NEWCASTLE 15-year-old Annalee Grove could become the youngest ever W-League goalkeeper after coming in as a replacement for injured American Kelsey Wys.
The Jets announced the signing of Grove on Wednesday, three days after Wys went down early with a season-ending knee injury in the 1-0 win over Perth at McDonald Jones Stadium.
Claire Coelho, 20, came on for Wys on Sunday and was later named player of the match. Coach Craig Deans said on Monday that Coelho would start in goals against Canberra on Saturday in the round-four match at MacKellar Park and the club were exploring their options for Wys’ replacement.
On Wednesday, the Jets said in a statement that Grove had signed a two-week contract and would travel with the team to Canberra as back up for Coelho. Deans said Grove had been training with the team since last season.
“It’s a good opportunity for her to see what is required of a player at this level,’’ Deans said in the statement.
“She’s got a short period of time to get as much out of the experience as she can.”
Grove, an Emerging Jets talent from Mount Hutton, has made a rapid rise through the junior ranks this year. At 14, she was named goalkeeper of the under-17 NTC tournament that Northern NSW won for the first time in Canberra in June. She went on to represent Australia at under-17 and 19 level.
If Grove takes the field this season, she will become the youngest shot-stopper in W-League history – ahead of fellow Newcastle product Hannah Southwell. Grove is 15 years and five months old, while Southwell was 15 years and seven months when she debuted for the Jets in 2014.
Meanwhile, Matildas midfielder Chloe Logarzo was having key-hole surgery on her ankle on Wednesday night to determine the extent of syndesmosis damage.
Logarzo said her doctor wanted to examine the injury internally before determining if it required a band to bring the separated joint together. If a band was not needed, she was hopeful missing only a month of action and featuring this year for Newcastle. If the band was needed, she was facing two more months out.