Women’s Match Preview: Wellington Phoenix vs. Newcastle Jets

The Wellington Phoenix want to create more history in their second Liberty A-League women’s match.

Gemma Lewis’ side travel up the New South Wales coast tomorrow night to face the Jets at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle, seven days after they earned a first ever point in their historic season opener in Wollongong.

That result has raised expectations.

“We always going to approach every game trying to win it…but I think the difference is it’s probably more realistic,” Lewis told media on the eve of the match.

“It’s not like we’re selling them a dream. I think they’re definitely believing they could get a result out of this game.

“Ideally as a team we’d be really happy if we built on what we did last week.

“If we can use last week as the standard and then add and build then we’d be happy and we’d hope from that hopefully we’d get a result because of it.”

Lewis says the players are hungry too and she’s hoping “that’ll drive them on to hopefully have another good performance”.

“From the players point of view they’re wanting to prove themselves a little bit as well. I think some of them feel a little bit underestimated.

“That’s helping us push a little bit more and continue that drive and continue that momentum to see if we can prove people a little bit wrong.”

Opponents now know what to expect from the Phoenix, but Lewis believes her side are still going to be underdogs against Newcastle.

“They’ll definitely be targeting us to get three points.

“A home game, a double-header for them they’re definitely going to be pushing to get a result against us.

“But we saw moments of some of their defensive transition, of some of their play out that we thought we could exploit in our press and hopefully exploit in a counter-attack.”

The Jets opened their season with a 3-1 defeat to Sydney FC, but have been boosted this week by the signing of Matildas midfielder Emily van Egmond on a short-term contract.

Van Egmond has played more than 100 matches for Australia and has re-joined Newcastle from the Orlando Pride, where she plays in the NWSL.

“She’s a world class player so I think it definitely gives them a lot more confidence.

“But it doesn’t change anything for them (the Phoenix) going in. They knew they were going to be the underdogs. They knew the players they were playing against were going to be more experienced than them and technically seen as better players than them, but it just gives them another challenge.

“They’ve not really got anything to lose. If you’re playing in the midfield against van Egmond and you end up doing really well that makes people stand up and look at you.

“She’s expected to do well, whereas an Izzy Gomez or a Grace Wisnewski against her probably are expected to maybe get run over by her, but if they don’t then they’re the ones that end up looking good.”

Forward Kelli Brown has defied the odds and recovered from the ankle injury which kept her out of the season opener, but on the eve of the match a decision had yet to be made on whether she would feature against Newcastle.

“We’re still at the moment umming and ahing on whether or not we’re going to use her for this game.  

“If we were to use her for this game, she’d be limited so she’d be used as a substitute. That’s all she would have been cleared for terms of minutes.”

The second round A-League women’s match between the Wellington Phoenix and Newcastle Jets will kick-off at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle at 5:05pm AEDT (7:05pm NZT) on Friday, with the game LIVE on Sky Sport 2.

Wellington Phoenix squad: 1. Lily ALFELD (gk) (c), 2. Saskia VOSPER, 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Jordan JASNOS, 6. Isabel GOMEZ, 7. Chloe KNOTT, 8. Grace WISNEWSKI, 9. Ava PRITCHARD, 10. Grace JALE, 11. Kelli BROWN, 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 13. Te Reremoana WALKER, 14. Cushla RUE, 15. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 16. Hannah JONES, 17. Talitha KRAMER, 18. Annabel MARTIN, 19. Charlotte LANCASTER, 20. Alyssa WHINHAM.