Jets coach Craig Deans can’t remember an injury spate like it as captain Emily van Egmond became the latest marquee player added to Newcastle’s mounting casualty ward.
Van Egmond, who still aims to represent Australia at the World Cup in June, has been ruled out for the rest of the W-League season and joins wounded US pair Katie Stengel (foot) and Taylor Smith (ACL) on the sidelines.
It comes with the Jets facing an all-but, must-win four matches to make the 2018-2019 finals series, starting with the Sam Kerr-led Perth Glory at home on Saturday.
Deans’ squad has been left decimated by the run of injuries, but while the experienced mentor knows he can’t replace the quality lost it’s now up to those remaining to take up the challenge.
“Not really [have I seen an injury run this bad], not over the course of eight games and we’ve got three people out for the season,” he said.
“But I’ve also been around long enough to know it doesn’t mean it’s the end of the world. There’s an opportunity there for someone who wants to take it and there’s an opportunity there for the group of players to make a statement and to do something special if they want to.”
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Deans said van Egmond, who was wearing a CAM boot at training at No.2 Sportsground on Thursday, could still play an important off-field role for the eighth-placed Jets behind the scenes during the next month.
He was also optimistic that van Egmond had “plenty of time” to recover for her third World Cup campaign with the Matildas and the setback may even be a blessing in disguise for the national team.
“I’m more than confident that she’ll get there,” Deans said.
“And in some ways having a month off now, taking my Jets hat off, maybe it’s a good thing to freshen her up and she goes into that World Cup fully fresh and ready to go.”
Deans said he expected Arin Wright, nee Gilliland, to more than likely shift into van Egmond’s playing position this weekend.