Wellington East looking to take down Unbeaten HVHS
Story courtesy of College Sport Media
The Premier Girls Football Final between Hutt Valley High School (HVHS) and Wellington East Girls’ College will be played at Petone Memorial tonight at 7pm.
Hutt Valley High School with an unblemished record in 2022 appear to be the overwhelming favourites for the decider. They beat Wellington East 4-1 in their last meeting on June 29.
However, Wellington East have held their last three opponents scoreless, beating Wellington Girls’ College (1-0), Scots College (4-0) and Onslow College (6-0).
Michael Deane is coach of Wellington East and admits the setback to HVHS was a turning point in the season.
“Hutt Valley High won pretty comfortably but we had a lot of illness and were struggling for combinations at the start of the season,” Deane said.
“The thing about the round-robin is that all eight teams went into the next round so it wasn’t that important.
“Anna McCarthy, a central defender, and Mia Wilkinson are our only Year 13 players. We’re not unhappy going into the final as underdogs. They have to carry the burden of favourites and might underestimate us.”
The vastly experienced Mark Oates is coach of HVHS. He’s guided the First XI to two Wellington titles in the past and is wary of the threat Wellington Girls’ present.
“They’re a very good side. They play structured football much like us, Oates said.
“When we played in June they had two really good chances in the first five minutes which we survived. When we scored our third goal we dropped off a bit. We nailed key moments and took our chances which was pleasing.
“We’ll have to be at our best for the whole game. Win or lose it’s going to be a special night. We’ve got a lot of supporters coming with banners and the like”
Zora Tavernet is HVHS captain and has been in prolific and inspired form this season. Taverent will spearhead the attack alongside Alyssha Eglington whose a brilliant midfielder in the Capital Football and Phoenix reps.
Gabrielle Claridge and Zara Bowen return from the World Junior Ultimate Championships in Wroclaw, Poland where they helped the New Zealand Under 20 team finish sixth.
Paige George, Brooke Neary and Alicia Baker are quality regulars and the spine of a formidable roster that last won the title in 2016.
Defence and a deadly striker are the main threats Wellington East present. Brooke and
Liby Sexton are arguably the best goalkeepers in the competition and will play a half each.
Striker Live Deane (Michael’s daughter) is the leader in the golden boot competition with a dozen goals.
“I have a policy where everyone gets fair game time. That helps build depth in a squad and maintain the interest of all players. Sometimes an unlikely player is the one who turns up on the far post and scores the winning goal.”
Expect Wellington East to be cautious defensively and swift on counter attack. HVHS will look to press forward and keep possession.
Onslow College won the final in 2021.