Debutante’s goal

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By MATTHEW MCKEW

Queenstown Rovers women’s gaffer says they’re ‘‘in it to win it’’ and wants all three points on Saturday at the Queenstown Events Centre.

Mark Ford says it’s been a topsy-turvy football season for the side so far, but they’re still
in the running in the Kingsgate Women’s Premier League and have spun Covid-19 chaos into a positive, giving youngsters a chance to impress.

Saffron Millar’s enjoyed a goal-scoring debut aged just 14, while five other teens are
training with the seniors who range up to 43 years old.

Millar’s mum, Trudie, says the left-winger was thrilled to get her chance, having started
the season as the only girl in the mixed Queenstown under-16s.

‘‘She was absolutely over the moon … she doesn’t have any fear of playing with the older
girls.’’

Ford says the team usually benefits from overseas players who work in Queenstown’s
hospitality sector, but that option dried up after the virus outbreak.

‘‘But what that gave us was a really good opportunity to look at some of our young players
from the region.’’

One young starlet, Kiara Bercelli, was rewarded for her early-season performances with a scholarship at a Christchurch school, and Ford says talent scouts are even considering her for a future at national level.

Ford’s hopeful Rovers’ season will be a platform to build on for future success, but that doesn’t mean he’s letting his players cruise this year.

‘‘We are constantly challenging the best sides and, like the men, we have to travel to
Dunedin every other week and it’s a lot of commitment from the girls.

‘‘So, yeah, we’ll take the opportunities to give young players a chance in the team, but we’re not there just to make up the numbers.’’

The team crumbled to league leaders Dunedin Technical last weekend, 4-0, but Ford’s confident the team will bounce back when they play at the Queenstown Events Centre
oval on Saturday from 12.30pm.

The women take on Otago Uni B, while the men, who drew 2-2 with Dunedin’s Roslyn last weekend, take on Caversham at the same venue from 2.45pm.

matthew.mckew@scene.co.nz