The Wanderers travel to Newcastle on today for the third double-header of the season. Here’s the lowdown on both our weekend opponents.
Tony Popovic’s side will try to topple the high-flying Jets in the Hyundai A-League, while in the Westfield W-League, Norm Boardman’s team are searching for their first three points of the season against an unbeaten Jets.
After opening the season with a 0-0 draw against Perth Glory, Craig Deans’ side got off the mark with a very respectable 1-0 away win at Melbourne Victory. It was only the Jets’ second ever win over the Victory who had held a commanding 8-1-1 record against the Novocastrians prior to their Round 2 fixture.
Coach Deans has made no secret about where his side’s strengths lie. Deans, a former Hyundai A-League defender himself, has made the back third of the pitch his main priority during his fledgling managerial tenure and so far it’s paid dividends with Newcastle remaining watertight at the back.
With a back four comprised of Matildas’ fullback Georgia Yeoman-Dale, the experienced Hannah Bromley and Gema Simon, and American loanee Megan Oyster, the Jets are looking like one of the toughest nuts to crack in the competition.
It’s a fresh set-up at the back for the Novocastrians but they’re firing on all cylinders at the moment, helped by the collective endeavour and tireless work rate of those further up the pitch, something that Deans has worked very hard to instil.
In an offensive sense, Chloe Lorgazo holds the key for the Jets. The diminutive midfielder, along with forward Rhali Dobson, looks the side’s primary goal threat and she netted the only goal in their defeat of Melbourne Victory last week.
Having won just three matches during the entire 2014/15 season, Scott Miller’s Jets have already matched the efforts of their previous campaign courtesy of a comeback win over Melbourne City last Friday.
It was a win that momentarily moved the Jets to the top of the league, cementing their status as the Hyundai A-League’s surprise package for the season.
The Jets are likely to sit off the Wanderers, allowing Tony Popovic’s team the lion’s share of possession with the view of executing a swift counter-attack. The Jets boast pace up front in the form of Enver Alidovic and Leonardo. Although the team have created little going forward (creating the least chances and firing in the least shots in the league), they’re likely to be a danger in this fashion.
Ben Kantarovski and former Wanderer Mateo Poljak defend the back four diligently, whilst Lee Ki-Jee, who scored twice against the Wanderers last season, is a significant attacking threat from left-fullback.
They’re also a threat from set-pieces and have one of the best dead-ball masters in the league in David Carney, who has shown brilliant form at the start of the season. Considering the Jets have scored half their goals from the aerial delivery, this is an area they will look to exploit against the Wanderers.