Head coach Nathalie Lawrence hopes some of her international players will be able to back up for the Wellington Phoenix when they face Canberra United on Sunday.
Paige Satchell, Mackenzie Barry, Grace Wisnewski and Brianna Edwards were part of the Football Ferns squad that met the United States at Auckland’s Eden Park on Saturday.
Satchell started for the Ferns and played 45 minutes while Barry (21 mins) and Wisnewski (45 mins) were second half substitutes. Edwards stayed on the bench.
Emma Rolston was the fifth Phoenix player on international duty, playing 21 minutes off the bench, but she is suspended for the Liberty A-League game on Sunday.
The Phoenix want to show Canberra what they’re capable of in Sunday’s 11th round match at Wellington’s Sky Stadium.
Canberra beat the Phoenix 3-0 at McKellar Park in round four, a complete reversal of the first meeting the two sides last season.
Coach Lawrence wants her side to make amends.
“We were really disappointed with how we played,” Lawrence said when asked about the match against Canberra six weeks ago.
“I don’t think they played against the Phoenix that day, so we need to show them what it’s like to play against the Phoenix. We want to right those wrongs of that game.”
Lawrence: Defence has tightened up since last meeting
Lawrence believes the defeat to Canberra was a “big turning point” for the team.
The Nix have conceded just five goals in four games since and suffered agonising 1-0 defeats to Adelaide United and Western United either side of their first draw of the season against Western Sydney Wanderers.
“What that game allowed us to do was reset and really focus on some key progressions that we wanted, and I think we’ve seen that.
“But one of the things I’ve spoken to the players about is we’ve got to stop saying that we deserve something out of the games and get something out of the games.
“They’ve (Canberra) just came off a 5-1 win, so we know their threats, but we want them to play against the proper Phoenix tomorrow.”
Disrupted week for Phoenix team
It has been a disrupted week for the team. The squad only returned from Perth late on Monday night and then Paige Satchell, Emma Rolston, Mackenzie Barry, Grace Wisnewski and Brianna Edwards left to join Betsy Hassett in the Football Ferns squad.
“Everyone seems to be doing pretty well. The trip back was definitely long, but we’ve managed to get four [training] sessions in, which is great.”
Satchell, Barry and Wisnewski, on debut, came off the bench in the second-half against the U.S.A. on Wednesday afternoon, while Hassett, who didn’t travel to Western Australia, played the full 90 minutes before re-joining the Nix.
“Betsy’s come back from the Ferns looking really good. She’s obviously a bit tired after chasing around the States around for 90 minutes.
“I thought she played incredibly well. We’re really, really happy to have her back after a couple of weeks of not having her.
“We had a really good load management plan for her. She was away with the Ferns and we knew she was going to play 90 minutes and then she’s had modified training since she’s been back.
“She’s feeling physically good, so she’ll be able to back up no problems.”
Satchell, Rolston, Barry, Wisnewski and Edwards remain with the Football Ferns and won’t re-join the Phoenix until after Saturday afternoon’s second international against the U.S.A. at Eden Park.
Lawrence is hopeful the five, minus Rolston who is suspended, will be able to feature against Canberra.
“We try and name our squad as early as we can to get everybody set and ready and we’ve said to everyone ‘all be ready’.
“But we’re really happy with the plan that we’ve put in place. I spoke to Jitka (Klimková) again last night and she’s all across all of the minutes and the importance of the game that we have tomorrow.
“I think we’ve managed to manage it pretty well between the two of us to get the best out of all the worlds.”
As well as Emma Rolston being suspended, Natalie Lawrence is still unable to call on goalkeeper and captain Lily Alfeld (back injury) and playmaker Alyssa Whinham (personal reasons).
Lawrence is also dealing with a little bit of sickness in the team, but is hopeful it won’t prevent any players from playing on Sunday.
“We’re going to see how we get on today. It may limit some minutes rather than rule [players] out, but we’ll be sensible.
“We don’t want the sickness to spread around the group. We’ve got another short week coming up with an away trip to Brisbane so we can’t really afford to lose anyone else to sickness.
“We’ll see how they get on today, see whether it clears their lungs a bit and then make a decision from there.”
Wellington Phoenix v Canberra United
Sky Stadium, Wellington, 12.15pm (NZT)
How to watch
The game will be broadcast LIVE on Sky Sport 7 in New Zealand and Paramount+ and 10 Play in Australia.
Most recent A-League meeting: 10 December 2022 – Canberra United 3 Wellington Phoenix 0
All-time A-League head-to-head: Phoenix 1W, Canberra 1W & 0D.
2. Saskia VOSPER, 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER, 6. Isabel GOMEZ, 7. Chloe KNOTT, 8. Grace WISNEWSKI, 9. Ava PRITCHARD, 11. Betsy HASSETT, 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 13. Paige SATCHELL, 14. Michaela ROBERTSON, 15. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 17. Claudia CICCO, 18. Te Reremoana WALKER, 19. Charlotte LANCASTER, 20. Milly CLEGG, 21. Michaela FOSTER, 22. Georgia CANDY (gk).
Unavailable: 1. Lily ALFELD (c) (gk) (injured), 10. Alyssa WHINHAM (personal reasons), 16. Emma ROLSTON (suspended).
2. Emily ROACH, 3. Grace TARANTO, 4. Holly MURRAY, 5. Emma ILIJOSKI, 6. Laura HUGHES, 7. Ellie BRUSH, 8. Sasha GROVE, 9. Chengshu WU, 10. Grace MAHER, 11. Grace JALE, 12. Hayley TAYLOR-YOUNG, 13. Sophia CHRISTOPHERSON, 14. Chloe MIDDLETON, 16. Kennedy FAULKNOR, 17. Vesna MILIVOJEVIC, 18. Chloe LINCOLN (gk), 19. Nickoletta FLANNERY, 23. Michelle HEYMAN (c), 24. Ellen GETT.
Unavailable: 1. Keeley RICHARDS (GK), 15. Madison McCOMASKY.