The New Zealand U20 Women, featuring several current secondary school players, have held tournament hosts and powerhouse football nation to a France, a nil-all draw at the FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup this morning.
In an absorbing encounter played at a high intensity throughout, France dominated possession as expected in front of their boisterous fans but New Zealand had a clear game plan, which they executed perfectly.
“I’m really proud of the performance from the girls, we set them a pretty honest challenge to be better in certain areas from the first game and they certainly delivered on that today,” coach Gareth Turnbull said.
“To be able to back up and go toe-to-toe with one of the best teams at this tournament – and have a proper game where both teams had opportunities – is amazing. I was pleased with the application of the tactical stuff but it was more the character, the heart, the aggression and the energy which they had heaps of.”
New Zealand had performed well in their opening match against the Netherlands and very nearly claimed a point on that occasion too, only a late winner denying them in heart-breaking fashion.
Recently crowned world champions in the men’s game, France finished runners-up in the previous FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup in 2016 and also came second in the 2017 UEFA Women’s Under-19 Championship as defending champions.
Despite being roared on by a vociferous backing at the Stade de la Rabine in Vannes though, they struggled to break down a well-organised New Zealand, whose outstanding performance was built on a heroic defensive effort.
But, despite that do-or-die pressure, Turnbull says the feeling in the camp was more relaxed than in that
In a first half of few opportunities, France hardly had a sight of goal while Claudia Bunge had a half chance on the turn early on and captain Malia Steinmetz tried her luck with a speculative effort from distance just before the break.
Clear goal-scoring opportunities continued to be at a premium in the second period, Anna Leat being called into action on only a few occasions to make comfortable saves. New Zealand’s first shot on target in the half arrived just before the hour when Hannah Blake laid off a free kick for Grace Jale to drill low but straight at goalkeeper Mylene Chavas.
France should have taken the lead moments later when Emelyne Laurent somehow blazed over the bar with the goal at her mercy and the hosts were made to pay as New Zealand safely negotiated a late spell of pressure to record the first scoreless draw of the tournament.
New Zealand have now given themselves a chance to progress with a win over Ghana but Turnbull is keeping his feet planted firmly on the ground.
“It’s a little bit out of our hands so we’ll just focus on what we can control,” he said.
To advance, they must now beat Ghana – who are pointless after two matches and have already been eliminated – in their final Group A match on Monday and hope the Netherlands can do them a favour by beating France
New Zealand 0
New Zealand: 1. Anna Leat (GK), 2. Sarah Morton, 4. Elizabeth Anton, 7. Hannah Blake, 8. Malia Steinmetz (c) (12. Rose Morton 85’), 9. Samantha Tawharu (19. Maggie Jenkins 90’ +3’), 10. Grace Jale, 11. Jacqui Hand, 13. Paige Satchell (16. Gabi Rennie 88’) 14. Claudia Bunge, 18. Aneka Mittendorff
Cautions: Paige Satchell 61’, Malia Steinmetz 76’
Substitutes not used: 3. Rebecca Lake, 5. Michaela Foster, 6. Nicole Mettam, 15. Tianna Hill, 17. Dayna Stevens, 20. Nadia Olla (GK), 21. Una Foyle (GK)
Coach: Gareth Turnbull
The draw for the 2018 Lotto Premier Boys First XI Football tournament at Avonhead and Yaldhurst Parks, Christchurch have been announced.
The 32-strong field includes the Top Four from last year: Hamilton BHS, Sacred Heart College, Nelson College and St Thomas of Canterbury College in addition to Auckland Premier League leaders St Kentigern College, perennial powerhouse Mount Albert Grammar School and 2017 Wellington winners St Pats Town - who won’t defend that title this year after a series of upsets in the capital.
Hamilton BHS (Super 8 champions) and St Thomas (leaders in Canterbury) appear to be the strongest contenders to prevent an Auckland School from winning. Only six times since the inception of the competition in 1978 has a school South of the Bombay’s prevailed, but that’s happened twice in the last three years.
Nelson College (2015 champions), Tauranga Boys’ College (Waikato/Bay of Plenty Champions) and Sacred Heart (winners three times in the past five years) appear to be the other strong contenders.
The tournament runs from the 3rd to the 7th of September 2018.
Pool A: Saint Kentigern College, St Peter's, Cambridge, Macleans College, St Andrew's College
Pool B: Sacred Heart College, New Plymouth BHS, St Patrick's College Town, Lincoln HS
Pool C: Westlake BHS, Francis Douglas MC, Wellington College, St Thomas CC
Pool D: Auckland Grammar School, Hamilton BHS, Waimea College, Christchurch BHS
Pool E: Mt Albert GS, St Paul's Collegiate, Hutt International Boys, Cashmere HS
Pool F: Avondale HS, Napier BHS, Nelson College, Kings High School
Pool G: King’s College, Palmerston North BHS, St Patrick's College, Silverstream, Wakatipu HS
Pool H: St Peter's College (Auck), Tauranga BC, Scots College, Burnside HS
The New Zealand U-20 men’s team, featuring three current secondary school players and a group of recent school leavers, defeated home team Tahiti in a tight match on Monday in their OFC U-19 Championship opener.
New Zealand showed good composure and character as they defeated Tahiti 2-1 in front of a boisterous crowd at Stade Pater in Pirae.
“We knew that playing the hosts first up they would come out of the traps flying,” said coach Des Buckingham after the game. “It was important that we got a foothold in the game. We did that. We went into half-time at 0-0 and it was important that we stayed right mentally going into the second half. As it progressed we grew into the game and it was pleasing to see some of the work we have put in pay off.”
Buckingham said his squad has bonded quickly as a group and that puts them in good stead when they come up against tough opposition like Tahiti.
New Zealand are the defending champions and are looking to book their place in the FIFA U-20 World Cup in Poland next year.
“We knew that they would be well prepared – the last time they hosted the U-19 Championship they qualified for the World Cup. For us, we had 10 training sessions together and this was our first competitive game together so to get the three points from a 2-1 win over the hosts is a good start.”
Both teams had their chances to open the scoring in the first 45 minutes, but it was experienced forward Max Mata who broke the deadlock shortly after half-time.
New Zealand’s skipper Joe Bell, who led from the front in the middle of the park in his first time captaining his country, went on a searching run and his cross hit the hand of a Tahitian defender. Referee George Time did not hesitate in pointing to the spot and Mata was clinical with his left-footed penalty to the bottom right corner in the 53rd minute.
Eight minutes later there was more to come from the tournament favourites. Leon Van Den Hoven took the ball to the by-line in a run that asked questions of the Tahitian defence – the attacking midfielder from RKC Waalwijk felt that he had a good shout for a penalty but Time waved it away for a corner kick.
Willem Ebbinge stepped up and delivered a great corner kick to the far post to pick out Mata who laid it off for Charles Spragg to finish from close range. It was a great team goal and one that saw New Zealand jump out to a deserved 2-0 lead.
Spragg, who was a standout for the NZ U-17s at the OFC U-16 Championship two years ago when he finished as the tournament’s leading goal scorer with seven, and picking up the golden ball as the tournament’s most valuable player, continued his good record in the Pacific Islands.
Just as the Kiwis were looking to control the final 30 minutes of the game, Tahiti were back in the contest through a wonderful strike from Eddy Kaspard only three minutes later.
New Zealand should have had a third goal when the ball fell fortuitously for Kingsley Sinclair in the box, but his attempt went flying over the bar.
New Zealand play their second game of the OFC U-19 Championship on Thursday against Tonga at the same venue. Tonga lost their opening match to Papua New Guinea 4-0.
Current school players in the team at this tournament are Willem Ebbinge (Scots College), Kingsley Sinclair (Sacred Heart College) and Zac Jones (Wellington College).
OFC U-19 Championship
New Zealand 2 (Max Mata 53’, Charles Spragg 61’) Tahiti 1 (Eddy Kaspard 64’)
Stade Pater, Pirae, Tahiti
New Zealand: 1. Cameron Brown (GK), 2. Jordan Spain, 3. Dino Botica, 4. Joe Bell ©, 5. Robert Tipelu, 9. Max Mata, 10. Charles Spragg (8. Trevor Zwetsloot 66’), 11. Willem Ebbinge (19. Oliver Whyte 90’ + 3’), 15. Callan Elliot, 16. Leon Van Den Hoven (9. Dane Schnell 80’), 18. Kingsley Sinclair
Subs not used: 7. Matthew Conroy, 12. Zac Jones, 14. Jorge Akers, 17. Boyd Curry
Head Coach Des Buckingham
Cautions: Joe Bell, Trevor Zwetsloot
OFC U-19 Championship Schedule
New Zealand vs Tonga
Thursday 9 August, 1pm (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae
Papua New Guinea vs New Zealand
Sunday 12 August, 1pm (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae
August 16 (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae
August 19 (NZT)
Stade Pater, Pirae
Rose Morton’s parents Steve and Hana Cotter grew up playing hockey, touch and rugby. Today they have little choice but to embrace football.
All three of the Morton children are outstanding players.
Older brother Harry has nearly completed his scholarship at Hartwick College in New York State. Sarah recently debuted for the Football Ferns against Japan in Wellington and youngest daughter Rose is a member of the Future Ferns Domestic Programme (FFDP).
Originally from Tikokino in Central Hawke’s Bay, Rose has moved to Northcote College in Auckland to complete her schooling and strengthen her sporting ambitions.
“It was tough moving away from family and friends, but it’s the best thing for my football,” Rose explains.
“The competition in Hastings features a lot of new players and not as many good teams. In Auckland the best players in the country are training and learning together,” she continues.
Rose is one of 28 players involved in the FFDP, playing for the XI who compete in the Northern Football Federation 17th grade boys conference. Against seven other teams, FFDP have won 10 out of 14 games, standing second in the championship - outscoring all opponents 44-16.
“It’s pretty tough playing against boys. Their pace and physically is harder than a girls game. Boys don’t like losing, but they are getting better at it,” Rose responds when addressing the question of playing the opposite gender.
Rose is a central midfielder advancing forward from centre back. She also plays senior women's football for Western Springs.
“I’m too small to be at the back. I was being beaten at the header and bumped off the ball. I love central midfield where I can get forward and create,” Morton enthuses.
The ability to ‘get forward’ earned Rose selection for the New Zealand Under-17’s in 2016. New Zealand competed at the FIFA World Cup and beat hosts Jordan. The international experience was an eye opener for Rose.
“It’s crazy the opportunities other countries have in football. For some of them it’s the only thing they have. It taught me you need to combine balance with hard work and passion.”
In August, Sarah Morton will be attending her second FIFA Under-20 World Cup, having debuted for the Football Ferns in their controversial 1-3 loss to Japan on June 10. Football Ferns Coach Andreas Heraf was strongly criticized for his teams’ negative tactics in the game. Is Rose concerned by the defeat and the media’s appraisal of it?
“I think the media blew it up a lot. We have to remember teams play all kinds of styles,” Morton observes.
In addition to football, Rose is a confident public speaker having competed in Manu Korero, a prestigious Maori speaking competition.
“They're a strong, experienced side with strength at both ends. They are dogged defenders which allows us little time on the ball, while also being swift on the counter.”
It took a long time but National Secondary Schools football champions Hamilton Boys’ High School finally conquered the considerable challenge posed by Tauranga Boys’ College.
Three games in the last week between the fierce rivals ended with Hamilton claiming two narrow victories and a sixth Super 8 title.
Hamilton captain Logan Wisnewski is full of respect for the Titans.
“They're a strong side with strength at both ends. They’re dogged defenders which allows us little time on the ball, while also being swift on the counter.”
Last Wednesday a Scott Ellerington header ensured Tauranga dethroned Hamilton as the Waikato/Bay of Plenty champions.
As expected both sides easily won their opening two matches at the Super 8 tournament with Hamilton thrashing Rotorua Boys’ High School 5-0 and Gisborne Boys’ High School 6-2.
Grouped together in Pool B, the top qualifiers both decided to rest key players ahead of the finals, but Wisnewski insists the fixture wasn't a phony war.
“We won 2-1. It started kinda slow as both sides were cautious, but when things opened up there was some intense football. Wisnewski said.
Casey Sharplin and Daniel Ngungambili were the source of Hamilton’s goals.
In 2017, Napier Boys’ High School upset Hamilton on penalties in the decider of the Super 8. There would be no repeat 12 months later.
“Napier was a grudge match. We haven't forgotten what happened last year and we played really well beating them 2-0. They were a good side, but we were better on the day,” Wisnewski acclaims.
Hamilton’s goals were scored by Harry Stocker and Levi Clark, the former netting his 50th goal for the First XI.
It would be Wisnewski who would open Hamilton’s account in the final from the penalty spot, but Tauranga in their first climax since 2015 and seeking the prize for the first time since 2007 proved tough to foil.
“It was a really intense game. They stretched us on the edges and gave us little time on the ball. We tried to stick to our systems, but it wasn't always easy,” Wisnewski reveals.
Tauranga wing Alexander Elliott was especially menacing and a goal and an assist propelled Tauranga 2-1 ahead.
“I thought we needed fresh legs, but our coaches didn't panic,” Wisnewski concedes.
With 12 minutes remaining Hamilton levelled when striker Max Ericksen finished from 12 yards after a break by Levi Clark.
Clark would be in the action again a short time later. Wisnewski captures the drama.
“Levi darted down the left side and approached the goal. I'm not sure if he intended to shoot or cross, but the ball curled over the keeper and into the net, Wiseneski says.
The Super 8 is the last major schools tournament before the Nationals in September.
“We're all accountable for ourselves. As the captain I try and lead by example and assist the younger players, but everyone is expected to be honest, humble and give as much as they can,” Tom Stewart reveals when asked what's driving the success of the St Thomas of Canterbury College First XI football team.
St Thomas heads the Christchurch Secondary Schools competition having won all seven matches and outscored opponents 34 goals to four.
Highlights of the season include winning the Brentwood Trophy against Shirley Boys’ High School and the Connetics Shield against Burnside High School. The Connetics Shield is like the Ranfurly Shield of school football in Christchurch.
“A lot of the boys still find that game hard to talk about. It was a real heartbreaker and is the source of a lot of motivation,” Stewart rues when reflecting on the defeat to St Andrew’s College (STAC) in the 2017 Christchurch final.
St Thomas topped the regular season standings, but succumbed on penalties (4-3) in the decider. This year's first meeting was personal. What happened was extraordinary.
“We had a red card after 20 minutes and I thought ‘here we go again,’ but the boys caught fire and won 4-0. It was pretty special,” Stewart acclaimed.
St Thomas only lost three players from last season and only lose two for 2019. The team is coached by Richard Washington and Jacob Allen with management support from Blair Scadden who runs the junior development programme. In 2017 the year seven and eight intermediate side was seventh out of 57 teams at the Aims games.
Scadden is a former NZ Under-17 representative and Allen an ex Canterbury Dragons Squad Member.
Washington coached Allen as a student at St Thomas and together they combined to take St Thomas to the Nationals for only the third time in their history last year, finishing fourth. Stewart shares some memories of the camp gain.
“Nobody really knew who we were so we had nothing to lose. We won all three pool games before facing St Pats Wellington in the quarter final. Our goal keeper was sent off with 20 minutes to go which meant we had to put an outfield player into goal. Anton Smail was a hero. We managed to hold on to penalties and win the shootout,” he reflects.
The National semi-final was one-sided with Sacred Heart College scoring a commanding 3-0 win. What does St Thomas have to do to make the final in 2018?
“There's a bit more pressure on us this year because of that result. We have to stay grounded and not get too far ahead of ourselves. We have to trust our processes,” Stewart responds.
Most of the First XI plays men’s premier football on a Saturday in addition to training four times a week. Stewart was also captain of the New Zealand Secondary Schools team who toured the USA in April. The side played eight games with a notable victory against the Los Angeles Galaxy Academy.
“All of the Galaxy players are professionals. Their set up is pretty impressive so to beat them was a real highlight of a great tour,” Stewart enthuses.
St Thomas is growing its relationship with the CFA Academy and boasts All Whites legend Ryan Nelsen as an old boy.
In the school holidays St Thomas are playing a mini tournament against Nelson College and St Andrew’s College. The former beat St Thomas in the third place game at Nationals.
In October 2017, New Zealand become the first nation to qualify for the 2018 FIFA Under-20 Women's World Cup.
New Zealand won the Oceania Football Confederation Under-19 Women's Championship for a sixth time to earn their place in France in August, 2018.
The Oceania tournament featured six countries: New Zealand, Fiji, Papua New Guinea, New Caledonia, Samoa and Tonga with the Kiwis winning all five matches and outscoring opponents 48 goals to one.
On Monday a provisional World Cup squad was selected and the following school girls have earned selection:
Hannah Blake - Saint Kentigern College
Georgia Candy - Hamilton Girls High School
Tahlia Herman-Watt - Rangiora High School
Tiana Hill - Otumoetai College
Maggie Jenkins - Epsom Girls Grammar
Anna Leat - Rangitoto College
Aneka Mittendorff - Westlake Girls High School
Rose Morton - Northcote College
Gabrielle Rennie - Rangiora High School
Kelli Brown - Hamilton Girls High School
Hannah Mackay-Wright - Rangitoto College
Dayna Stevens - Glenfield College
Hannah Blake with eight goals only trailed Emma Main (11) as the most prolific Kiwi goal scorer at the Oceania tourney.
There are 16 teams as the World Cup split into four pools of four. New Zealand is grouped with hosts France, African champions Ghana and the Netherlands.
The defending World Champions are North Korea while Germany and the USA have each won the bi-annual tournament which stretches back to 2002 three times.
New Zealand’s best result at the World Cup was in 2014 when they made the quarter finals.
New Zealand Under-20 World Cup Record
Goals For: 24
Goals Against: 41
Christchurch Boys’ High School won their annual exchange against Wellington College 3-0 in the capital this afternoon. Christchurch won the First XI football 5-2 and hockey 2-1 and the rugby 17-5.
The meeting between the 2017 Rankin Cup runners up, Christchurch Boys’ High School and Wellington champions, Wellington College ended in a 2-1 victory for Christchurch at the National Hockey Stadium.
Initially both teams struggled to adapt to the horrid conditions and fluid hockey was hard to come by. Wellington soon gained the upper hand and broke the stalemate with a goal midway through the first-half.
Christchurch rallied and equalised through Angus Keast. On the brink of halftime, Christchurch won a penalty corner and Keast struck again to make it 2-1 at the interval.
The second-half was scoreless, but Christchurch went closest to boosting their tally in an entertaining spectacle which suggests both are leading contenders in their respective competitions.
Devanand Bhika was the captain of Wellington College, Henry Shaw the skipper for Christchurch BHS.
Two goals each by Ben Crowley and Darius Van Wyk was the highlight of Christchurch’s 5-2 victory.
Crowley illustrated his considerable threat in the first 10 minutes by opening the visitors account, blasting home a rebound off the Wellington keeper. Moments later Crowley delivered a pinpoint corner for captain Chris Bommer to finish.
Wellington halved the deficit when a Jarred Hodson shot took a wicked deflection and slid by the hopelessly prone keeper.
Christchurch scored first in the second-half to make it 3-1, but Alex Johnson continued his goal scoring spree to make it 3-2.
Ultimately Christchurch was more clinical and the double threat of Crowley and Van Wyk proved too hard to contain.
The Christchurch league features 13 teams and is headed by St Thomas of Canterbury College who haven't conceded a goal in six games.
On Saturday, Wellington opened the Trevor Rigby Cup with a disappointing 0-3 loss to Rongotai College.
Christchurch Boys’ High School scored their 12th win against Wellington College since 1995, battling to a 17-5 victory.
Wellington wilted in similar conditions last Wednesday in a record loss to St Patrick’s College, Silverstream.
Today the hosts defence was far more committed and effective resulting in a genuinely competitive tussle.
Christchurch possibly enjoyed three quarters of the territory, but didn’t breach the Wellington line until about the 20th minute when burly No.8 Corban Harding bustled over. The try happened after three reset scrums as both front rows struggled with their footing in the slush.
The Christchurch halves pairing of Louie Chapman and Ollie Lewis formed a sound partnership, frequently sending Wellington into retreat with some assured kicking.
Just prior to halftime, Christchurch scored their second try when prop Austin Hewitt rumbled over, punishing a Wellington fumble. The tighthead was excellent for Christchurch bossing his side of the scrum and carrying strongly.
Wellington’s best chance in the first-half was when centre Frank Coop kicked a spillage forward and only just missed placing the ball before the dead ball line.
Wellington would make Christchurch pay from a kick early in the second spell though. A knock on by Max Hughes was hacked ahead by opposite Liam Collett who outpaced all chasers.
The mud made most of the combatants indistinguishable and ball almost impossible to catch. The kick was the most potent attacking weapon and Hughes sealed Christchurch’s win, atoning for his earlier blemish, by kicking precisely for wing Yoji Yabe to slide in.
Wellington tighthead Geordie Bean and openside Ridge Studd were tireless and sometimes brushing on defense.
On Saturday, Wellington College meets St Bernard’s College while Christchurch Boys’ High School clash with St Bede’s College.
Below: Try scoring highlights from the First XV rugby and first half football photos:
The Tauranga Boys’ College First XI has battled to avoid relegation in the WaiBop Football league in recent seasons.
After six rounds in 2018 the schoolboys were on top of the standings. In the 12-team senior competition this is an almost unheard of precedent.
Tauranga Captain Lewis Reid emphasises an experienced roster is a key factor in the transformation of fortunes.
“We only lost three players this year as opposed to 11 the previous season. Experience helps with better decision making. The men's games are very physical. The men are out there to prove we are schoolboys so we have to play with a lot of speed and ticker,” Reid explains.
Eight of the teams are based in the Waikato and the furthest road trip is two hours south to Taupo.
In three weeks Tauranga will head north to Hamilton Boys’ High School for the annual Super 8 tourney where they are grouped with the hosts whom they also play in a Nationals qualifier on June 27. Hamilton is the reigning National champions and beat Tauranga twice last season.
“We lost 1-0 and 2-1. They were really close games we could have won. Hamilton is a good team, but with more experience I think we'll be better placed to take our chances,” Reid warns.
Was Reid surprised Hamilton kicked onto to win the Nationals when Tauranga only managed to finish 19th?
“I guess it's better than an Auckland school winning it all the time, but Hamilton are our rivals and we could have beaten them,” Reid moans
With two points against St Paul’ Collegiate next week or Hamilton on the 27th, Tauranga will confirm their place at Nationals. Tauranga have mostly breezed through their qualifying matches thus far, accounting for Bethlehem College (7-0), Hillcrest High School (6-0), St John’s, Hamilton (6-1) and St Peter’s, Cambridge (3-2).
St Peter’s are coached by former All Whites and Phoenix mentor Ricki Herbert. Goals from Riley Bidois and Scott Hawkins arrested a deficit before Reid made a telling impact off the bench.
“I played about 20 minutes. I've been struggling with a back injury I got in April. I wanted to come on and make a difference and I was lucky to pop the ball into the net,” Reid reflects.
Reid also scored three goals in the record 6-1 traditional win against Westlake Boys’ High School. The only interschool defeat Tauranga has suffered was a narrow 1-2 setback against Auckland Grammar School.
“It's going well for us. The Super 8 will be a real gauge to see where we're at. Napier Boys’ actually won last year which was a bit of surprise. Palmerston North and New Plymouth are always really strong too,” Reid observes.
Like every football fan on the planet, Reid will soon have his eyes firmly fixed on the World Cup and is picking either France or Belgium to win the tournament.
“I was really puffing when the final went to extra time. I wasn’t the fittest, but to score a penalty and win was pretty surreal,” Logan Wisnewski responds when asked to recall the National Secondary Schools First XI Football decider last year.
Hamilton Boys’ High School stunned reigning champions Sacred Heart College, Auckland, in a shootout. Wisnewski was an improbable hero. Several months early disaster had struck. Wisnewski broke his leg.
“It was May 18, the first competitive game of the season. We were leading 8-0 with ten minutes to go and I tried to win a 50/50 through ball and hopped away sore. I tried to play on, but it was really bad in the dressing room,” Wisnewski laments.
Consigned to a cast for 12 weeks, Wisnewski’s hopes of New Zealand Under-17 selection were dashed, but valuable character building occurred.
“The hardest thing being injured is watching the games. You can’t do anything to influence the results, but I tried to stay involved in other ways. I did some analysis and ran the water,” Wisnewski reflects.
Wisnewski didn’t start a single match at Nationals, but his contributions from the bench were pivotal in Hamilton’s success. His greater ability to observe has been acknowledged this season. Wisnewski has been appointed First XI skipper.
“I guess I have a lot of experience watching games. My brothers played in the First XI too so I guess I can relay convincingly what it means to play for Hamilton,” Wisnewski answers when addressing the question of what he brings to the leadership of the team.
Hamilton’s team is younger than the 2017 class, featuring only five returns. Wisnewski is adamant though Hamilton is in good shape.
“We’ve got Levi Clark and Harry Stocker back. Levi was our player of the year last year and Harry our top goal scorer,” Wisnewski explains.
“We’ve had a couple of camps and the boys are working hard and looking look,” he continued.
On Saturday May 5, Hamilton won the annual Referees Cup pre-season tournament held at St Peter's School, Cambridge (pictured right - photo credit HBHS website). The tournament involves eight different schools throughout the Waikato Region and Hamilton beat their second XI 4-0 in the final with Wisnewski scoring two goals. Hamilton’s seconds had upset the hosts in pool play.
The most significant pre-season result was a 0-0 draw with Sacred Heart College, the same score as the National final. Wisnewski warns Sacred Heart will be a strong team again.
In addition to football Wisnewski is accomplished on the Futsal court.
Discovering the sport at a holiday programme age of five, Wisnewski has represented New Zealand at an age group futsal level and guided the Hamilton senior team to a third placed finish at Nationals in Wellington in March.
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