Newcomer challenge looms over Rovers

Last year’s Women’s knockout cup winners, Glenfield Rovers are prepared for the challenge set by NRFL Women’s Premier League newcomers Papakura City at McFetridge Park on Sunday.

Rovers boss, Andy Clay is hoping his side can amass another three points this weekend, as Glenfield look to challenge for the title this season.

However, Clay is wary of the unpredictable threat Papakura pose in the league, labelling them the sleeping giant of the competition.

“They’re a bit of an unknown quantity, they’re a sleeping giant, they’ve got very good facilities, and they have all the support of the South Auckland region and I noticed they’ve already attracted players with NRFL pedigree.”

“I don’t think they’re going to be a pushover and that’s the message they’ll certainly be sending to our players, unknown quantity.”

The South Auckland based side has gone through a re-structure since winning the playoff to the NRFL, and Clay has seen that with the pedigree of players the club has attracted since the start of the season.

“They’ve got Marlies James, she played in the 2007 FIFA World Cup for New Zealand, so they’ve got a full international in their team.”

“There’s also the likes of Hannah Kraakman and Brittany Cunningham-Lee in their team and all their players are very athletic and competitive, so they know what’s required physically.”

“Cunningham-Lee is very direct and will beat you in behind with pace and strength, if you’re not careful, that is something we need to be very aware of.”

Papakura took on Forrest Hill in the first round of Lotto NRFL Women’s Fixtures and impressively held them to a 2-2 draw.

As for Rovers, their start to the campaign couldn’t have been more encouraging, as the North Shore based outfit brushed aside the reigning champions Three Kings 5-2.

With this result, the Rovers gaffer was obviously in high spirits with such a positive start but knows what lies ahead for the rest of the season if Glenfield are to win the league.

“Three Kings are defending champions, so it was a contest between heavy weights, cup champions vs league champions.”

“They’re going to be a title contender and to beat them fairly convincing was really, really pleasing.”

“The expectations are fairly high from within the team and within the club, they expect us to challenge for the league title and challenge for the cup title every year, so I don’t mind putting that pressure on players, they expect it, and so we’ll be looking to win both, it’s as straight forward as that, so there’s no ‘oh we’ll do our best, we’ll see how it goes’ we’ll be looking to challenge for both titles.”

The pair will meet at McFetridge Park on Sunday, kickoff is at 1pm.