The start of the new term means the start of winter sport around the country, and with club and First XI football, leading up to the National tournament in early September, there is lots on in the round ball code.
Below are some players to watch this year.
Oscar Browne (St Peter’s College, Auckland) - A fast and skilful attacker who was named MVP at the National Under-17 Club Champs this year with Western Springs who he also represents at Men's Premier level. St Peter’s haven’t been a major contender in Auckland for some time, but a player of Browne’s quality will no doubt boost their prospects.
Shannon Lucas (Rongotai College) - Despite having a near career-ending injury two years ago the Rongotai keeper got back into his work and make a name for himself by winning the golden glove award at the most recent National Secondary Schools Futsal Tournament. Rongotai won the Players Trophy Final against St Pats Silverstream last year, but will be looking to step up to Premier I and in Lucas they have a rep standard keeper who could trigger surprise and success.
Tyler Mounty (St Bede’s College, Christchurch) - The defender and keen Softballer is set for a big year. Mounty was a standout for champions Mainland at the National Age Group Tournament in Wellington in early December. Mounty was named in the tournament team.
Rick Muir (Nelson College) - After winning the National title in 2015, Nelson finished a disappointing 12th in 2016. Nelson rebounded strongly in 2017 losing in the semi-finals to eventual champions Hamilton BHS before finishing third. Muir was a key part of that revival and will look to match the leadership of David Maisey last year. Nelson only conceded three goals at Nationals.
Lewis Reid (Tauranga BC) - Captain of Tauranga for the second year in a row, Reid is a classy performer with a wealth of senior experience and a sound all-round game. Tauranga have started the season strong having already beaten Francis Douglas College, New Plymouth BHS and King’s College comfortably.
Kingsley Sinclair & Leon Van Den Hoven (Sacred Heart College, Auckland) - The midfield pair are inseparable and enjoyed a busy and fruitful 2017. After both playing for the New Zealand U17’s in the World Cup in India they were selected for the Eastern Suburbs National League side. The Sacred Heart First XI won the Auckland Premier League title last year and lost the National decider on penalties with Sinclair and Van Den Hoven a dominant duo.
Thomas Wagner (Rathkeale College) - After finishing runners-up to St Pat’s Town in the Players Trophy in 2016, Rathkeale College made the jump to the top division in Wellington in 2017 and immediately made an impact when they knocked over Wellington College and held eventual champions St Pat’s Town to a draw. Rathkeale finished a respectable ninth at Nationals and Wagner was crucial in that effort finishing the tournament as the top scorer and later earning selection for the New Zealand Under 19’s who toured the US over the recent school holidays.
Logan Wisnewski (Hamilton BHS) - The captain of Hamilton plays as a defensive midfielder. Logan was on the cusp of the New Zealand Under-17’s last year, but missed out due to an unfortunate leg break that ruled him out of selection. Wisnewski was captain of the New Zealand Under-18 futsal team that finished second at the Oceania Champs. He plays his club football for Melville and is sure to ensure Hamilton fights hard to retain their National title. Harry Stocker, a third year striker and the team’s top goal-scorer last year also returns as vice-captain.
Acknowledgments: Hamish Wareham
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