De Vanna braces for face-off

LIVEWIRE Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna returned to Newcastle yesterday to meet her W-League teammates for the first time, before playing today at Wanderers Oval at Broadmeadow. 

But unfortunately for Jets fans, the attacking maestro will be not be in Newcastle colours when the round-four game kicks off at 4.30pm. 

De Vanna played for the Jets last season, scoring five goals in nine games, but has returned this campaign to her home-town club, Perth Glory. 

She landed in Newcastle yesterday afternoon on a flight from Melbourne, where she was visiting family after returning on Tuesday from a stint with Swedish club Linkoping. 

The jet-setting all-year commitment to soccer is nothing new to De Vanna, who has also played professionally in America. 

But she admitted it would be a test coming up against her former club for a team she trained with and met for the first time yesterday. 

‘‘I don’t know what to expect but it’s going to be hard for me because I played for Newcastle last year and made some really good friends there,’’ De Vanna said. 

‘‘But I’ve got to job to do for my club and I’ll do that the best I can.’’ 

De Vanna, who turns 28 on Wednesday, last played for Perth in 2009 and said she was excited to be back with the club.

But the veteran of 75 games for Australia was not sure how she would fare today. 

‘‘I’m tired after a full season of training and playing hard games,’’ she said. 

‘‘The body’s a bit sore, but apart from that I’m quite fit. It was hard over there because I played a role I’m not used to, a left-midfielder, so I had to do a lot more running. 

‘‘I’m fitter from doing that, but a bit sore as well. 

‘‘It will be interesting to see how I go tomorrow. 

‘‘I’m not really sure what’s going on, but from what I’ve been told I’ll probably be playing as a No.10.’’ 

Jets co-coach Wayne O’Sullivan expected Glory to play more direct with De Vanna in their side and said her combination with Novocastrian striker Kate Gill would be dangerous. 

But O’Sullivan was more concerned with his side’s concentration at the end of each half, and their injuries. 

Defender Sammara Schmitzer is in doubt with a back injury sustained in the 1-0 loss to Melbourne Victory last week in which the goal came in first-half injury-time. Schmitzer has been on light duties this week at training along with Angela Salem (thigh), Emily van Egmond (foot), Tori Huster (foot) and Alisha Foote (ankle). 

O’Sullivan said only Schmitzer was in doubt and van Egmond would return after missing the defeat in Geelong. 

Central defender Stacey Day is out suspended after picking up two soft yellow cards last week.

Gemma Pearce is likely to move into the centre of defence to partner skipper Hayley Crawford.

Hannah Brewer, who moved forward in van Egmond’s absence, should return to left back, allowing Gema Simon to play in attack on the left.

The Jets conceded late goals in a 3-all draw with Sydney and 5-0 loss to Canberra, and O’Sullivan said their focus in defence needed to improve.

Van Egmond was the lone Jet picked yesterday in the 20-woman Matildas squad for the Women’s East Asian Cup 2013 round-two preliminary games from November 20 to 24 in China. 

De Vanna, Gill, and Perth teammate Collette McCallum were also selected.

In the other game today, Adelaide host Brisbane.

 Tomorrow, Western Sydney welcome Canberra and Melbourne travel to Sydney.

COMEBACK: Lisa De Vanna, left, training with Kate Gill at National Park yesterday.  Picture: Ryan Osland

COMEBACK: Lisa De Vanna, left, training with Kate Gill at National Park yesterday. Picture: Ryan Osland


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