Words: ACFC Media
Thursday 5 December 2019
AUCKLAND, New Zealand - Junior Navy Blues coach Kris Bright has pushed National Youth League title talk firmly to the side ahead of Sunday's clash with Canterbury United in Christchurch.
The former All White has been delighted with his team's timely return to form and subsequent advantage in the four-way title race but has taken a hard nosed approach to quell talk of a third consecutive title.
"We haven't talked about titles, medals or accolades - there is a job to be done.
"Our objective is to keep doing what we've been doing - the style of play we've played in the last three games specifically have been exciting, the boys have enjoyed themselves and scored plenty of goals and it's been great, it's been a pleasure watching it.
"We're going to try and continue that and focusing on the same things we've been doing all season," he told www.aucklandcityfc.com.
With Waitakere United, Hamilton Wanderers and even Team Wellington all breathing down their neck, Bright's cautious approach is understandable given how many slip-ups have happened for the chasing pack.
AUDIO - Bright's team focused on task at hand
Bright is also at pains to emphasize the threat that Canterbury United pose to his team.
The Dragons have smashed home an impressive 23 goals in just eight games but conceded 24 and have also picked up two wins including a demolition of arch-rivals Southern United.
They have also been involved in some of the league's most goal-laden matches and never failed to score or keep a cleansheet to date.
Christchurch, Bright says, is a tough place to get a result at any time.
"It's a big pitch, probably in hot conditions and the surface is ok but I've watched a couple of the Canterbury games and they're strong and well organised.
"They've had a couple of big results including a 9-1 win so they're not a side to be taken lightly," he said.
Bright says he and his staff have kept the players focused on the task at hand but pointed out that his squad have self-policed themselves.
"A couple of the boys were saying how excited they were after Waitakere United lost but a lot of our older players who have been around the Central United environment said the result doesn't change anything at all - we still have to go out and do the hard work.
"That focus was a big positive for me and sets us up for Sunday," he said.
For Auckland City FC to win the National Youth League for the seventh time, they need to take maximum points on Sunday.
For a full analysis of this weekend's National Youth League action, including a link and excerpt of the official competition regulations pertaining to the relevant tie-breakers, read below.
The match kicks off at 11am NZST on Sunday 8 December.
National Youth League
Sunday 8 December 2019
Canterbury United v Auckland City FC
English Park, Christchurch
Kick-off: 11am NZST
AC: Luca TAYLOR (GK), Sam BOTTOMLEY (GK), Brad WILSON, Nathan LOBO, Callum McNEILL, Dhanush CHANDRA, Nic MILICICH, Matthew HODGSON, Malcolm YOUNG, Aidan CAREY (c), Louis MIDDELDORP, Corban PIPER, Matthew ELLIS, Deandre VOLLEHOVEN, Finn McCRACKEN, Thomas DRILLIEN.
COACH: Kris BRIGHT.
*FINAL SQUAD TO BE CONFIRMED.
Canterbury United Results
v. Wellington Phoenix (A) won 4-1
v. Tasman United (H) lost 1-5
v. Hamilton Wanderers (H) lost 2-3
v. Eastern Suburbs (A) lost 2-5
v. Southern United (H) won 9-1
v. Waitakere United (A) lost 2-4
v. Hawke's Bay United (H) drew 2-2
v. Team Wellington (A) lost 1-3
Saturday 7 December, 2019
Tasman United v Wellington Phoenix
Saxton Field, Nelson - kick-off: 12pm NZST
Southern United v Hawke's Bay United
Logan Park, Dunedin - kick-off: 1pm NZST
Eastern Suburbs AFC v Team Wellington
Ngahue Reserve, Auckland - kick-off: 2pm NZST
Sunday 8 December, 2019
Canterbury United v Auckland City FC
English Park, Christchurch - kick-off: 11am NZST
Hamilton Wanderers v Waitakere United
Porritt Stadium, Hamilton - kick-off: 11am NZST
NATIONAL YOUTH LEAGUE REGULATIONS - click here.
TIE-BREAKERS (Excerpt from the NYL Regulations)
20.5 The results of the league matches will be recorded in a league table. The ranking of each Participant Team shall be determined as followed:
20.5.1 Greatest number of points obtained in all League matches;
20.5.2 Goal difference in all League matches;
20.5.3 Greatest number of goals scored in all League matches.
20.6 At the conclusion of the league, the top placed Participant Team shall be the winner of the league. In the event of two or more Participant Teams having equal points, their respective positions on the league table shall be determined as follows:
20.6.1 Goal difference in all league matches.
20.6.2 Goals scored in all league matches.
20.7 If, after applying the above criteria, any two or more teams are still equal, their respective positions shall be determined as follows:
20.7.1 The head to head results between the Participant Teams on equal points.;
20.7.2 The goal difference from the matches played between the Participant Teams equal on points.
20.8 If, after applying the above criteria any two or more Participant Teams are still equal, then the Participant Team with the superior disciplinary record in this competition shall be the highest placed Participant Team. Penalty points shall be accrued as follows:
20.8.1 for each Yellow Card received, a Participant Team will accrue 1 penalty point;
20.8.2 for each Red Card received, a Participant Team will accrue 3 penalty points;
20.8.3 and where an individual Player has received 2 Yellow Cards in the same NYL match, a Participant Team will accrue 3 penalty points (the same as for a Red Card).
20.9 If after applying the above criteria the final position of any two Participant Teams remains equal, their final placing will be determined by a toss of a coin under the direction and supervision of NZF. Where there are more than two Participant Teams who are equal having applied the above criteria then the final placing of these Participant Teams will be determined by the drawing of lots under the direction and supervision of NZF.
NATIONAL YOUTH LEAGUE TITLE RUN-IN ANALYSIS
1. Auckland City FC: Played 8, Won 6, Drew 0, Lost 2, GF: 32, GA: 7, Points: 18
Goal Difference: +25
08.12.19 v Canterbury United (A)
How fortunes can change in the space of a week - the Junior Navy Blues are in top spot and can win their third consecutive National Youth League title if they can defeat Canterbury United at English Park next week. The primary tie-breaker is goal difference and after the 11-0 mauling of Tasman United, Kris Bright's team hold the aces here. A draw or defeat would open the door for Waitakere United, Hamilton Wanderers or perhaps even Team Wellington, to snatch the trophy - to find out how, read on.
2. Hamilton Wanderers: Played 8, Won 6, Drew 0, Lost 2, GF: 24, GA: 13, Points: 18
Goal Difference: +11
08.12.19 v Waitakere United (H)
Hamilton Wanderers have performed well to stay in touch with the two Auckland sides and can turn their final match of the season into a winner take all affair only if Canterbury United do their bit and defeat Auckland City FC. A win for Hamilton Wanderers, on their own pitch, will destroy Waitakere United's title hopes and keep the Waikato side's firmly in the championship winning frame, as long as Auckland City FC lose in Christchurch. A draw between Wanderers and Waitakere, and a defeat for Auckland City FC and a four-goal win for Team Wellington, would see the capital kids win the title.
3. Waitakere United: Played 8, Won 6, Drew 0, Lost 2, GF: 28, GA: 20, Points: 18
Goal Difference: +8
08.12.19 v Hamilton Wanderers (A)
Two big defeats in two games has caused a crisis of confidence among Chris Zoricich's side who looked odds on favourites to win the title just a fortnight ago. They must defeat Hamilton Wanderers at Porritt Stadium next week and hope Canterbury United take a result off Auckland City FC to get their hands on a first National Youth League title since 2011. Waitakere United must win and hope Auckland City FC lose - if they draw with Wanderers their campaign is finished due to inferior goal difference.
4. Team Wellington Played 8, Won 5, Drew 1, Lost 2, GF: 23, GA: 16, Points: 16
Goal Difference: +7
07.12.19 v Eastern Suburbs (A)
For the capital kids to leapfrog the three teams ahead of them, they'll need to beat Eastern Suburbs AFC in Auckland by at least four goals and then hope for Canterbury to beat Auckland City FC and for Hamilton Wanderers and Waitakere United to a low scoring draw. They would immediately leapfrog Waitakere United on goal difference and logically have more goals for than Hamilton Wanderers which would see them go top - a beaten Auckland City FC would be a point behind all three and drop to fourth. This is the most unlikely scenario and if it were to come to fruition it would be the biggest title shock in the 18 year history of the competition.
ROLL OF HONOUR - NATIONAL YOUTH LEAGUE
2019 - Auckland City FC
2018 - Auckland City FC
2017 - Hamilton Wanderers
2016 - Team Wellington
2015 - Nelson Marlborough Falcons
2014 - Auckland City FC
2013 - Auckland City FC
2012 - Canterbury United
2011 - Waitakere United
2010 - Canterbury United
2009 - Auckland City FC
2008 - Waitakere United
2007 - Auckland City FC
2006 - Capital Football
2005 - Capital Football
2004 - North Harbour
2003 - Capital Football
2002 - Auckland Football
v Wellington Olympic, 11 March 2023, KO: TBC