PREVIEW: Phoenix women’s coach Paul Temple — ‘We’re ready to bounce back’

posted in: A-League (Women), News

Wellington Phoenix head coach Paul Temple expects a bounce-back performance from his side in Auckland on Saturday night.

The Phoenix host top-of-the-table Perth Glory at Go Media Stadium Mt Smart in round six of the Liberty A-League, a week after a disappointing defeat to the Central Coast Mariners brought the team’s three-match winning run to a sudden halt.

Main photo: Paul Temple … ‘we’ve learned a lot already.’

Temple told media before training on Friday there had been a great response from his players this week.

“Good reaction, really positive, training was great yesterday so I’m feeling confident about this weekend,” he said.

“Whenever you go through a disappointing performance and don’t get the result you want then there’s a bit of soul searching from everyone … and you really analyse what you were doing.

“I think we’ve learned a lot already about what we did not so good on the pitch and probably not so good off the pitch in terms of our prep and this team is determined to bounce back.”

The Mariners made it difficult for the Phoenix to play the “smallball” football which had brought them success in the opening four rounds.

“On the pitch, we just couldn’t get into our rhythm. We tried, and there was no lack of effort and we certainly persisted with what we were doing, but we just didn’t get that freedom that we’ve had with the ball, and we weren’t able to break that first point of pressure as often.

“We’ve got a few things lined up to make some tactical tweaks to help us get over that especially when we’re playing against a front two.”

And Temple has made it clear they don’t have to dramatically change their game plan.

“There’s always evolution in the system and that was always the plan, but it’s about when you introduce those next steps.

“We’ve done that this week and we will do that at various stages throughout the season and keep building this playing model because there are other things we can do.

“It doesn’t have to be the same all the time. It’s about finding solutions for the scenarios we encounter on the pitch, and we’ve worked through quite a few of those this week.”

Injury update

Paul Temple has no fresh injury concerns from the match in Gosford, with winger Hope Breslin cleared to play despite suffering a nasty knock to her right eye.

“She’s doing really good. No concussion and her eye isn’t back to normal, but it’s open and she’s been training.”

However, attacking midfielder Macey Fraser is in doubt for the match due to an illness which forced her to miss training on Friday morning.

Club captain Annalie Longo is a potential replacement and is chance of making her first start for the club, having made three substitute appearances in the last three rounds.

“She’s going really great. She obviously got more minutes last weekend so we’re hoping we can get her some decent minutes this weekend and possibly a start.”

The team trained at Longo’s junior club Auckland United on Thursday, and she is looking forward to playing a professional game near where she grew up.

“It is a very special moment,” she said. “It’s close to home. Mum and Dad only have to drive two minutes around the corner to be here.

“It’s nice to have friends and family in the crowd and to play on the nice stadium is a pleasure.”

The decorated Football Fern has also been impressed with the response for the team since last week’s defeat.

“You’ve seen in training we’re really competitive, there’s a bit of fire in the belly and we all know we didn’t play as well as we would have liked to.

“I don’t think we earned the right to play. We lost the physical battle out there and we want to change that.

“The ground here is absolutely amazing so there’s no excuses and we’re looking forward to going out there and playing.”

Longo believes Perth will be a tough test for the Nix.

“They’re a good side and obviously picked up some good results early on.

“In saying that they have to travel and make the longest journey, so it is going to be hard for them. Hopefully they’re a little bit leggy and a little bit slower.

“There’s obviously some familiar faces with some Ferns in the Phoenix and Perth squads so it’s going to be exciting for the crowd.”

Past meetings

Most recent meeting: 18 March 2023 – Wellington Phoenix 0 Perth Glory 1

All-time A-League head-to-head: Phoenix 0W, Glory 4W & 0D.

How to watch

The game will be broadcast LIVE on Sky Sport 1 in New Zealand and on Paramount+ and 10 Play in Australia.


Game to be played on Saturday November 25, 2023

Wellington Phoenix v Perth Glory
Go Media Stadium, Auckland, 7.15pm


Wellington Phoenix (four to be omitted)

1. Rylee FOSTER (gk), 2. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER, 6. Macey FRASER, 7. Chloe KNOTT, 9. Kelli BROWN, 10. Alyssa WHINHAM, 11. Hope BRESLIN, 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 13. Michaela FOSTER, 14. Michaela ROBERTSON, (c), 16. Annalie LONGO, 17. Mariana SPECKMAIER, 18. Hailey DAVIDSON, 20. Emma MAIN, 21. Manaia ELLIOTT, 22. Aimee DANIELI (gk), 23. Rebecca LAKE.

Unavailable: 8. Grace WISNEWSKI (injured), 19. Liv INGHAM (injured).

Perth Glory (four to be omitted)

1. Morgan AQUINO (gk), 3. Jessika COWART, 4. Natasha RIGBY (c), 7. Liz ANTON, 8. Hana LOWRY, 9. Millie FARROW, 10. Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 11. Grace JALE, 12. Sofia SAKALIS, 13. Sarah CAIN, 14. Tia STONEHILL, 17. Abbey GREEN, 18. Sadie LAWRENCE, 19. Izzy FOLETTA, 20. Quinley QUEZADA, 22. Claudia MIHOCIC, 23. Isobel DALTON, 25. Grace JOHNSTON, 27. Georgia CASSIDY, 29. Lilly BAILEY (gk)

Unavailable: 16. Isabella WALLHEAD (injured), 24. Sally JAMES (injured).


Table as at 5pm Friday November 24 (NZT).

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