La Banda is back on the hill. Photos Sarah Gloyer

Waiheke kicked off the new season with a confident 2-0 home win over pre-season favourites Bucklands Beach on Saturday.

After suffering consecutive relegations in the previous two campaigns Waiheke are now fighting in the tough Northern Conference League, where eight teams are battling and only the title winners will have a chance of promotion. The silver lining for Waiheke is that there are no restrictions on overseas players in this division so the full force of the island’s passionate Latino players will be available for selection every week. Coach Sammy Negash has assembled an intriguing squad of wily veterans and skilful young local talent and after a gruelling pre-season boot camp the men in red were ready to rumble. • Carl Grimmer

Full story in this week’s Gulf News… Out Now!!!

© Waiheke Gulf News Ltd

Subscribe and read Gulf News and Waiheke Weekender Online