PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES
Canberra United FC v Newcastle Jets FC
Round 4 – 4pm Saturday 26th November at McKellar Park
Overall Head to Head:
Newcastle Jets FC 1
Canberra United FC 10
Round 5: Canberra United FC 0 Newcastle Jets FC 0 at Magic Park.
Where they sit on the Ladder:
Newcastle Jets FC 1st (6pts)
Canberra United FC 6th (3pts)
Past 3 Starts (Most Recent First):
Jets – Won Glory 1-0 (h), Won Victory 4-0 (a), Lost City 0-1 (a)
Canberra – Won Roar 1-0 (a), Lost City 2-1 (h), Bye
This weekend Newcastle head to a venue they have never had success at, in fact, they have never taken a point in the previous eight seasons of the Westfield W-League away from McKellar Park in Canberra.
The Jets’ only win anywhere against the side from the nation’s capital was way back in their first ever match in the W-League. The year was 2008, the month October, the score 2-1 and it was Katie Gill who scored twice that afternoon at Magic Park for Newcastle.
Since that match, the Jets lost 10 straight to Canberra, before drawing their two most recent clashes, both in Newcastle. But, this is a different Newcastle side to the one that has been starved of success over the last seven seasons of the Westfield W-League.
Even on the weekend, seemingly not at their best, the Jets were able to fight hard and claim a gritty 1-0 win. Quality sides win when they are not at their best, and while coach Craig Deans was not happy with the performance he will be more than pleased with the result. In comparison, three 0-0 draws last season, two of which were at home cruelled Newcastle’s playoff chances.
The most impressive aspect of Newcastle’s win last Sunday was their ability to keep Matilda and Glory linchpin Sam Kerr quiet for much of the game. While Kerr had plenty of possession and threatened, she was given limited chances on goal. The only clear cut chance for Kerr was a one-on-one late in the game when she shot straight at Jets keeper Claire Coelho. Gema Simon producing a sterling performance at left back, blocking Kerr’s crosses and ensuring her impact on the match was reduced.
And Simon, along with her defensive partners of Elizabeth O’Reilly and Megan Oyster in the centre and youngster Sophie Nenadovic on the right will have their work cut out for them again this weekend when Matildas Michelle Heyman – the leading goal-scorer in Westfield W-League history – and Ashleigh Sykes come charging at them on Saturday.
Canberra has had an indifferent start to the season, after a first round bye, they fell 2-1 to the Melbourne City, who still are yet to be beaten in the Westfield W-League, before winning a tight contest 1-0 against the Brisbane Roar.
If there is one thing for certain about this match, sadly for the neutrals, there won’t be many goals. Last season Canberra conceded eight, to be the second best defence in the league while the Jets were third best with twelve conceded.
Already this year each side has only conceded just a goal each in five combined matches. United keeper Trudy Burke was outstanding for the visitors in Brisbane last weekend and is a more than capable replacement for Matildas’ keeper Lydia Williams who joined Melbourne City in the off-season.
So, expect not too many goals come Saturday, in a battle of two of the best defensive units in the competition.
In a blow for the Jets first choice goalkeeper, Kelsey Wys, has been ruled out for the season after rupturing her ACL in the win over Perth. Claire Coelho will start in goals after a best on ground performance in her absence.
Key: Michelle Heyman v Jen Hoy. Both sides have a rock solid defence, so the key battle will be between the opposing strikers. While they might come near each other on the pitch their contributions will be vital, and their input will go a long way to deciding who wins this one.