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United face weakened Olympic

Kelsi Rutene, left, tussling with a Victoria University player, could drop into a defensive midfield role. PHOTO/FILE

Rutene to shore up United defence

FOOTBALL

CHRIS COGDALE
[email protected]

Men

Wairarapa United v Olympic

Trust House Wairarapa United will face a different Wellington Olympic from the team that beat them in the first round in today’s Central League clash at Trust House Memorial Park.

United lost that game at Wakefield Park 0-1, playing more than 60 minutes with 10 men after experienced midfielder Cory Chettleburgh was sent off.

Suspensions and the loss of key personnel have hit Olympic since then. Goalscorer in that game Mario Barcia is no longer with the team, prolific striker Hamish Watson has moved to Australia, and Jack-Henry Sinclair and Marco Lorenz are suspended.

“We were really pleased with our result last time,” United coach Phil Keinzley said.

“We did play extremely well, but we do see this as a game that there is an opportunity to have a crack at them.

“We’ll respect them but we won’t be overawed, which we might have been if they were at full strength.

“But we also know that they’re going to be a bloody good team, and it will still be one of our hardest games of the season.”

Cameron Lindsay. PHOTO/FILE

Keinzley does have his own selection worries with former All White Cameron Lindsay having pulled out from the squad for personal reasons for the rest of the season.

Also, it will be one of the last games for United for French midfielder Hugo Delhommelle, who is transferring to Miramar Rangers after the Petone game on June 12.

Keinzley said Delhommelle’s transfer is because Miramar are strengthening their squad before players move to Team Wellington for the Oceania Champions League.

Delhommelle and Chettleburgh will fill the central midfield roles for today’s game, but the former won’t play in Monday’s Chatham Cup fixture against Napier City Rovers, as Miramar don’t want him to be cup-tied.

Former Phoenix player Paul Ifill is also unlikely to have much involvement in the Olympic game, with Keinzley preferring to save him for the Chatham Cup game at Hullena Park.

Olympic are second in the Central League, on goal difference behind Miramar, and despite missing those key players, will start as favourites to continue their unbeaten record in the championship.

United are fourth equal [fifth on goal difference] with Western Suburbs, who play Miramar.

A United win or draw could have them move to a clear fourth place, and on target for a national championship spot.

Kick-off is at 3.30pm at Trust House Memorial Park today.

Women

Wairarapa United v New Plymouth Rangers

Tumu ITM Wairarapa United coach Paul Ifill is in the dark over what to expect in today’s Kate Sheppard Cup knockout match against New Plymouth Rangers at Trust House Memorial Park.

On the face of it, Rangers, who play in the Taranaki Women’s Premier League, should pose little threat to United, who play a division higher in the W-League.

Rangers are mid-table in their championship, with three wins, one draw, and three losses, whereas United are one of three teams, with Wellington United Diamonds and Palmerston North Marist, at the head of the W-League.

However, Ifill is not taking them lightly, despite not knowing any of the players on the Rangers’ team list he received.

“I’ve told the girls not to be complacent and treat them with respect,” he said.

“They could be a really good team in an average league and really surprise you, so you play them as if they’re going to be decent because if you go in with the wrong mindset, you could come undone.

“It’s important we stick to our game plan.”

Ifill also wants a good start, after some hesitant performances lately – most notably in the 3-1 win over Petone, when United conceded an early goal and trailed at halftime.

“We haven’t been doing that this season, and we’ve been showing great character to come back, but if we want to win the league and have a decent cup run, we have to start well, and then we can put teams away better than we have done.”

Renske van Steensel, Holly Rausch, and Nicole Robertson will miss today’s game.

That could have Ifill drop the experienced Kelsi Rutene into the defensive midfield role.

“She suits that role – it’s not her position, she’s definitely a 10, but she’s so calm and composed that she can play out from the back, and she is always aware of her tactical responsibility.”

This is a match that United should win comfortably and book their place in the third round of the national knockout competition.

Kick-off is at 12.30pm today at Trust House Memorial Park.

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