By Niall Anderson / asbpremiership.co.nz
HAMILTON - They may have similar philosophies and position, but Team Wellington and Waikato FC will try to find a point of difference this Sunday at Porritt Stadium.
Waikato haven’t mustered a point against Team Wellington since December 2008, but that’s not on the mind of Team Wellington coach Matt Calcott.
“I tend not to talk about past records, particularly with virtually a new team and one that is even younger than last year.”
Last year’s corresponding fixture ended 3-2 in favour of Team Wellington, with a Louis Fenton injury time goal sealing victory after Waikato were up 2-1 early on.
With only three players from each team remaining from that encounter, both coaches have had to allow time for their new-look line-ups to find their feet.
“It doesn’t make it easy but we are looking to progress, to improve week in and week out and maybe get 5% better each week as we gain in confidence and become sharper” says Calcott, who’s not panicking despite the slow start to the year which leaves Team Wellington second to bottom on the ladder.
“In the second half versus Canterbury I thought we did quite well. There’s no secret about the direction of the franchise, hopefully we’ll see results down the track. We need to look towards the playoffs and Team Wellington has had a good track record in doing that over the last nine years or so.”
Team Wellington will have the services of Solomon Islands captain Henry Fa’arodo after his visa issues were resolved, while Calcott hints of “one or two signings by the end of the week”.
Waikato will be missing star player Adam Thomas, who’s out of action for a month with a knee injury, while the impressive Hone Fowler will be making his home debut.
Calcott is under no illusions as to what he’s faced with.
“They try and play in a real positive manner – it’s a matter of finding the balance like any team.
“Both teams will try and play. It may come down to how either side defends or who’s prepared to do the tough stuff.”
Both sides have made a commitment to nurturing young talent, with Team Wellington enjoying what should be a self-sustaining model thanks to the Wellington Phoenix.
Calcott considers it essential to the growth of football in New Zealand.
“I think every franchise has a great responsibility to develop young footballing talent. Even in past years when there’s been the likes of Dan Keat, Craig Henderson and Jake Gleeson, who have kicked on to bigger things.
Most of the franchises are heading that way – there’s a lot of local talent and they have a clear pathway to bigger things. Whether that’s intentional or through financial considerations I’m not sure – you have to cut your cloth accordingly too.”
Danish forward Karsten VIBORG.
Dave PARKINSON (ankle), Adam THOMAS (knee), Harry EDGE (foot) and Tyler LISSETTE (ankle) all succumb to injury.
Jimmy HAIDAKIS drops out
Harley TAHAU, Bailey WEBSTER enter the selection reckoning as the depth of Declan EDGE’s squad is tested.
A visa delay could see Henry FA’ARODO added to Team Wellington ranks. Karl WHALEN lines up for his 112th ASB Premiership career appearance for Team Wellington.
Waikato FC is on a seven match losing streak to the capital men with the home side’s last victory over Wellington a 2-0 success posted in Round 7 of the 2008/09 season.
Notably, all three of Team Wellington’s losses to Waikato FC have been suffered away from home with 3-2 (2004/05), 6-0 (2005/06) and 2-0 (2008/09) defeats. Wellington has lost only once in its previous 15 encounters with Waikato FC.
ASB Premiership - Round 3
Sunday 18 November, 2012
1- Matt UPTON (GK)
1- Scott BASALAJ (GK)
3- Harley TAHAU
3- Jamie DUNCAN
4- Josh GREENE
5- Andreas DAMGAARD
5- Eder FRANCHINI
7- Wiremu PATRICK
6- Sam JASPER
8- Adam McGEORGE
7- Ryan THOMAS
9- Cory CHETTLEBURGH
8- Bailey WEBSTER
11- Karsten VIBORG
9- Rory TURNER
13- Karl WHALEN
11- Jack HOBSON-McVEIGH
14- Dominic ROWE
12- Matt OLIVER (GK)
18- Tom DOYLE
14- Sam MARGETTS
19- Tobias BERTSCH
16- Jesse EDGE
20- Luke ROWE
17- Mohamed AWAD
22- Hamish WATSON
18- Alexi Caroama VARELA
23- Tom BISS
23- Hone FOWLER
24- Alec SOLOMONS
24- Adam WALLIS
25- Will JONES (GK)