Coey Turipa will lead the Nelson Marlborough Falcons in the ASB Youth League final this Saturday. Photo: Phillip Rollo.

Falcons ready for football final

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This weekend’s ASB Youth League final at Trafalgar Park will be the biggest football game to be played in the region in more than a decade, and the captain of the home side is confident that the Nelson Marlborough Falcons will be the ones celebrating come full-time.

Coey Turipa will lead the New Zealand King Salmon Nelson Marlborough Falcons against Auckland City this Saturday in just their second season of national league football, and he says the prospect of playing in a national final hasn’t sunk in yet.

“I think that when the first whistle blows against Auckland City then it’ll hit us.

We’ll really know we’re in a final and we’re a really good chance of winning a final and in front of a home crowd,” he says.

The Falcons won eight straight games to book a place in the ASB Youth League final with two rounds to spare. Since qualifying, coach Davor Tavich has given nearly every single player a run and decided to rest most of the senior players during that spell. Nelson lost to YoungHeart Manawatu and Canterbury United in those games but it shouldn’t be a worry for a team that managed to scrap out wins when it counted, even in the most unlikely situations.

Auckland City, the defending champions, haven’t lost a game all season and enter the final with an eight win, two draw record. Ross McPhie, who actually played for Nelson Suburbs and scored a goal in the Chatham Cup when he was just 14 years old, is a member of their squad.

Coey expects Auckland City to play a similar style to Team Wellington – a side with talented individuals across the park.

The ASB Youth League final kicks off at 1pm at Trafalgar Park this Saturday, with a Nelson Youth XI taking on a Marlborough Youth XI in a curtain raiser from 10am.