ASB Premiership Funbag: What's going on with Waitakere United?

By Niall Anderson, Steven Holloway

A determined Chad Coombes of Waitakere United with WaiBOP's Alexis Varela during the ASB Premiership Football match. Photo / Grant Stantiall/Photosport.
A determined Chad Coombes of Waitakere United with WaiBOP's Alexis Varela during the ASB Premiership Football match. Photo / Grant Stantiall/Photosport.

Time for your weekly edition of the ASB Premiership Funbag. Got something on your mind? Email the Funbag. Today, Waitakere United hit rock bottom, the ASB Premiership Hall of Fame and the league's most bi-polar personalities.

Your letters:

From Grant, Christchurch

After seeing WaiBOP destroy Waitakere, are they going to make the playoffs? Also, what is going on with Waitakere?

Anderson: WaiBOP are really playing lovely football right now, and I was in attendance for truly one of the most impressive displays I've seen from a Waikato-based national league side.

They play some quality two-touch football, have a strong midfield base and some sterling attacking weapons, which have only been added to by former Hawke's Bay midfielder and awful haircut pioneer Sean Morris.

Stephen Hoyle up front is trying to take away Holloway's title of "Best striker named Steve to play for Waikato", and if he keeps up his form, WaiBOP will be right in the mix with Canterbury, Wellington and Hawke's Bay for the right to join Auckland City in the playoffs.

Thankfully, we don't have to play the what-if game, as WaiBOP play those three teams in the next three weeks. If they deserve it, they'll make it.

As for Waitakere, their defence was truly a shambles, and centre back Sam O'Regan copped the worst of it, being subbed off in a slanging match with coach Chris Milicich who yelled "You're gone, keep going!" as he stormed into the tunnel.

O'Regan was probably on the motorway by the time Ross Haviland and Chad Coombes got sent off, with Coombes giving the SKY TV camera a big don't-argue on his way off.

Holloway: WaiBop were good and will make the top four. Waitakere were very, very bad. Easily the worst Waitakere team in ASB Premiership/NZFC history and probably their worst performance too.

From Cameron, Titirangi.

Say the ASB Premiership commissioner, yes they should have a commissioner, announces an ASB Premiership hall of fame. Which past players would make the cut and be named in the first class? Would Ivan Vicelich go through with 100% votes and how on Earth could a Phoenix Reserves player make the hall?

Holloway: The Godfather would be a banker for an ASB Prem/NZFC Hall of Fame, and he would get 100% of the votes, but he wouldn't make the first class - because I've invented some rules that won't allow it.

To be eligible for our HOF, a player or coach must have been retired for at least one year, which rules out a whole bunch of future Famers like Vicelich, James Pritchett, Benjamin Totori, Aaron Clapham and Allan Pearce.

Keryn Jordan, the best striker the league has seen, would be the first inductee alongside the crafty Grant Young and war horse Danny Hay.

I don't think a Phoenix Reserve team player would want to make the Hall of Fame, because it would likely represent a failed career in ASB Prem purgatory. But, it is possible.

Say, for example, Glen Moss sticks around as Phoenix first team keeper for the next five years. Oliver Sail could be playing exceptionally for the Reserves, but not good enough to knock Moss out of his first team gig. So, Sail bides his time by locking up a spot in the Funbag Hall of Fame. Well done Olly, we appreciate you.

From G Williams, Petone

On a scale of 1 to Jimmy Savile, how bad is this touch?

Holloway: Yea, it's bad.

From H Jekyll, Kingseat

Dear Funbag,

Who are the characters in the ASB Premiership who experience an extreme (and often bewildering) change of personality as soon as they step on the football pitch? That is, they go from being affable, genial personalities to complete psychos.

Holloway: Waitakere goalkeeper Danny Robinson and right back/midfielder/striker Chad Coombes are both lovely, caring, pleasant family men when they're not playing football. But put them in a competitive environment filled with egos and testosterone and they turn into maniacs.

Robinson has mellowed in recent years, but still has the ability to morph into a loud, angry, busy, playful psycho in goal, who is equally likely to bite your head off as he is slap your bum. In the throes of battle, his English accent will get stronger, his screams louder and his general behaviour nearly 100% more insane. But in the crazy world of goalkeepers, these are not necessarily bad traits to have, especially when his bark is worse than his bite.

Coombes is a tireless worker with the world's shortest fuse. When the red-mist comes down, and it will come down (four yellows and a red so far this season), anyone and everyone is a target. Late-tackles, elbows, verbal sprays, handbags and general tom foolery are all in Coombes' wheelhouse when the fuse is lit and he's almost guaranteed to pick up a booking before returning to a placid, calm, nice-guy dad as soon as the final whistle sounds.

Chad Coombes was sent off last night.
Chad Coombes was sent off last night.

From S Clarkson, Rarotonga

Dear Funbag,

Do we really need a mid-season break in the ASB Premiership? Would you agree we lose all sense of continuity for what is only a 14-game regular season - and they even play cricket on Boxing Day.

Anderson: Thank you for your question, Mr.Hudson. We wouldn't want those young hotshots heading off on holiday over the break and not getting in their regular daily training, would we?

I wonder if cricket could be a sport to copy in that regard, with Northern Districts often sending early January games to Mount Maunganui.

Could WaiBOP play at the Mount, and could Hawke's Bay target all the drunken souls at Rhythm and Vines for a one-off summer game in Gisborne?

Wellington could play at Upper H- no, Lower - huh, Palmerst- hmm, maybe Wellington could go on the road, but you get my drift.

I'd be interested to hear the theory for why the competition does go on summer break, because trying to be innovative is one thing semi-pro domestic competitions should definitely be doing.

From Douglas Wright, Auckland

Chaps, watching the Sunday fixture on TV, Waitakere barely mustered a smile after scoring. With the TV coverage this year, why haven't teams embraced the team goal celebration? And which overseas examples would you like to see replicated here in the ASBP?


There are so many goals in the ASB Prem that you'd expect even one out of every 40 or so celebrations could be unique, but alas most of them are of your regular "Run around like a headless chicken while seven teammates botch attempted high fives" standard.

The best we've had so far is James Musa using the corner flag like a fishing rod to reel in a teammate. (Either that or impaling someone with the flag).

However, there is a glaring popular celebration currently missing from New Zealand sport. Dabbing is happening all over the world in every sport, but the current Kiwi sporting landscape hasn't caught up.

Cricketers don't do much in the way of staged celebration (and boy will we shake our fist and scold them if they do), while there are very few opportunities for a basketballer to dab without getting screamed at by their coach to get back on defence.

The trend may disappear by the time the rugby and league seasons start up again, so it is time for Kiwi footballers to take the initiative and dab on em' folks!

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