Newcastle Jets fullback Tiana Jaber produced one of the highlights of her career against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Friday night after a season-opening lowlight.
On the end of a pass from Cassidy Davis far outside of the area, Jaber baulked her defender and launched from long range clear over the head of Wanderers keeper Sarah Willacy.
It was the 21-year-old’s first goal in the A-League Women, and one of the best of season after three rounds.
Speaking on the memorable moment, the young defender was still elated even half a week later.
“It was a really memorable day-slash-night for me,” Jaber told media on Tuesday.
“I didn’t see any of my players, I had no options, and in that little moment I just thought I’ve cut in on my right, I’ve got space, so yeah why not [shoot].
“I think everyone saw my reaction, I lost it, I was so excited. It’s a dream goal for me, ticked a box.”
The goal came after Jaber also earned her first red card in her professional career, giving away two yellows against Sydney FC in the first match week and being sent off the pitch in the 77th minute.
After missing the 5-1 victory over Wellington, it was a moment for the young defender to get her season back on track.
“I’ve never had a red before, and I definitely think it was tough calls on me,” Jaber reflected.
“Just showing that goal and that turnaround was really a big relief for me. I don’t want to start the season and have anyone think I’m a dangerous player, because I’m not.
“It was good to get my name back out there, have a fresh start. I definitely want to show everyone what I can do.”
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In her two games so far in 2021/22 at left back, Jaber has worked alongside two very different players at right back.
Against the Wanderers, it was experienced American import Elizabeth Eddy, the 30-year-old currently on loan from NWSL side Gotham FC.
In the game against Sydney, it was teenager Kirsty Fenton, with Eddy pushing up into a wide midfield role.
Both players bring vastly contrasting levels of experience to the defensive group, but are very capable of executing coach Ash Wilson’s game plan.
“They are pretty different. Liz is very experienced, and she talks a lot,” Jaber said.
“[With] Liz you just feel really comfortable with her by your side. She talks a lot to our centre backs as well, gives guidance, and calms us down when we need to chill.
“Kirsty’s a great player, and she’s shown that. She has a long way to go, but with both girls we play a similar style and follow our coach’s form.
“We play in a style where our fullbacks attack a lot and help out going forward, so sometimes the opportunity comes up in front of goal for me. We all know we can do the job.”
The Jets take on the Wellington Phoenix on Monday, January 27 at Central Coast Stadium.
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