A+ score for Gram­mar girls’ sea­son

Auckland City Harbour News - - SPORT - By BEN ROGERS

The Mt Al­bert Gram­mar girls first XI sea­son has been noth­ing short of per­fect.

If win­ning the Auck­land League, the Auck­land Knock­out Cup and the Na­tional Cham­pi­onship wasn’t enough the girls did it with­out a blem­ish on their record.

Not only was the team un­beaten, the side went a step fur­ther and man­aged to not con­cede a goal all sea­son.

Cap­tain and goal­keeper Riva Fuimaono kept a sea­son-long clean sheet and played a huge part in the team’s suc­cess.

‘‘I nar­rowed it down and I think Riva had about half a dozen re­ally im­por­tant mo­ments where she had to save the team,’’ coach Paul Mar­shall says. ‘‘To be the goal­keeper that hasn’t con­ceded all sea­son is a fan­tas­tic ef­fort.’’

Fuimaono plays down her achieve­ment and cred­its her team­mates for help­ing her. De­spite the pres­sure to keep a clean sheet the keeper felt more re­laxed as the sea­son went on.

‘‘I didn’t be­come more ner­vous, I be­came more confi- dent in the girls each week. I could trust them more with ev­ery game we played,’’ the 17-year-old Mt Roskill res­i­dent says.

At the end of the sea­son the team boasted an in­cred­i­ble record of 114 goals for and zero against.

Both Mar­shall and Fui- maono put the team’s suc­cess down to a very strong sense of kin­ship.

‘‘I think it’s the bond we have, it’s so strong, and our re­la­tion­ship with Mr Mar­shall is re­ally strong as well.

‘‘We would do any­thing for each other,’’ Fuimaono says.

Mar­shall says that’s down to a strong team cul­ture.

‘‘We go out as a team for din­ner, meet be­fore school for break­fasts and have fun events like cul­tural nights,’’ he says.

‘‘The girls have a re­ally high workrate, they all work ex­tremely hard to­ward their goals and their de­sire to do well as a group im­por­tant.’’

MAGs has now won the Auck­land league six times in a row plus back to back na­tional ti­tles.

‘‘Win­ning the fi­nal at na­tion­als was a stand-out mo­ment.’’ Fuimaono says.

The majority of the side are year 11 and 12. They will lose three play­ers at the end of

is equally the year, maono.

Mar­shall ex­pects their suc­cess to con­tinue de­spite los­ing their star keeper.

‘‘A whole lot of things have come to­gether . . . and the girls are re­ally at another level now.

‘‘We plan to try and con­tinue ... with­out con­ced­ing a goal.’’



Amaz­ing record: The MAGs girls first XI had what they are call­ing an ‘im­mac­u­late sea­son’, not con­ced­ing a goal all year.

Clean sheet: Riva Fuimaono com­pleted an in­cred­i­ble fi­nal sea­son with the Mt Al­bert Gram­mar girls first XI.

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