Dunedin Technical have already created history in becoming the first club from the Football South region to qualify for the final of the country’s premier women’s knockout cup competition but captain Coral Seath believes the team can go one better.
Technical meet Forrest Hill Milford United in the Kate Sheppard Cup final this Sunday afternoon at QBE Stadium on Auckland’s North Shore, after an impressive semi-final win over a strong Wellington United side in the capital.
Forrest Hill Milford will likely go into the final as favourites, having won the cup in 2016, and knocking out last year’s champions Glenfield Rovers in this year’s semi-finals.
The underdog tag won’t hurt the belief of the Dunedin side though.
“The way we look at it is that everyone loves an underdog,” said Seath a few days out from the biggest match of her career.
Seath was delighted with her team’s performance in their semi-final win over Wellington United.
“We knew it was going to be a tough game but we felt like we were at our best – everyone was fit, everyone was playing well and everyone was excited, compared to last year when we went into the semi feeling like we just had to defend.”
Last year saw Technical qualify for the semi-finals for the first time, where they fought admirably before losing to eventual champions Glenfield Rovers. But Seath explains the huge strides her squad, which features a raft of Southern United players, have taken over the past 12 months, which included a first-ever play-off spot in the National Women’s League.
“After such a strong campaign for Southern United last year, we’ve come up against a lot of these top players before and now we are really looking forward to it. The belief in our team is so different to last year – everyone thinks we can do it and we’ve got so much support behind us.”
“I think beating a Wellington team this year helped prove that belief as well – beating a North Island team shows we can compete with anyone.”
Qualifying for the final is a fairy-tale finish for head coach Graeme Smaill, who is stepping down from the role after eight years at the helm.
“The fact that it’s Graeme’s last year is a huge driver for us,” said Seath. “We’ve already done him so proud by getting into the final but then to win it – well, like he said you couldn’t write a script any better.”
“Graeme has done so much hard work for so many years, so to get to the final is such a huge credit to him and what he has put in for the girls and the environment he has created as well.”
A loyal band of club supporters are making the trek up to Auckland to attend the final but fans unable to make the journey will still have the opportunity to watch the Dunedin team in action, with the final being televised live on SKY Sport.
Although that brings additional nerves, Seath says it also provides an opportunity for the southerners.
“The girls are a bit nervous because it will be the first time on TV for a lot of us but it’s also a great chance for the young girls to get in the spotlight and get noticed by New Zealand Football.”
Wearing the captain’s armband also brings added responsibility but Seath feels the tight-knit nature of the squad means all of the players are looking out for each other.
“I think there’s a bit more pressure as captain but I know all the girls back me up and believe in me, just like I believe in them. As captain, you’ve always got to be the one to try and keep the noise down and make sure that everyone’s okay and not freaking out, even though you’re probably freaking out more than them!”
Seath is in the midst of a busy week with the aspiring coach in Taupo for the Girls Lotto Premier Tournament with St Hilda’s Collegiate School. She will travel directly from Taupo to Auckland on Saturday where she will meet up with her Dunedin Technical teammates.
Sunday can’t come quick enough for Seath.
“My team mate Mikaela Hunt had recently explained that the semi-final felt like Christmas – well, this feels like Christmas twice over in one year! Just to have the chance to be in the final is incredible for the supporters at the club.”
Seath knows the club will also have the support of the wider southern footballing community in behind them.
“Everyone is behind us and the environment between all the clubs is so different now. We’ve had so much support and the girls are so excited – we just want to be there already!”
New Zealand Football Cup Finals Day
Football Foundation Kate Sheppard Cup Final
Dunedin Technical vs Forrest Hill Milford United
Sunday 9 September, 12pm
QBE Stadium, Auckland
Tickets: $10 (U-16 free), gains access to both matches
ISPS Handa Chatham Cup Final
Birkenhead United vs Western Suburbs
Sunday 9 September, 3.30pm
QBE Stadium, Auckland
Tickets: $10, (U-16 free), gains access to both matches
Story courtesy of Morgan Jarvis, Football South
Article added: Thursday 06 September 2018