• Expect big Bay forward to rattle Phoenix

Expect big Bay forward to rattle Phoenix

Check out the above photo of Hawke's Bay United footballer Cameron Emerson.

Yes you could be forgiven if you thought he was a rugby player rather than a regular forward in the Thirsty Whale Hawke's Bay United New Zealand Football Championship squad. Emerson's rugby physique can be put to good use if deployed in the right manner particularly against smaller opponents like the Bay lads will meet when they host the youthful Wellington Phoenix Reserves in a 12th round ISPS Handa Premiership match at Napier's Bluewater Stadium on Sunday.

Emerson started in last weekend's away defeat to Canterbury United and is hoping for a second starting XI appearance on Sunday.

"It was good to get a start and I gave it everything I could. We had our chances," Emerson recalled.

"I want to prove myself again and I know it would put a smile on the faces of my teammates if I could put the ball in the back of the net," Emerson said.

A Napier Boys' High School old boy who did his Year 13 studies at Mount Albert Grammar School when he was in the New Zealand under-17 squad, Emerson, got the final five minutes of the Bay team's fifth round 3-0 loss to the Phoenix Reserves.

"This is a bottom of the table clash and we want to get redemption for what happened down there. The boys will be fired up and we have been putting in the work on the training field and in the gym," Emerson explained.

Back in September Emerson, 25, returned from a five-year football scholarship at Anderson University in South Carolina. During the last three years of that stint he completed a Bachelor of Kinesiology degree.

"It's been a bit of an adjustment coming home and I'm lucky I've got my football to keep me focused," Emerson said.

He intends to play for Napier City Rovers at Central League level in the winter and help the side retain the Chatham Cup.

Hawke's Bay United co-coach and centre back Bill Robertson said his troops are looking forward to returning to Bluewater Stadium following last weekend's disappointing away 2-1 loss to the Canterbury United Dragons.

"We've got to build on what was a reasonable performance."

Robertson pointed out that although the Bay side lost 3-0 to the Phoenix Reserves earlier this season it was another one of those matches the Bay dominated for long periods.

"As with a number of our games we created some good opportunities which we didn't capitalise on. It's important we do that this weekend," Robertson said.
The full Hawke's Bay United team for Sunday's 1pm match is:
Scott Morris (GK), Jim Hoyle (co-captain), Jackson Woods, Kaeden Atkins, Hugo Delhommelle, Karan Mandair, Gavin Hoy, Sam Pickering, Manyumow Achol, Ahmad Othman, Cameron Emerson, Jarrod McKechnie, Fergus Neil (co-captain), Zac Madsen, Bill Robertson, Jorge Akers, Oscar Mason (RGK).

Photo Courtesy of Steph Gunther