NEWCASTLE Jets have two weeks to get their game – and their attitude – in order or risk missing the finals.
That was the blunt message from coach Craig Deans after the Jets were stunned 2-1 by cellar dwellers Adelaide United at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday.
The home side made a bright start but a peach of a freekick by Adelaide’s American import Danielle Colaprico in the 21st minute turned the tide.
Kate Stengell equalised from a deflected shot seven minutes later, only for the visitors to regain the lead on the stroke of half-time when Kathleen Naughton was left unmarked at the back post and headed home.
The Jets threw everything at Adelaide in the final ten minutes. Jenna Kingsley had a header cleared off the line and Natasha Prior had a header hit the cross bar in injury time.
But coach Craig Deans said the Jets got what they deserved.
“If you are playing a team coming last and you have to wait until the last 10 minutes to show the right attitude, then there are problems,” he said.
“We didn’t deserve to win. Adelaide were better on the day and wanted to win more. The difference in the two teams tonight was attitude. Ours wasn’t up to scratch.
“We have the bye now and it will be a long two weeks.”
The Jets, who haven’t made the finals in nine seasons, could drop to fourth by the end of the round.
They have the bye next weekend before meeting Canberra (away) and Melbourne City (home).
Asked if he took any positives from the match, Deans said: “No, nothing, not one, other than now we know we are not as good as we think we are.
“If we are not switched on every time we play, we are not going to win. That is about the only thing I could say is a good thing from the game.
“We have two weeks to make sure the next two games are taken seriously and we get results.”
Cellar dwellers Adelaide hadn’t won since a 3-1 triumph over Perth Glory at home in round three on November 10.
In contrast, the Jets were unbeaten in five outings, including three wins.
And with a second place on the line, the home side were quick into stride.
Kate Stengel fired a left foot shot in the turn which was well saved by Adelaide keeper Sarah Willacy in the third minute.
The keeper did well again two minutes later, rushing out to smother a Hannah Brewer effort.
With Emily Van Egmond and Tori Huster dominant, the Jets took control of the middle of the park and pushed forward.
But it was the visitors who struck first, through a brilliant freekick from Danielle Colaprico in the 21st minute, curling a right-foot shot over the wall and into the left corner.
The goal was Adelaide’s first shot for the match.
“It was the same as last week, we had five or six shots in the first 15 minutes and the first time Sydney went forward they scored. We did the same today,” Deans said.
“I was thinking hopefully they have learned from last week but we gave away a silly freekick. They scored a good goal from it, and from that point on, the performance was not good enough. It was not up to the standard I expect of the players and if they are honest with themselves it is not to the standard they expect.”