PREVIEW | Lotto NRFL Men’s RD 17

The long shadow of relegation is cast over all three Lotto NRFL Men’s Divisions as multiple clubs battle to stave off the dreaded drop.

Onehunga Mangere coach John Bennett says the Mountain Men’s showdown with Te Atatu takes on cup final proportions as they seek to beat the drop from Lotto NRFL Division Two.

The Mountain Men have struggled this season but are still alive as they seek to turn around their fortunes.

“This game this weekend is our cup final, that’s how important it is to our season.

“Winning puts us in the driver’s seat for staying in Lotto NRFL which is critical to our club.

“A loss would leave us depending on others to beat Te Atatu,” Bennett said.

In Division One, Metro can take advantage of Ellerslie’s weekend off by defeating Tauranga City United. All three points for the Central Aucklanders will see them draw level on points with Ellerslie, making for an interesting relegation battle in the remaining weeks.

Premier Division outfit Forrest Hill Milford can also take advantage of a team having a weekend off in the league.

A win for the North Shore outfit over bottom placed Manurewa will lift them out of the relegation zone by a single point.

Elsewhere across the division’s Hibiscus Coast and Oratia United host Manukau City and Waitemata respectively in Division One while the second and last Premier Division match this weekend see’s Glenfield Rovers and East Coast Bays lock swords at McFetridge Park.

A full round of fixtures is taking place in Division Two with promotion seekers Fencibles United and Waiheke United taking on Mangere United and Northland while Papakura City face a trip north of the Harbour Bridge to Albany’s Rosedale Park.

A Waikato/Bay of Plenty derby rounds out the weekend’s action at Stembridge Road as Ngongotaha host Claudelands Rovers.

Rescheduled matches (29 July)
Hamilton Wanderers vs Onehunga Sports
Birkenhead United vs Waitakere City|
Mt Albert Ponsonby vs North Shore United
Ellerslie vs Melville
Western Springs vs Franklin United

Photo courtesy