Liberty A-League Round 11 Match Preview

The Wellington Phoenix want to show Canberra United what they’re capable of in Sunday’s 11th round Liberty A-League match at Sky Stadium.

Canberra beat the Phoenix 3-0 at McKellar Park in round four, a complete reversal of the first meeting the two sides last season.

Wellington head coach Natalie Lawrence wants her side to make amends.

“We were really disappointed with how we played,” Lawrence said when asked about the match against Canberra six weeks ago.

“I don’t think they played against the Phoenix that day, so we need to show them what it’s like to play against the Phoenix. We want to right those wrongs of that game.”

CANBERRA, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 10: Ava Pritchard of the Phoenix reacts after the round four A-League Women’s match between Canberra United and Wellington Phoenix at McKellar Park on December 10, 2022, in Canberra, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

Lawrence believes the defeat to Canberra was a “big turning point” for the team.

The Nix have conceded just five goals in four games since and suffered agonising 1-0 defeats to Adelaide United and Western United either side of their first draw of the season against Western Sydney Wanderers.

“What that game allowed us to do was reset and really focus on some key progressions that we wanted and I think we’ve seen that.

“But one of the things I’ve spoken to the players about is we’ve got to stop saying that we deserve something out of the games and get something out of the games.

“They’ve (Canberra) just came off a 5-1 win so we know their threats, but we want them to play against the proper Phoenix tomorrow.”

It has been a disrupted week for the team. The squad only returned from Perth late on Monday night and then Paige Satchell, Emma Rolston, Mackenzie Barry, Grace Wisnewski and Brianna Edwards left to join Betsy Hassett in the Football Ferns squad.

“Everyone seems to be doing pretty well. The trip back was definitely long, but we’ve managed to get four [training] sessions in, which is great.”

Satchell, Barry and Wisnewski, on debut, came off the bench in the second-half against the U.S.A. on Wednesday afternoon, while Hassett, who didn’t travel to Western Australia, played the full 90 minutes before re-joining the Nix.

“Betsy’s come back from the Ferns looking really good. She’s obviously a bit tired after chasing around the States around for 90 minutes.

“I thought she played incredibly well. We’re really, really happy to have her back after a couple of weeks of not having her.

“We had a really good load management plan for her. She was away with the Ferns and we knew she was going to play 90 minutes and then she’s had modified training since she’s been back.

“She’s feeling physically good, so she’ll be able to back up no problems.”

Betsy Hassett has re-joined the Phoenix after playing the full 90 minutes of the Football Ferns’ international against the U.S.A. at Sky Stadium on Wednesday. Photo credit: Photomac.

Satchell, Rolston, Barry, Wisnewski and Edwards remain with the Football Ferns and won’t re-join the Phoenix until after Saturday afternoon’s second international against the U.S.A. at Eden Park.

Lawrence is hopeful the five, minus the suspended Rolston, will be able to feature against Canberra.

“We try and name our squad as early as we can to get everybody set and ready and we’ve said to everyone ‘all be ready’.

“But we’re really happy with the plan that we’ve put in place. I spoke to Jitka (Klimková) again last night and she’s all across all of the minutes and the importance of the game that we have tomorrow.

“I think we’ve managed to manage it pretty well between the two of us to get the best out of all the worlds.”

Grace Wisnewski is one of four Football Ferns who will return to Wellington on Saturday night in a bid to play against Canberra United on Sunday. Photo credit: Photomac.

As well as Emma Rolston being suspended, Natalie Lawrence is still unable to call on goalkeeper and captain Lily Alfeld (back injury) and playmaker Alyssa Whinham (personal reasons).

Lawrence is also dealing with a little bit of sickness in the team, but is hopeful it won’t prevent any players from playing on Sunday.

“We’re going to see how we get on today. It may limit some minutes rather than rule [players] out, but we’ll be sensible.

“We don’t want the sickness to spread around the group. We’ve got another short week coming up with an away trip to Brisbane so we can’t really afford to lose anyone else to sickness.

“We’ll see how they get on today, see whether it clears their lungs a bit and then make a decision from there.”

PERTH, AUSTRALIA – JANUARY 15: The Phoenix form a huddle during the round 10 A-League Women’s match between Perth Glory and Wellington Phoenix at Macedonia Park, on January 15, 2023, in Perth, Australia. (Photo by Will Russell/Getty Images)

The 11th round Liberty A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Canberra United is scheduled to kick-off at Sky Stadium in Wellington at 12:15pm (10:15am AEDT) and will be broadcast LIVE on Sky Sport 7 in New Zealand and Paramount+ and 10 Play in Australia.

Most recent A-League meeting: 10 December 2022 – Canberra United 3 Wellington Phoenix 0

All-time A-League head-to-head: Phoenix 1W, Canberra 1W & 0D.

Wellington Phoenix squad:
2. Saskia VOSPER, 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER, 6. Isabel GOMEZ, 7. Chloe KNOTT, 8. Grace WISNEWSKI, 9. Ava PRITCHARD, 11. Betsy HASSETT, 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 13. Paige SATCHELL, 14. Michaela ROBERTSON, 15. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 17. Claudia CICCO, 18. Te Reremoana WALKER, 19. Charlotte LANCASTER, 20. Milly CLEGG, 21. Michaela FOSTER, 22. Georgia CANDY (gk).
Unavailable: 1. Lily ALFELD (c) (gk) (injured), 10. Alyssa WHINHAM (personal reasons), 16. Emma ROLSTON (suspended).

Canberra United squad:  
2. Emily ROACH, 3. Grace TARANTO, 4. Holly MURRAY, 5. Emma ILIJOSKI, 6. Laura HUGHES, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Sasha GROVE, 9. Chengshu WU, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Grace JALE, 12. Hayley TAYLOR-YOUNG, 13. Sophia CHRISTOPHERSON, 14. Chloe MIDDLETON, 16. Kennedy FAULKNOR, 17. Vesna MILIVOJEVIC, 18. Chloe LINCOLN (gk), 19. Nickoletta FLANNERY, 23. Michelle HEYMAN (c), 24. Ellen GETT.
1. Keeley RICHARDS (GK), 15. Madison McCOMASKY.