Cory Chettleburgh . . . just one of the Wairarapa United players representing Tasman United. PHOTO/JADE CVETKOV

JAKE BELESKI

jake.beleski@age.co.nz

Tasman United’s Wairarapa contingent have been making their mark in the ISPS Handa Premiership.

Eight members of the Wai United squad have been plying their trade for Tasman this season.

Cameron Lindsay, Paul Ifill, Cory Chettleburgh, Alex Ridsdale, Daniel Allan, Callan Elliot and Brian Kaltak were all part of this year’s Wai United squad, and have joined forces again at the top of the South Island.

Rathkeale College goalkeeper and Wai United squad member Scott Morris is with the Tasman youth team.

Tasman have made a great start to the premiership, beating Hamilton Wanderers and Canterbury United in their first two matches, before a 2-2 draw with Southern United on Sunday.

Ifill captained the side last year, but has taken on a role as assistant coach this season.

That meant Lindsay was given the chance to lead the side in his second season with the club, and he was relishing the opportunity.

“I was vice-captain last year and have taken over the reins this season.

“I don’t really think about it too much — you just wear the armband and walk out first, and we have a lot of leaders who help out and everyone pulls their weight around the club.”

Lindsay was disappointed with Saturday’s draw, but said they had reached their target for the first three matches of the season.

Seven points was the aim, and that was exactly what two wins and a draw had given them.

Having a group of familiar faces in the squad made the team environment more comfortable, he said.

“We all played together last season as well then came up to Wairarapa.

“The more games you play with each other helps form good relationships, and the easier it is.”

Some of the group, including Callan Elliot, Daniel Allan and Alex Ridsdale, were raised in the Tasman area, and playing at home was a thrill for them, Lindsay said.

“It’s good for the local lads having a franchise here now.

“Growing up you want to play at the highest level and now they can do that down here in front of their friends and families which is really good . . . there’s a good community down here so even the boys from out of town and overseas are looked after really well, so it’s great.”

Lindsay said there were subtle differences between playing in the national premiership and what they would encounter on a weekly basis in the Central League.

“The players are a little bit better across the board — the intensity and pace of the game is a little higher, and you’ve probably got to be a little bit fitter.

“The conditions are a wee bit harder as well — coming into summer it’s pretty hot out there.”

He didn’t want to look too far ahead, but said targeting a few games at a time and working out how many points you wanted from them was a good starting point.

“Our goal is to make the playoffs, so hopefully if we can continue the form we’re in there’s no reason why we can’t push for the top four.

“We’ve got a great bunch of boys this year and great depth in the squad.”

This weekend Tasman will take on Team Wellington at Miramar.