Maori Football NZ Women’s Head Coach, Asher Trotter has named a strong squad for the 2020 Trans-Tasman Clash of the Cultures.
The 20-strong squad, who will take on the Australian First Nations in Auckland on 18 January, includes current Football Fern Sarah Morton.
“With so much talent in the squad, we’re definitely looking forward to having that highly-valued international experience Sarah possess within the group,” Trotter said.
“I’m really looking forward to seeing the chemistry build between all of our incredibly talented players ahead of this Trans-Tasman Clash; there is nothing better than to see ‘talent lift talent’ and to give them that environment to really shine and thrive in.”
Adding to Morton’s Senior International experience is a further eight players – Ariana Gray, Dayna Stevens, Jayden Watts, Lily Taitimu, Jasmine Donald, Te Reremoana Walker, Steph Trowill and Renee Bacon – who have either represented New Zealand at Age Group level or played the game at the highest level this country has to offer for the female game – the National Women’s League.
“It’s very humbling to be working with such talented players, and to also give others the opportunity to grow and gain experience within the same environment too,” Trotter said.
The Women’s side, known as Ngā Wahine Whanapoikiri, have convincingly beat their Trans-Tasman rivals in the previous meetings between the two, however Trotter is taking nothing for granted.
“We’re expecting a well-drilled team, no doubt about that.
“The beauty, and challenge, of fixtures like this is you don’t have a lot of competitive intel on the opposition, so we will be spending the majority of our time focussing on ourselves, and bringing our best possible performance come match day.”
Ngā Wahine Whanapoikiri have entered into an intensive squad training period this week ahead of next Saturday’s fixture.
Ngā Wahine Whanapoikiri – Aotearoa Maori Women
Aaliyah Konui (Ngāpuhi, Waikato), Alia Smith (Ngāti Porou), Amy McQuoid (Ngāti Raukawa), Ariana Gray (Ngāpuhi), Dayna Stevens (Ngāati Kahungunu), Jasmine Donald (Taranaki), Jayden Watts (Ngāti Pikiao), Kalani Walters-Hewson (Te Rarawa), Keri O’Connell (Ngāpuhi), Kirsty Gage (Ngāti Hinerangi), Lily Taitimu (Te Rarawa), Pia Davis (Ngāpuhi), Renee Bacon (Ngāi Tahu), Te Reremoana Walker (Ngāti Hauā/Ngāpuhi), Richlyn Tuhoro (Tuhoe/Ngāti Maniapoto), Rosa Muru (Tainui), Sam Waru (Ngāpuhi), Sarah Morton (Ngāti Kahungunu), Steph Trowill (Ngāti Ranginui), Tara Jackson (Ngāpuhi)
2020 Trans-Tasman Clash of the Cultures
Saturday 18 January
McLennan Park, Papakura, Auckland
10am – U14 Girls
12pm – Open Women
2pm – U14 Boys
4pm – Open Men
Photo courtesy of JLS Photographs