The Newcastle Jets will play just their second home match of the A-League Women this Friday when they host the Brisbane Roar. Their only other match at Number Two Sportsground was a 2-all draw against Perth in round three.
After conceding 10 goals over their last two games, coach Ash Wilson has put a focus on defence coming into a tight schedule to close the year. Newcastle plays three games in nine days, and Wilson said she wants to see some results.
“[To finish the year] I want to see them continue to push to win games,” Wilson told reporters on Wednesday.
“We’re a team that wants to be positive and aggressive, but we need to also be able to show resilience and hard work.
“Work ethic will be a non-negotiable, regardless of our upcoming schedule.
“If we can get anywhere between four and six points [from the next three games], I’d say we’re in a good spot.
“Obviously we want three wins, but if we can try at least take points off every opposition we’ve done pretty well.”
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The Jets have struggled in the opening half through the first five rounds, conceding 69 per cent of their total goals in the opening 45 minutes. In comparison, only 20 per cent of their own goals are coming in the first half.
Wilson said she was disappointed after another slow start and gave her team a strong message at the halftime break.
“I won’t lie, it was a little bit colourful,” she said.
“Their start wasn’t good enough; it was that simple. Regardless of how good a team you truly are, and we feel we are a good team, if you give up two goals in the first ten minutes it makes the game very hard.
“We spoke about the timings of it all, we conceded two in the first ten, then we had a good patch before conceding another two inside ten minutes.
“It’s not good enough to take that long to start playing the way we want to play.”
American import Sarah Griffith agreed with her coach, saying it’s a key part of their game they need to work on.
“I don’t think it’s hidden; our first halves aren’t the strongest,” Griffith said.
“It’s something we’re trying to learn from, trying to adjust and find what works for us to start on a stronger foot.
“We’ve shown some good glimpses of what we can do in first halves, it’s just a matter of putting it all together for 45 minutes.”
The Jets won the second half, scoring two goals to Victory’s one in a display of what they’re capable of when they put a consistent half together. Griffith continued her strong start, scoring her first goal with a long-range effort from outside the box.
Griffith currently leads the league in total shots and shots on target, she’s also sitting second in the Golden Boot with five goals. Despite being Newcastle’s standout performer, she insists that she’s only just building into the season.
“I think it’s been a little bit of a slow start for me,” she said.
“I haven’t been playing like I know I can play, but I know that takes time and I’m being patient with myself.
“It’s a big move [from the USA], so I’m just building and learning game on game.
“I definitely haven’t hit the level I want to, but I know that’ll come in time.”
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