Liberty A-League Round 19 Match Preview

The Wellington Phoenix have put in extra work in front of goal ahead of a busy end to their Liberty A-League season.

The Phoenix play their final three matches in eight days, starting with the Jets in Newcastle on Saturday afternoon.

The Nix were beaten 1-0 by the Perth Glory at Sky Stadium last weekend, despite dominating possession and having 24 shots to Perth’s eight.

Head coach Natalie Lawrence knows the team needs to be more clinical in front of goal.

“We’ve trained a lot on how we can score,” Lawrence told media on Thursday.

“We’ve been working on our composure under pressure in the box. If we do get to a point where we’re getting a lot of shots on goal, we have to start taking them.”

Wellington have shown they are capable of finding the back of the net this season.

“We scored five against Canberra. We scored three, four controversially, against Brisbane so we know we can score goals.

“It’s bringing that belief and not letting the occasion take away from what we’re trying to do.

“Just settle into the game and take our chances.”

Newcastle have won their two previous meetings with the Phoenix, but have conceded 47 goals this season, more than double Wellington’s tally.

“We know that whilst they’ve conceded a lot of goals, they’ve also scored goals,” Lawrence said.

“Just look at their game against Adelaide where they scored two quite similar goals in transition.

“We know that they have their threats. [Lauren] Allan’s having a great season. They’re pretty quick and they’re pretty direct with her. We’ll try and nullify that.”

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA – DECEMBER 31: Lauren Allan of the Jets celebrates scoring her second goal during the round eight A-League Women’s match between Newcastle Jets and Adelaide United at No. 2 Sports Ground on December 31, 2022, in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Matt Blyth/Getty Images)

The Jets sit just two points above the Nix on the ladder and have played one more match.

The Phoenix will remain in Australia after Saturday as they will play Adelaide United in South Australia on Tuesday night before returning home to host Melbourne Victory in their final game of the season on Saturday week.

Lawrence believes the final three games will have a big impact on how they view the season as a whole.

“If you end well that’s the lasting memory of the season.

“That was similar last year. We ended the season strong and more competitive.

“This season we’ve been more competitive throughout so if we can…turn those performances into goals and points, then we’ll probably look back on the season pretty fondly.”

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA – MARCH 11: Kate Taylor of Phoenix celebrates kicking a goal with team mates during the round 17 A-League Women’s match between Sydney FC and Wellington Phoenix at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, on March 11, 2023, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

With two games in four days the Nix have travelled with an extended squad.

Attacking midfielder Alyssa Whinham hasn’t made the trip after sustaining an ankle injury last week.

“It’s turned out her ankle is a little bit worse than we first thought so unfortunately she’s going to be out for the rest of the season.

“Unfortunate for her. It’s not the ending she wanted but she’s in pretty good spirits and will continue to support the girls.”

The club has signed Emma Main as an injury replacement.

Emma Main in action at Wellington Phoenix training. Photo credit: Photomac.

“Really, really excited for Ems. She’s a product of the academy, is a Wellingtonian and she’s trained with us all season.

“It was a pretty easy replacement for us. She’s an attacking player, she knows how we play and what we want to do. S

“She’s pretty excited and she’s trained incredibly well this week so for her to be given that chance is great.”

Main previously played for Upper Hutt City and Wellington United before joining the Phoenix academy.

“I think it shows we’ve got a good system here. We have a really good pathway into the A-League women’s team.

“She wanted to stay in Wellington, she trained with the boys, she’s done those years of really working hard physically and technically as a striker.”

The 19th round Liberty A-League match between the Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets is scheduled to kick-off at No. 2 Sportsground in Newcastle at 5:00pm (3:00pm AEDT) on Saturday and will be broadcast LIVE on Sky Sport 5 and 7 in New Zealand and Paramount+ and 10 Play in Australia.

Most recent A-League meeting: 27 December 2021 – Wellington Phoenix 1 Newcastle Jets 2

All-time A-League head-to-head: Phoenix 0W, Jets 2W & 0D

Wellington Phoenix squad:
2. Saskia VOSPER, 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER, 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, 16. Emma ROLSTON, 17. Claudia CICCO, 18. Te Reremoana WALKER, 19. Charlotte LANCASTER, 20. Milly CLEGG, 21. Michaela FOSTER, 22. Georgia CANDY (gk), 25. Emma MAIN.
Unavailable: 1. Lily ALFELD (gk) (injured), 6. Isabel GOMEZ (injured), 10. Alyssa WHINHAM (injured).

Newcastle Jets squad: 
1. Georgina WORTH, 2. Emily ROACH, 3. Emily GARNIER, 4. Josie ALLAN, 5. Leia PUXTY, 6. Cass DAVIS, 7. Chloe WALANDOUW, 9. Tara ANDREWS, 10. Sophie STAPLEFORD, 11. Tessa TAMPLIN, 12. Murphy AGNEW, 13. Lauren ALLAN, 14. Lucy JOHNSON, 18. Taren KING, 19. Ash BRODIGAN, 20. Claire COELHO, 22. Cannon CLOUGH, 23. Teigen ALLEN, 25. Lara GOOCH, 27. Renee POUNTNEY.
24. Josie MORLEY.