Hand makes impressive start

But that didn’t show on the field as she wove her way through the Samoa defence on her way to becoming one of two New Zealanders to notch up a hat-trick.
Hand has been on the rise even before she was named most valuable player at the New Zealand Secondary Schools Girls Football Tournament as a 14-year-old back in 2013.
She arrived at Mount Albert Grammar School in 2012, around the same time as former Waitakere United coach Paul Marshall who heads the football programme.
After Hand’s secondary schools success he said: “She’s got the tools to go a long way in the game”.
And judging by yesterday’s performance she’s well on her way to making that a reality.
Playing up front Hand’s movement both on and off the ball was insightful and when she wasn’t scoring off her own runs, was helping clear a path for her teammates to take chances of their own.
“The goal was to play as a team and not individually,” Hand says of her approach to the opening match.
“Then to work on my role as a striker, press the full back and just try hard I guess.
“I think we played well as a team, it was our first game together, so I think we did really well.”
Hand’s first two goals were the result of some great build-up work from her team mates and quality finishing on her part.
However it’s the third that really captured her abilities as she made a darting solo run through the defence before cutting a shot in from inside the penalty area that had Samoa’s goalkeeper Adriann Esene well beaten.
But if you ask her to choose a favourite it’s an almost impossible task for the prolific striker.
“I don’t know, I guess they were all good. Each goal is individually good so I don’t know, I guess all of them?”
The final result gives the impression of an easy walk for New Zealand but Hand acknowledged the efforts of Samoa in making things difficult for her side.
“I thought they managed to stop us quite a lot,” she says.
“They played quite bunched up and always managed to get the toe in when we were trying to shoot so I think they did really well.”
With two matches to go in the Group Stage of the competition, and an eye on the knock-out matches Hand is keen to continue proving herself an asset to Gareth Turnbull’s young side.


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