Jets coach Craig Deans has questioned the decision not to send off Adelaide’s goalkeeper for the collision that caused Matildas utility Larissa Crummer’s horror leg injury last Friday.
But there was no questioning the response from his side, especially his younger players, ahead of their final W-League match of the season on Saturday night against Western Sydney Wanderers at No.2 Sportsground.
Crummer is recovering from surgery on her left leg after breaking her tibia and fibula in a clash with goalkeeper Sarah Willacy in the eighth minute at Marden Sports Complex.
Read more: Crummer’s World Cup dream over
Willacy was given a yellow card and Newcastle a penalty, which Arin Wright converted. Adelaide equalised soon after but the Jets, missing Matildas Emily Van Egmond and Gema Simon and Americans Katie Stengel and Taylor Smith through injury, held on before Pana Petratos scored in stoppage time for a 2-1 win.
Already out of the finals race, Newcastle had little to play for against an Adelaide side needing a result to keep in touch with the top four.
Deans was proud of the effort from his depleted squad, especially after the loss of Crummer, who was treated on the field for 13 minutes before being taken to a waiting ambulance.
“It was interesting to see how they would cope and I thought the younger girls might have found it difficult, because it’s actually quite traumatic to be a younger player and see an injury like that,” Deans said.
“But I thought the younger girls, especially Teigen [Collister], Libby [Copus-Brown], Tess [Tamplin] and Clare [Wheeler], didn’t back down. I thought Adelaide were quite physically intimidating and our younger players didn’t go missing. And our experienced players like Hannah [Brewer], Cass [Davis], Gilly [Arin Wright] and Britt [Eckerstrom] at the back and Tara [Andrews] and Jenna [Kingsley] up front showed some leadership.
“We didn’t play brilliant but I thought we played pretty good football considering the circumstances.
“The last goal was nice because Tess won the ball, played it forward to Tara, then she played it in for Renee [Pountney], who had a shot, and Pana was following on the far post. As a coach, when you break it down to individual moments, those are all things we had been talking about with those people, so to see them do it and get the winning goal, it was good.”
The injury to Crummer, though, has overshadowed the win.
Deans said the focus has been on supporting Crummer but he was unsure why Willacy was penalised but not sent off. Crummer, while playing in defence, was sent off for minor contact with Sam Kerr in the penalty area in a 2-2 draw in round seven.
“I was a bit confused about that rule because if you go back to Larissa’s red card against Perth, they told me it was a non-footballing challenge, so … if that’s a footballing challenge on the weekend, then I don’t know much about football,” Deans said. “Anyway, it’s the least of everyone’s concerns – referees and their decisions. It’s not going to change anything and we won the game.
“It was a moment of indecision and she got herself in a bad position,” he said of the keeper. “What happened, happened and we can’t change it. I think the important thing now is everyone helps Larissa.”
Crummer gave an update via social media late on Sunday: “I underwent surgery yesterday morning to get the bones put back together. Unfortunately during surgery I ended up getting acute compartment syndrome, the surgeon had to release the pressure. I’m feeling a lot better and have great people around to help me get through this”.