Chelsea Alley to lead Waikato in 2019 campaign

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Whilst the 2018 Waikato player of the year did lead the side last year on many occasions, Sosoli Talawadua was officially captain. But with Talawadua at Manawatu this season, Alley will take charge. The second five-eighth had a sublime international season with the Black Ferns, having started five out of the six Tests. She’s looking forward to getting stuck in with her Waikato team mates. 
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Wayne Maxwell will again coach the side, with new assistants Chris Tane, Warren Hodges and Joe Nayacakalou. 

Halfback Ariana Bayler will miss the season through injury, but she has been recruited as assistant manager for the year. Waikato have also lost the services of Karli Faneva who made the move to Bay of Plenty. On the flipside, they’ve welcomed inside back Renee Holmes from the Volcanix. 

Winger Sophie Millar will be one to watch this year. She comes from a sprinting background and will be dangerous with the ball in hand. 21 year-old lock Jade Coates has a lot of talent and has wanted to play for Waikato since she was a little girl, so she will be looking to make the most of her opportunities and prop Stephanie Lualua is back and revitalised after taking a couple of years off.

Flanker Kennedy Simon and prop Toka Natua return for Waikato, after both having solid Black Ferns campaigns. Simon made her debut against USA at the Super Series in San Diego and went on to play four Tests, while Natua featured in all six Tests and notched up her 20th cap against England. 
Waikato finished second in the Premiership but lost to Counties Manukau in the semi-final last season. With a new coaching team on board, each bringing their own key technical knowledge, expect great things from Waikato in 2019. 

2018 Farah Palmer Cup result: 
3rd in Premiership 

2019 Farah Palmer Cup fixtures:

Week 1: Waikato v Auckland, Sat 31 August 5.35pm – FMG Stadium Waikato (DH)
Week 2: Waikato BYE
Week 3: Manawatu v Waikato, Sat 14 September 1pm – Central Energy Trust Arena, Palmerston North
Week 4: Waikato v Bay of Plenty, Sat 21 September 12.35pm – FMG Stadium Waikato (DH)
Week 5: Wellington v Waikato, Sat 28 September 2.35pm – Westpac Stadium, Wellington (DH)
Week 6: Waikato v Canterbury, Sat 6 October 2.35pm – FMG Stadium Waikato (DH)
Week 7: Counties Manukau v Waikato, Sat 12 October 2.30pm – Navigation Homes Stadium, Pukekohe

2019 Waikato squad: 
Ashlee Gaby-Sutherland, Awhina Tangen-Wainohu, Azusa Yama, Calista Ruruku, Chelsea Alley, Chyna Hohepa, Donna Reynolds, Emma-Lee Heta, Esther Tilo-Faiaoga, Francea Hansen, Hope Fraser, Jade Coates, Josina Ngare, Karly Macey, Kennedy Simon, Kennedy Tahau, Lena Mitchell, Leomie Kloppers, Lonita Ngalu-Lavemei, Mereana Hyde, Raquel Anderson-Pitman, Renee Holmes, Rina Paraone, Ryleigh Hayes, Sophie Millar, Stephanie Lualua, Tanya Kalounivale, Tazmin Gaby-Sutherland, Toka Natua, Tyra Begbie 

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