit of a buzz in the squad.

"We're looking to put on a good performance at a venue that is world class and are hoping to get a decent crowd along to cheer on the girls.

"I encourage the locals to come along and support the team."

A number of players who have represented New Zealand Football will be on show on Sunday and with free entry it is a great opportunity for the people of Rotorua to get a taste of Women's League football.

Smith has made one change to last weekend's match day squad for this Sunday's game, with injury forcing midfielder Katherine Robinson out and providing an opportunity for talented 13-year-old Shania Heath.

"Kat is touch and go at the moment with an injury niggle, hence the change. However, depending on how she recovers this week she may come back into the squad."

Smith described Heath as "a talented wee player".

"Shania is one for the future; she's another of our FTC (Federation Talent Centre) players whose development has benefited from being part of the squad."

A curtain-raiser between Waikato under-14 girls and Northern Football under-14 girls will be played before the ASB Women's League match.

ASB Women's League - Round 5

WaiBOP Football v Northern Football

Rotorua International Stadium, Rotorua, kickoff: 1pm

- Rotorua Daily Post

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