The Central women's team's season hinges on their final round-robin game against Mainland at Memorial Park tomorrow.
A win or a draw will see Central stay ahead of Capital, who are three points behind on the table, and progress to the playoffs so they need a result against Mainland with Capital likely to beat South in Wellington tomorrow.
Central captain Leah Gallie was keen to pull off a win against the Canterbury side, to break a long drought of being in the playoffs.
"I think we have to win the game or draw," she said. "But if we go into the game thinking we need to draw, we'll probably lose.
"It's definitely a big game, I don't think Central's made the semifinals for a really long time."
The last time Central were in the playoffs was 2004 when they lost 6-5 on penalties to Capital after being locked 2-all after extra time.
Mainland won the last meeting against Central in Christchurch but that was when Central had 10 players for most of the match, after goalkeeper Courtney Norman was sent off early.
"We're definitely going for the win, I reckon we can," Gallie said. "They're a good side. Last time we played them we had a player sent off in literally the first two minutes. The final score was 3-2 with 10 players. We held them off pretty well."
Being at Memorial Park is an advantage for Central, because most of the team is in the Massey side that played there this season. It was a graveyard for opposition teams.
South could do Central a huge favour by knocking over Capital or holding them to a draw which would have Central through to the semifinals but it would be a big ask of the southern girls.
The Christchurch side are unbeaten this season and have conceded only four goals.
Kickoff is at 1pm.
Central (from): Courtney Norman, Ruby Tufuga, Jane Barnett, Leah Gallie, Coral Seath, Hollie Cleaver, Chelsea Aim, Rhonda Bridges, Emma Boyack, Karin Ingram, Emma Rogers, Rosie Missen, Jess Oulaghan, Catherine Pretty, Mikaela Boxall, Kim Nottingham.
Mainland Pride (from): Lily Alfeld, Meikayla Moore, Laura Merrin, Emma Procter, Emily Jensen, Maia Vink, Monique Barker, Juliana Los, Rachel Brodie, Melanie Cameron, Lauren Dabner, Aimee Phillips, Ashleigh Ward, Dayna Napa, Briar Guyan.
- The Manawatu Standard
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