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NRFL a learning curve for Northland

Player Development is key for Northland’s Lotto NRFL Women’s Premier side while coach Carl Compaan is also under no illusion as to what’s at stake.

Northland were promoted to the Lotto NRFL off the back of an 8-3 aggregate victory over Rotorua United in the play-off series last year.

“We were very excited [to gain promotion],” Compaan said.

“The players were very nervous during the off season as we knew that the level of football would be a lot higher in the Premier Division.

“We entered the Joma Pre Season tournament as part of our preparation and it definitely provided a great platform as to what would be expected from the league.”

After 10 games, Northland currently sit one point outside of the relegation zone with one win and a draw to their name.

Having reached the half way point, Compaan admits his teams’ focus has shifted from what was primarily a development focus to now a results focus.

“Having the threat of relegation certainly shifts the focus to a more results focus instead of a development one for the second half of our season.

“Unfortunately the current system is very results driven which is understandable as you would like the top league to be very competitive, however it does not always consider the development work the smaller regions or clubs have to do to compete at this level.

Northland’s development in the league was underlined with a round 10 victory over Norwest United while a strong showing against Eastern Suburbs last weekend also shows their growth.

“Our win against Norwest was a culmination of our work and experimentation during the first half of the season and our commitment to improve and play and exciting brand of football,” Compaan said.

“The girls were over the moon and it just increased our belief in ourselves and that we are slowly earning the right to be in the Premier League.”

Northland will look to continue their steady improvement in results when they host Claudelands Rovers on Sunday.

Photo courtesy www.phototek.co.nz