When the Newcastle Jets W-League side hit the road for the first time this season coach Craig Deans said it will be a matter of showing respect to the star-studded Melbourne City without being too respectful.
The Jets are flying high atop the competition ladder with Perth Glory after an undefeated start at home in the opening two rounds.
They beat Western Sydney 2-1 then Sydney FC 2-0 but face a much tougher test in the form of City at AAMI Park on Sunday.
City are considered the strongest team on paper with several Matildas players and a string of internationals in their starting side.
They stumbled in a 4-1 loss to Glory in round one before edging out Melbourne Victory 1-0 last weekend but will still carry the favourites tag against the Jets and Deans was happy to keep flying under the radar.
“It’s another team we get written off against and that’s fine,” Deans said.
“It’s a good challenge for us and a good challenge for individuals to show their own progression because we have to keep improving every week, individually and as a team.
“At the start of the year we said if we want to be in the finals then we’ve got to beat these sort of teams at some point. We’re ready for it.”
Newcastle have not beaten the back-to-back champions since City entered the W-League in 2015 but have matched it with the competition heavyweights.
“We played them the first game last year and lost 1-0 and that was probably my fault probably because tactically I was a little bit conservative compared to what we normally are,” Deans said.
“It didn’t work and we conceded a goal within the first 10 minutes.”
“We changed back and we dominated the game after that. We learned a lot from that game in that we can’t be too respectful. Be respectful but not to the point of our own detriment.”
Deans has elevated Cortnee Vine into the starting line-up after she impressed from the bench against the Sky Blues. Clare Wheeler replaces Ashlee Brodigan in the 15-player squad travelling to Melbourne.
The game is at 4.30pm and will be televised live on Fox Sports.