After two years of division one football, Melville United have secured their return back to the Premier League, and in style.
Last year they came close, with a points tally that would have got them promoted in any other season before.
This year the team has recovered from the heartbreak of 2017. They are currently 12 points ahead of second place North Shore United, with 16 wins and 1 draw this season making them currently undefeated.
The squad have been led by the dynamic duo of Sam Wilkinson and Michael Mayne, both who have been appointed coaching roles during the summer. Wilkinson will be joining the All Whites U-17 set up, while Mayne will take the reins of the WaiBop national womens league team.
Wilkinson said that after last season there was pressure on the squad to go up this year.
"I'm very proud but it's also a big relief. The club needs to be in the Premier League and there's been a bit of pressure on us to get the job done," Wilkinson said.
He said the team have made improvements from last year, when in games against the big teams they were unable to close out results and hold onto the points.
"We've been more resilient in tough matches. Case in point on the weekend where we went a goal down in the second half. We haven't panicked in these moments this season - just stuck to the process."
"Waiheke away, Mt Albert-Ponsonby AFC away and yesterday's game were the toughest this season. All were played in difficult conditions against tough, experienced sides. We went a goal down in each game but showed great character and composure to get come back."
The team will now focus their attention on securing the Division One trophy before the off-season begins.
Both coaches will be pre-occupied with their other roles during the summer, but will still continue to plan for Melville's first season back in the Premier League.
Wilkinson said that he and Mayne would like to continue with the core of the team for next year.
"We will aim to keep the core of the team and are putting in place an off-season programme to keep them all at the club. Will need to strengthen in one of two areas but have total faith in this group of players being good enough to challenge in the Premier League."