Auckland look to protect top spot (NZ)


Logo - NZ Futsal ASB National League (Black)AUCKLAND – Series Two of the ASB Futsal National League begins in Wellington on Friday as AFF Futsal look to maintain top spot in the competition they earned back in early October.

The first series of the league was a tight affair at ASB Stadium in Kohimarama with the standard of competition lifting as several sides put in improved showings.

Among those was Central Futsal Manawatu, including ASB Premiership players Adam Cowan and Nathan Cooksley, who ended the opening weekend of the competition in fourth spot, level on points with defending champions Northern Futsal.

Cooksley scored six goals for the Manawatu team, showing his outdoor talents translate to the court while Cowan – a recent addition to the Team Wellington ASB Premiership side – was a pillar of consistency for a team which was able to see off the champion Northern Futsal squad.

Meanwhile, beaten finalists in the previous edition of the league, Capital Futsal, have some work to do.

The Series Two hosts currently sit second from bottom despite the league best eight-goal contribution of Futsal White Miroslav Malivuk in Series One.

As one of two undefeated sides, AFF Futsal hold a two point lead over the other team yet to taste defeat; Futsal South.

For their part, the Futsal South side will once again be led by the talented Carlos Herrman.

The Brazilian paced the team’s Series One effort; scoring four goals and adding an impressive eight assists. Futsal Whites captain Marvin Eakins, who also serves as the skipper for the Auckland side, says his team was made to work hard as they defended home court at ASB Stadium in Kohimarama.

“I was really impressed with the quality of futsal played by all teams in Series One,” Eakins said.

“It was interesting seeing how teams had moved from just sitting in defence to stepping higher on their opponents as well.

“The finishing was very good by most teams and some of the goals were world class while others were great individual efforts.

“A lot of goals were scored in Series One even with teams defending well.” Eakins, who led from the front in scoring six goals himself in Series One, says there was is clear recipe for success for his team.

“We were well organised and had our brand of futsal which, when we stuck to it, got us results,” Eakins said.

“Our discipline and fitness was of great quality and it showed as in several games we did not take control until the second half.

“The quality and depth in our squad showed as well when we had all three of our youth players defending against Capital’s fifth man onslaught for eight minutes without conceding.

“It will not come as a surprise that teams will lift their game when they face us and being able to deal with that lifted intensity will be key to being successful this weekend.”

The Series 2 action kicks off on Friday at 1pm at the ASB Sports Centre in Kilbirnie as Capital face defending champions Northern at 1pm.

The action runs until Sunday with FREE entry.

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