Skipper Scott set to meet familiar faces

AARON GOILE
Last updated 05:00 14/12/2013

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Aaron Scott vividly remembers the day arrogance came back to bite Waitakere United on the bum.
He was part of the 2009 team which was upset 2-1 by his former Waikato FC.

Now back as captain of WaiBop United after five seasons further north, the former All White believes his side can take it to the four-time champions when they meet in round six of the national premiership at Auckland's Fred Taylor Park tomorrow.

"I remember when I first went to Waitakere, when we came down to play Waikato at Ngaruawahia, under Chris Millicich, and the whole team was just like: 'Oh these guys are just a bunch of hillbillies and farmers'," Scott said.

"And I remember just being like: 'Hold on, I've been with them for the last four years, we're not like that'. And Waikato beat them that day, I got dragged just after halftime, I got told I was trying too hard. Then after that we never lost to Waikato again."

That winning record included a 9-1 mauling last season, where Scott had one of his best games.

This time he's got his boot in the other camp, as the minnows look to inflict another upset.

"We'd love to do the same to Waitakere this year, in terms of a 9-1 win, but I think we'll take anything we get from the game, in terms of a win," Scott said.

Along with the 27-year-old, four other WaiBop players - Milos Nikolic, Maksim Manko, George Slefendorfas and Masaki Nomoto - will be coming up against the team they turned out for last season.

"Obviously when you play good mates you always want to get one over them," Scott said.

WaiBop are sitting fifth on the eight-team ladder and are coming off a good 4-2 win over Southern United last weekend, which Scott missed due to an ankle injury.

Waitakere opened with three victories before losing to Auckland City then drawing with Hawke's Bay United in their last outing, and Scott knows they'll be pumped to hit back hard.

"Football's a funny game, you can be crap one week and smash someone the next. We don't read too much into results, although we read a bit into their two red cards, to restrict two of their players [Chad Coombes and Richie Cardozo] that we had obviously highlighted as danger men, that's always helpful."

Scott acknowledged that when his side had gone down 3-1 to fellow big guns Auckland City in round two, some of his team-mates had been in fear of the opposition. But he's certain that won't happen again.

"It is a big game but I think we've developed a squad where we try not to fear anyone. We went out and did well against Auckland whereas I think most people in the TAB predicted us to, obviously, get beaten. We did in the end but we actually put on a brave show.

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"We've focused a lot more on the team energy and enthusiasm and wanting to do the right thing for each other, rather than going through the motions, which we seemed to do a little bit against Southern.

"I'd like to think that we've got enough firepower to go against theirs [Waitakere]. I'd hope we can take the game to them instead of just holding on."

 

AT A GLANCE

National Premiership, Rd 6

Waitakere Utd v WaiBop Utd

Fred Taylor Park, Auckland

Today, 4pm

- © Fairfax NZ News

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