By Bob Pearce / asbpremiership.co.nz
AUCKLAND - New season, new faces – and no looking back. That’s the message from the coaches as Waitakere United and Team Wellington prepare for a rematch of the finalists in last season’s ASB Premiership.
The West Aucklanders won that Grand Final 4-1 at Trusts Stadium on April 28. Six months later Paul Marshall has replaced Neil Emblen as coach of the winners and he will field a squad of his own making which has already shown its potential with a 2-1 victory over Auckland City in the ASB Charity Cup last weekend.
Matt Calcott remains in charge at Wellington but his squad is much changed with a big injection of youth boosted by the Phoenix Academy and a rather truncated pre-season preparation as the Phoenix have called up players such as Luke Rowe and Tom Biss.
“We have a very young squad and we haven’t had a lot of time together,” said Calcott. “It is a different group of players to those who played in the final and some haven’t played a lot in the ASB Premiership.”
Familiar names who will provide the experience for another strong challenge for the title include defenders Jamie Duncan and Karl Whalen and midfielder Wiremu Patrick. Adam McGeorge has migrated south from Auckland City and Cory Chettleburgh has come from Manawatu. New faces include two Danes, Andreas Damgaard and Karsten Viborg.
In contrast to Waitakere, Wellington’s last pre-season encounter was a 3-1 loss to Hawke's Bay. Injuries and availability for the first foray north may narrow Calcott’s selection options but the capital side can never be underestimated – just ask Auckland City!
Marshall would not be the first new Waitakere coach to receive an early-season setback from a Wellington team, but that ASB Charity Cup victory has shown the champions will be hard to dethrone.
“Pleasing but not unexpected” was coach Marshall’s reaction to the 2-1 win. Sure Waitakere’s equaliser from new recruit George Slefendorfas just after halftime was fortuitous but they resisted a lot of pressure and came up with the winner from Maksim Manko in the closing minutes.
Marshall has his team’s focus on the future not past glory, noting that there were a lot of new faces in his squad.
“We’ve signed all the players we wanted to and kept key players from last year. Recruiting David Mulligan and Chad Coombes from Auckland was significant.”
Former Irish international Brian Shelley, a player-manager in Australia before crossing the Tasman, showed in the Charity Cup that he will be a useful addition to a defence that retains Aaron Scott and Tim Myers.
Super striker Roy Krishna was unavailable last week but showed towards the end of last season what a difference his speed can make to the attack. It will be interesting to see whether he will combine well with Slefendorfas, who has yet to show northerners the form that earned him the ASB Premiership Golden Boot with 12 goals for Canterbury.
Missing from the Waitakere lineup will be Luiz Del Monte who started in the Charity Cup but picked up an injury that may see him out for a couple of games.
The Paul MARSHALL era at Waitakere is in full effect with the ASB Charity Cup already secure in the trophy cabinet. Ten new players are set to make their ASB Premiership debuts for the club and include All Whites David MULLIGAN and Chad COOMBES, George SLEFENDORFAS, Sam MATHEWS, Daniel MORGAN, Maksim MANKO, Salesh KUMAR, Dylan STANSFIELD, Louie CAUNTER and Brian SHELLEY.
A new look Team Wellington travel north looking for some bounce back after last season’s Grand Final defeat to the West Aucklanders. Two Danes, Andreas DAMGAARD and Karsten VIBORG add some European flavour to the capital men while there is a hint of the Wellington Phoenix to the squad with Tom BISS, Luke ROWE and Hamish WATSON thrown into the mix.
Sean LOVEMORE, Ross HAVILAND to Hawke's Bay United. Andy RALPH, Neil EMBLEN, Luke ADAMS, Jason ROWLEY.
Patrick FLEMING, Phil IMRAY, and Dakota LUCAS to Hawke's Bay United.
Roy KRISHNA returns from illness. Allan PEARCE needs one more goal to become the ASB Premiership’s leading scorer of all time, a record he currently shares with former Waitakere and Auckland striker, Keryn JORDAN, both on 62.
All White Adam McGEORGE and Solomon Islands international Henry FA’ARODO strengthen the midfield and forward areas for coach Matt CALCOTT.
Waitakere have won the previous six meetings between the two clubs stretching back to the semi-final, first leg, in 2009/10 season. Waitakere triumphed over Team Wellington in last season’s Grand Final by 4-1.
Karl WHALEN could make his 110th ASB Premiership career appearance, if selected. VIBORG, DAMGAARD, JONES and SEGEBART could make their ASB Premiership debuts. Team Wellington’s last regular season win over Waitakere United was a 4-3 thriller in the capital during Week 14 of the 2009/10 season.
ASB Premiership - Round 1
Sunday 4 November, 2012
1- Danny ROBINSON (GK)
1- Scott BASALAJ (GK)
2- Aaron SCOTT
2- Tim SCHAEFFERS
4- Tim MYERS
3- Jamie DUNCAN
5- Brian SHELLEY
5- Andreas DAMGAARD
6- Matt CUNNEEN
6- Kyle SEGEBART
7- David MULLIGAN
7- Wiremu PATRICK
8- Chad COOMBES
8- Adam McGEORGE
9- George SLEFENDORFAS
9- Cory CHETTLEBURGH
10- Allan PEARCE
10- Henry FA'ARODO
12- Roy KRISHNA
11- Karsten VIBORG
15- Salesh KUMAR
13- Karl WHALEN
16- Maksim MANKO
14- Dominic ROWE
17- Jake BUTLER (c)
16- Jimmy HAIDAKIS
18- Sam MATHEWS
17- Andrew ABBA
19- Daniel MORGAN
18- Tom DOYLE
20- Ryan de VRIES
19- Tobias BERTSCH
21- Dylan STANSFIELD
20- Luke ROWE
25- Louie CAUNTER (GK)
21- Justin GULLEY
Coach - Paul MARSHALL
22- Hamish WATSON
23- Tom BISS
24- Alec SOLOMONS
25- Will JONES (GK)
Coach - Matt CALCOTT