Team Wellington coach Jose Figueira says an intensely competitive domestic campaign leaves his side primed for the start of the OFC Champions League group stage in New Caledonia this weekend.
The two-time OFC Champions League finalist begin their quest to go one better than 2015 and 2016 in the northern New Caledonia town of Koné where they are grouped with hosts Hienghéne Sport and Fijian champions Ba. They begin, however, with Puaikura FC from the Cook Islands who earned their group stage debut by winning the OFC Champions League qualifier last month in Tonga.
On the domestic front, the defending New Zealand champions are locked in the tightest Stirling Sports Premiership playoff race in recent memory and while they currently sit second on the table with just two games to play, they could finish anywhere from top to sixth place, such is the closeness of the race.
Figueira, in his first year at the helm of Team Wellington, believes the season-long scrap for points has his team focused rather than fatigued.
“It leaves us in a great place,” he said.