Newcastle Jets commander Ash Wilson has taken aim at her cellar-bound squad, who have slipped into a battle to avoid the wooden spoon following their 4–2 loss to formerly winless Perth Glory at McDonald Jones Stadium last weekend.
Ahead of the eleventh-round clash with the west coast squad, who the Jets edged 2–1 on the road in Round 4, the Hunter team could have still leaped up the table with a solid points haul. Fourth place, and finals, were mathematically within reach.
Days later, Tessa Tamplin and Lauren Allan were able to score two for Newcastle in front of home fans. Unfortunately, the duo’s eight-minute salvo in the final minutes of the match couldn’t overturn Perth’s four, scored between 22′ and 78′.
Glory youngster Hana Lowry scored on her debut, before Morgan Andrews sliced home a penalty conceded by Tamplin in the 45th minute. Caitlin Doeglas and Celia Jiménez added the hurt in the second half to seal Newcastle’s fate at home.
With four games still to be played, including a catch-up clash with Adelaide, the Jets could still collect upwards of 12 points. Unfortunately, their two-goal loss on Thursday has damned the club to another season locked outside the playoffs.
Now, the club’s fight has turned to one they have known all too well in recent years—the cellar-locked struggle to avoid the ignominious wooden spoon. Newcastle has twice been whacked with the spoon, in 2009 and 2013-14.
Wilson has been helming the team since Craig Deans was hooked by club officials to guide the men’s A-League team following Ernie Merrick’s shock sacking. According to the interim coach, the scrap the Jets have fallen into is just not good enough.
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“For the most part, the girls’ reaction in the second half was better and we tried to control the game for more patches, so that was positive,” Wilson told media after the team’s struggles at McDonald Jones Stadium last round.
“But we didn’t win, so for me, it’s not good enough. That’s something that players are going to have to be accountable for and they’re going to have to put their hand up and say that wasn’t good enough.”
The Jets have the power to save themselves from a third W-League spoon in the coming weeks—they face Adelaide twice in the next few weeks. First, the Reds arrive in Newcastle on Saturday evening, before the reverse fixture is played on February 27.
“Obviously everyone needs to be putting their hands up and people need to make sure they’re not just going through the motions and are not expecting to play, because at the end of the day you have to work and people might take their opportunity,” Wilson said of the impending season-end crunch to avoid last place.
“For us, it’s about going back and working out what were the positives, where do we need to build and how are we going to take that into the last three games, because now there are only nine points left and we need all nine to finish as high as we can.”