A fresh, inexperienced WaiBOP women's team have started their 2019 National Women's League campaign with a 3-0 loss to Auckland in Cambridge.
Football Ferns Steph Skilton and Katie Duncan gave the visitors a 2-0 lead at halftime before Britney-Lee Nicholson netted Auckland's third in the second half.
WaiBOP coach Nico Girard said the match "wasn't one for the purists" but felt his side produced some promising play.
"It probably wasn't a game a spectator would enjoy and there actually wasn't much created, for me the three goals they scored were quite random.
"I thought it was a strong group effort and I was happy with the progress each individual made over the course of the game. I thought they became more comfortable with what we're asking them to do."
WaiBOP's efforts were hampered by injury and late withdrawals. Further players, including OFC Under-19 Golden Ball winner Grace Wisnewski, along with a trio of Claudelands Rovers players who were engaged in their club's NRFL entry play-off on Sunday, will join the squad for the coming games.
"Our key aim for this match was to get no more injuries," Girard said.
"So in that sense it was mission accomplished. We're looking to build a squad of players who want to be here and want to play for each other at this level. Despite today's thin playing roster I thought the players did well, given the circumstances. It's a starting point and we'll be looking to build from here."
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