PREVIEW: American striker Isabel Cox ready to make Wellington Phoenix debut

posted in: A-League (Women), News

Wellington Phoenix head coach Paul Temple has hinted new signing Isabel Cox is in line for her first appearance in Saturday’s women’s A-League match against the Newcastle Jets.

The American forward has trained with the team for the first time this week after signing as an injury replacement.

Main photo: Isabel Cox … could make her debut for the Phoenix.

“She’s worked really hard this week at training and shown little bits of what we can expect from her, which is exciting. She’s going to add something different to the squad,” Temple said.

“And I think she’s settled in off the pitch really nicely. I think it’s helped having the other American players in that house and being with them.

“So far so good, so we’re expecting to see a little bit of her tomorrow.”

The Phoenix have quickly moved on from their most disappointing result of the 2023-24 Liberty A-League season to date.

The Phoenix relinquished a 1-0 halftime lead to lose 2-1 to then bottom of the table Adelaide United last Saturday.

It was a match Temple felt should have been won in the first half.

“The players that are missing the chances are frustrated, the team’s frustrated and I’m frustrated,” Temple told media on the eve of the team’s match against Newcastle Jets at Sky Stadium on Saturday afternoon.

“But the response has been good. They’ve got over the manner of the defeat and not getting what we felt we deserved. We’ve now got full focus on Newcastle.

“I’ve been pleased with the way the players have responded and we’ve been working hard on the things we need to tidy up for this week.”

He is considering making small rather than significant changes to the team.

“I think you always have to reassess. I don’t think we had any really poor performances last week, where you’re getting really concerned about how things are going.

“It’s keeping things into perspective that every week there’s a new challenge and I think the Jets are going to provide us a different challenge as well.

“So there’s always things you can tinker and move around from a tactical point of view and from a personnel point of view. There might be a few new things to look out for tomorrow.”

Newcastle Jets enter the round just three points behind the Nix in sixth.

“In the last four games they’ve really picked up. Obviously, Emily van Egmond has had a massive impact in her little stint back, which you’d expect with the calibre of player she is.

“I think it’s given the team momentum, and they’ll carry that through. Even though she’s not going to be there I think the team will still have confidence.

“They’re a really strong side, aggressive, they get tight and put you under pressure. They’ve really gone after teams in the last month or so and it’s worked for them so I’m expecting the same.

“And they’ve got some good players in their team so we’re going to have to be on our game to get the win tomorrow.”

Van Egmond scored three goals in her four-match guest stint for the Jets and Paul Temple is disappointed she won’t be playing at Sky Stadium.

“I like it when these big players come back in the league. I think it adds massive value and we’ve seen that with her.

“I think it’s great the higher the calibre of players so I’d like to play against all those top players. But they’ve still got other players that we need to be thinking about and be cautious of.”

One of those is Philippines international Sarina Bolden, who broke the Football Ferns’ hearts at the FIFA Women’s World Cup and has scored three goals in her last four games for Newcastle.

“She’s hit the ground running for them and scored some goals early on so she’ll be full of confidence.

“She likes to run in behind and likes to get on the end of those balls over the top so we definitely have to be aware of that and we’ve been preparing for that.”

The Phoenix have four successive matches on the road after Christmas, placing extra importance on this weekend’s home game.

“Even though there’s not a Christmas break in the A-League it’s always nice to go into the festive season off the back of a good, positive result.

“We’ll definitely want to do that, especially in front of our home fans in a double-header.

“The men are going great and have got back to the top of the table and we want to be following suit and pushing up.

“Hopefully, it can be a good day for the club tomorrow and we can get two wins from two. I think that’s what everyone would like to see before Christmas.”

Paul Temple interview

Past meetings

Most recent meeting: 25 March 2023 – Newcastle Jets 3 Wellington Phoenix 2

All-time A-League head-to-head: Phoenix 0W, Jets 3W & 0D.

How to watch

The game will be broadcast LIVE and free-to-air on Sky Open in New Zealand, and LIVE on Sky Sport 1 in New Zealand and on Paramount+ and 10 Play in Australia.


Game to be played on Saturday December 23, 2023

Wellington Phoenix v Newcastle Jets
Sky Stadium, Wellington, 2.45pm (NZT)


Wellington Phoenix (four to be omitted):\

1. Rylee FOSTER (gk), 2. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 6. Macey FRASER, 7. Isabel COX, 9. Kelli BROWN, 10. Alyssa WHINHAM, 11. Hope BRESLIN, 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 13. Michaela FOSTER, 14. Michaela ROBERTSON, 15. Daisy BRAZENDALE, 16. Annalie LONGO (c), 17. Mariana SPECKMAIER, 18. Hailey DAVIDSON, 20. Emma MAIN, 21. Manaia ELLIOTT, 22. Aimee DANIELI (gk), 23. Rebecca LAKE.

Unavailable: 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER (injured), 8. Grace WISNEWSKI (injured), 9. Kelli BROWN (illness), 19. Liv INGHAM (injured).

Newcastle Jets (two to be omitted)

1. Izzy NINO (gk), 2. Josie WILSON, 3. Claudia CICCO, 4. Natasha PRIOR, 6. Cassidy DAVIS (c), 9. MelindaJ BARBIERI, 10. Libby COPUS-BROWN, 11. Sarina BOLDEN, 13. Lauren ALLAN, 15. Alex HUYNH, 18. Sophie HOBAN, 21. Kiara ROCHAIX (gk), 22. Lorena BAUMANN, 23. Zoe KARIPIDIS, 24. Milan HAMMOND, 25. Lara GOOCH, 26. Josie ALLAN , 28. Emma DUNDAS.

Unavailable: 5. Emily VAN EGMOND, 7. Gema SIMON, 14. Melina AYRES, 19. Bonnie DAVIES, 31. Lily-Rose DUNBAR.


This story is published with the help of the Wellington Phoenix.

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