Warkworth and Puhoi soccer to square off next season?

After a challenging season in the AFF/NFF Conference, Warkworth AFC is considering dropping down a league to the NFF senior mens division one.

This would put them in the same league as the newly formed Puhoi SC mens first team.

With a swathe of players having retired at the end of last season, Warkworth was struggling to field both a reserve and first team required in the conference league.

Captain James Woodall says there were several players who were having to play two competition games on Saturday morning.

“It was time for youth to step up and we have had quite a few players taking on the challenge and leading the team. Ben Patterson is 16 and has shone phenomenally,” he says.

Woodall himself became captain midway through last season, and says he has learned as much from the team as he has shared.

There were some shining examples of what Warkworth is capable of during the season, including a draw with Beachlands Maraetai – the team that ultimately won the conference.

Warkworth also had a win against Lynn Avon, 2-1, midway through the season, thanks to a good shift from the backline.

“We can look back at those games and say we had the right attitude on the day and this is what can happen.”

Meanwhile, Puhoi SC mens first division team finished its first season with enough points to stay in its league and is eyeing a promotion for next season.

Highlights for the year included beating Takapuna 6- 0 and making the second round of the Chatham Cup after beating Auckland Volcanoes.

The Chatham Cup is a national knock out competition that runs alongside the AFF/NFF league and it presents smaller clubs like Puhoi with the opportunity to go up against the big guys.

In the second round, Puhoi drew Onehunga Mangere, which is two divisions above, providing a great challenge to test the players’ skills, Puhoi head coach Luke McIntyre says.

McIntyre says the focus for the club going forward is to recruit more locals. Long commutes from the North Shore have been the most challenging factor for the fledgling team.

Despite this, Puhoi went toe-to-toe with teams like Hibiscus United and Glenfield, which won the league, and in those games Puhoi only lost by a point.

“We can definitely compete. We just want to kick on and get promotion into the conference for 2021.”