Home REGIONAL Auckland Breaking down the Fox Memorial Premiership draw

Breaking down the Fox Memorial Premiership draw

Breaking down the Fox Memorial Premiership draw
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The draw has been confirmed for the 2017 Fox Memorial Premiership season, with the return of top-flight local footy now only a few weeks away.

We cast our eye over the first nine games of the 18-round season and look at who has the toughest, and easiest, runs to start the year.

Papakura

A demanding start to the year, taking on their 2016 grand final opponents, Pt Chevalier, in the opening round before playing both the third and fourth best teams from last year in Mt Albert and Glenora. But on a positive three of their first four are at home.

First nine games: Pt Chevalier (Home), Mangere East (Away), Mt Albert (H), Glenora (H), Richmond (A), Te Atatu (H), Northcote (A), Marist (H), Howick (A).

Pt Chevalier

They get an instant shot at some redemption when they face Papakura in Round 1, after losing to the south Auckland side in last year’s decider. After that they have what looks to be an easier period, taking on the newly-promoted Te Atatu Roosters as well as Mangere East and Northcote, who both struggled through last year.

First nine games: Papakura (A), Te Atatu (H), Mangere East (A), Northcote (A), Mt Albert (H), Marist (A), Glenora (H), Howick (H), Richmond (A).

Mt Albert

A local derby opens the campaign before a meeting with Howick, who have traditionally been a ‘hoodoo side’ for Mt Albert. The finish to the first round is favourable though, with clashes against Richmond, Te Atatu and Northcote.

First nine games: Marist (H), Howick (A), Papakura (A), Mangere East (H), Pt Chevalier (A), Glenora (H), Richmond (A), Te Atatu (A), Northcote (H).

Glenora

Glenora don’t face a side who finished ahead of them in 2016 until Papakura in Round 4, but have a punishing fortnight in the middle, playing both Mt Albert and Pt Chevalier away from home in consecutive weeks.

First nine games: Northcote (H), Marist (A), Howick (H), Papakura (A), Mangere East (H), Mt Albert (A), Pt Chevalier (A), Richmond (H), Te Atatu (H).

Marist

The Saints face 2016 top-four sides Mt Albert and Glenora in their opening two matches, before taking on Richmond and newcomers Te Atatu. The end of the first round of matches sees Marist face difficult road trips to play defending premiers Papakura and the Mangere East Hawks.

First nine games: Mt Albert (A), Glenora (H), Richmond (A), Te Atatu (H), Northcote (A), Pt Chevalier (H), Howick (H), Papakura (A), Mangere East (A).

Marist Saints, Sione Feao
Marist missed the play-offs last year and have a tough opening two matches in season 2017.

Howick

Five home games from their first nine makes this a good draw for the Hornets, and Howick only have to travel away once in the first month. It’s a difficult run home though with clashes against 2016’s top two sides, Pt Chevalier and Papakura.

First nine games: Mangere East (H), Mt Albert (H), Glenora (A), Richmond (H), Te Atatu (A), Northcote (H), Marist (A), Pt Chevalier (A), Papakura (H).

Richmond

Lots of travel to the start the year for the Bulldogs, with three of their first four on the road. It’s potentially a good draw for Richmond though, given they don’t play a top-four side from last year until Round 5. Because of that the run home is tough, with Mt Albert, Glenora and Pt Chevalier all to face in the final three weeks.

First nine games: Te Atatu (A), Northcote (A), Marist (H), Howick (A), Papakura (H), Mangere East (A), Mt Albert (H), Glenora (A), Pt Chevalier (H).

Te Atatu

Looks to be a pretty good start to the season, with Te Atatu opening their campaign against their second-division rivals from a couple of seasons ago, the Richmond Bulldogs. Aside from Pt Chevalier in Round 2, the Roosters won’t play one of the big three until the sixth week of the season.

First nine games: Richmond (H), Pt Chevalier (A), Northcote (H), Marist (A), Howick (H), Papakura (A), Mangere East (A), Mt Albert (H), Glenora (A).

Kyle Neal, Te Atatu Roosters, Kurt Neal, Fox Memorial Premiership, Peter Mills
The Te Atatu Roosters return to the Fox Memorial Premiership in 2017. Credit: photosport.nz

 

Mangere East

The Hawks have easily the hardest start to the year, having to play the Fox Memorial Premiership’s ‘big three’ of Papakura, Pt Chevalier and Mt Albert in the first four weeks. In fact, in their opening five matches Mangere East play all four of last year’s play-off sides. If they can get through that then there’s a slight reprieve, but it’s going to be hard for any team to maintain confidence through this type of start to the year.

First nine games: Howick (A), Papakura (H), Pt Chevalier (H), Mt Albert (A), Glenora (H), Richmond (H), Te Atatu (H), Northcote (A), Marist (H).

Northcote

A fairly balanced draw for the Tigers, with no obvious tough or easy runs at this stage. Northcote will however get some value from having back-to-back home games on two occasions through the first nine games, particularly given they get to play high-flyers Pt Chevalier and Papakura at Birkenhead War Memorial.

First nine games: Glenora (A), Richmond (H), Te Atatu (A), Pt Chevalier (H), Marist (H), Howick (A), Papakura (H), Mangere East (H), Mt Albert (A).

View the full 2017 Fox Memorial Premiership draw here.

(Main photo: photosport.nz).