Women look to im­prove

Waikato News - - FRONT PAGE - Tom Row­land

A large con­tin­gent of Hamil­ton Wan­der­ers play­ers make up the bulk of WaiBOP’s na­tional women’s league team an­nounced last week just be­fore they faced 2017 cham­pi­ons Auck­land Foot­ball last Satur­day at Gower Park in Hamil­ton.

Newly ap­pointed head coach Michael Mayne re­leased his 21-player squad, with 13 mem­bers of the squad hav­ing rep­re­sented Wan­der­ers, which fin­ished third in the win­ter sea­son this year. There were also six call-ups from the Claude­lands Rovers squad which was rel­e­gated this sea­son.

It is a mixed bag of young­sters and ex­pe­ri­enced play­ers, with 16-year-old Grace Wis­newski and 17-year-old Kelli Brown two key at­tack­ing play­ers for the side.

Brown fin­ished the win­ter sea­son as run­ner-up to the golden boot with 14 goals, while Wis­newski had sev­eral big per­for­mances for Wan­der­ers in­clud­ing a brace against cham­pi­ons Glen­field Rovers.

Mayne says his goal this sea­son is to cre­ate an en­vi­ron­ment where Waikato play­ers are not forced to leave the re­gion for sum­mer league foot­ball.

“There is a great rep­re­sen­ta­tion of Waikato born and raised play­ers all play­ing in other NWL teams or in higher over­seas leagues,” Mayne said.

“I think there is an op­por­tu­nity to re­tain our top play­ers with a more aligned and pro­fes­sional set up for the fe­male side of the game.” He has brought with him sev­eral mem­bers of his Melville back room staff — in­clud­ing Si­mon Tyn­del — which won the di­vi­sion one league last month.

“His ex­pe­ri­ence and his qual­i­fi­ca­tions will be a great for these play­ers and he is some­one who un­der­stands fully how I want to play.” Tyn­del will take charge of the squad on the back end of the sea­son, with Mayne off to as­sist Leon Birnie at the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay.

“He holds the rel­e­vant qual­i­fi­ca­tions which are hard to find in this re­gion and while I am away he is some­one I can fully trust to im­ple­ment the pro­gramme needed over that time.”

WaiBOP fin­ished sixth place last sea­son, and Mayne wants to im­prove both the re­sults and level of foot­ball. “We want to be in that top four come the end of the sea­son. The goal is to do this while also show­cas­ing our best play­ers and putting them in the shop win­dow for higher hon­ours.”

“We will do what ever is needed to get the best out of the team, but the foun­da­tion of our play will be ef­fec­tive pos­ses­sion and ag­gres­sive de­fend­ing.”

This sea­son the Waikato lost Claude­lands Rovers as a rep­re­sen­ta­tive in the premier league, and Mayne wants to add some value to the re­gion.

“Wan­der­ers have had a strong sea­son in the win­ter sea­son. But over­all I think it could be far more pro­duc­tive and far more pro­fes­sional than it cur­rently is. I want to make the fe­male game in this re­gion as strong as it has been in the past and pro­duc­ing more Foot­ball Ferns that can cope with in­ter­na­tional foot­ball.”

WaiBOP will play its mid Oc­to­ber dou­ble header week­end in Palmer­ston North. “Field avail­abil­ity in Hamil­ton is a real strug­gle. All pitches are sched­uled to have ren­o­va­tions or have tour­na­ments on them in the week­ends we needed games in WaiBOP.”

Photo / Grant Stan­tiall

Chelsea El­liott in ac­tion.

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