NEWCASTLE struggled to find their rhythm at home on Sunday afternoon while a finals-bound Melbourne, led by doubles from international stars Annalie Longo and Darian Jenkins, fired seven past them to set up a last-round battle to avoid the spoon.
Longo got Victory off the mark in the 7–0 drubbing at No.2 Sportsground, firing in a double within the opening seven minutes to shock the Jets. Natasha Dowie added the hurt in the 33rd, and Jenkins scored her first of two just ahead of half time.
While Newcastle coach Ash Wilson did praise the away side for their “urgency and intent,” she pointed to her own side’s failings as the main reason they headed into the sheds four goals down, and only let it get worse in the second 45 minutes.
“It was just the little stuff… the key message was that it needs to better. Our quality with the ball was not to the standard that we expect here at the club,” she said of the team’s performance during the Fox Sports national broadcast.
The Jets continued to look lost in the second half, however, as Jenkins rounded out her own brace in the 59th minute. Melina Ayres added one final Victory goal in the lopsided battle, while co-captain Cassidy Davis slotted home an accidental own goal too.
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“Victory are a physical team and in a lot of our duels we came out second best. We knew that would happen though, so that’s one of the most disappointing things,” Wilson said of the “mismatch” between her squad and Melbourne.
“The girls need to back themselves in those [fifty-fifty] situations, and not just rush in without any purpose. At the end of the day, I can’t change how big the other team is, but we have a lot to work on too,” she added.
The poor performance from the Jets hasn’t damned them to the wooden spoon just yet. Considering the team came into the penultimate round with a major six-goal buffer in goal difference over Adelaide, however, a 7–0 defeat couldn’t have been much worse.
Now, the Reds have a chance to bounce over the Novocastrian outfit in the final match of the season—to be played on Thursday evening in Adelaide—if they score a win over the struggling Jets. A draw or win for Newcastle will avoid a last-place finish.