Newcastle will not have to deal with newly crowned Asian women’s player of the year Caitlin Foord when they try to atone for a poor outing in the W-League against Sydney FC on Sunday.
The winger won the award on Friday in Abu Dhabi after dynamic performances for the Matildas at the Olympics, but she has been ruled out of Sydney’s visit to Newcastle with a foot injury.
The Sky Blues, who have no imports in their squad, are equal first on the W-League ladder after three wins and a loss to start the season.
Jets forward Jenna Kingsley said on Friday that Newcastle would need to improve sharply on last week’s 5-2 loss to Canberra to match Sydney, even without Foord on deck.
“We weren’t there on the day. Not everyone’s best performance,” she said. “We didn’t work well as a team together defending and we just couldn’t keep the ball, so pretty much we were having to defend the whole game.
“It’s such a short season, so you can’t dwell on the previous game.”
The Jets have two wins and two losses and will join the Sky Blues on nine points if they win in the curtain-raiser to the A-League game at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Kingsley said the Jets had worked on showing more composure on the ball.
“There’s a few things in training we’ve been working on at training, trying to keep the ball better. That’s been our problem in the past couple of weeks.
“They play 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield, so they like to play centrally, play a lot of one-twos, and if we’re going to keep trying to kick the ball long, we’re just going to struggle on the day to get a chance to go forwards. Basically just keeping the ball, playing in between the lines, playing the midfield and not just trying to kick long.”
She said coach Craig Deans wanted the side to keep up their attacking style.
“He’s not going to change just because of one result on the weekend. We didn’t defend well, we gave players like Michelle Heyman too much time and space on the ball and around the box, which he spoke about before the game, so we have to listen to instructions.”
Deans could hand a starting debut to new American goalkeeper Katelyn Rowland, who flew into Sydney on Friday to replace injured countrywoman Kelsey Wys.
The 22-year-old was part of the New York Flash side who won the National Women’s Soccer League this year. She has also played in the US under-20 and under-23 national teams.
Deans said he would talk to Rowland before deciding if she would start on Sunday.
Claire Coelho has been in goal since Wys was injured in a 1-0 win over Perth on November 20.