Papakura City in premier league race
Papakura City women have delivered their club the premiership it long sought.
They’ve scored the AFF/NFF conference league title with a run of 12 win, two draws and a loss to finish nine points clear of runners-up Ellerslie..
It’s the first major title in ages for a Papakura City women’s team and it has earned them a crack at playing in the premier league next season.
They must beat Waikato/Bay of Plenty champions Tauranga City over two legs to win promotion. The first game is at McLennan Park, Papakura on Sunday at 1pm . The second is in Tauranga on September 17.
The team was coached by Liam Martin who’d never run a women’s team before. Neither had he coached at this level in New Zealand before.
‘‘It was a massive team effort. The first team players were great to work with. The work ethic was always high and the level of commitment was great considering these players are all balancing their training with home life, work, school or family.
‘‘Overall I couldn’t have asked for a better group of players to work with.’’
Martin says the contribution manager Clare Elson couldn’t be underestimated and that the team had enjoyed wonderful support at training from the reserves and from the membership as a whole.
Captain Sophie McLachlan says Martin has taken the team to another level.
‘‘We have developed a really strong women’s first team. Many of us have played together for years, which has helped us to play well as a team and connect on the field.
‘‘Liam has built on this and been a key factor in our success this year, introducing a new formation and style of play which has helped us to play more effective and successful football.’’
McLachlan also highlighted the support the women are now getting and says it has contributed to their success.
The women’s reserves were runners-up in their league. The premier men finished seventh.
Papakura City squad: Sophie McLachlan (capt), Marlies James (vice capt), Sammy Butler, Matina Rickard, Meripa Seumanutafa, Liz Takerei, Libby Williams, Jess Peckett, Jasmin Elson, Hannah Littlewood, Jax David, Georgia Irvine, Mandy Wilson, Sophia Fromont, Sarah Mvimbi, Rebecca Blyth, Liam Martin (coach), Clare Elson (manager).