PREVIEW: Trio set to return for Phoenix in Sunday’s trip to Newcastle

posted in: A-League (Women), News

Football Ferns Mackenzie Barry and Michaela Foster are available to play for the Wellington Phoenix against Newcastle Jets after treatment for hamstring injuries.

Forward Emma Main is also due to return after a week out with illness.

The trio missed the Round 14 win against Canberra United at Porirua Park, a win head coach Paul Temple hopes will serve as a turning point in their 2023-24 Liberty A-League season.

The Phoenix beat Canberra 2-0 to snap a run of four straight defeats and move back into finals contention.

The Nix face Newcastle Jets at the No.2 Sportsground in Newcastle this Sunday evening and Temple believes the team has turned a corner.

“After a run of poor results on the road it was nice to get three points and that winning feeling back,” he told media after training on Friday. “Sometimes it feels like a million miles away.

“It could be a turning point for us this season because the results haven’t been great up until the weekend. The manner of it also added to the whole good feeling.”

Wellington claimed all three points against Canberra despite playing the final 25 minutes plus stoppage time with just 10 players after Rylee Foster was controversially red-carded.

Temple says the refereeing decision further galvanised the team.

“It’s something that we’ve been growing as a team. It’s hard to see that progress when … we keep losing.

“But I think, especially since the Central Coast Mariners game, we’ve really come together and felt that galvanised feeling within the group and I think that’s been a strong point for us.”

As the Phoenix will be without their six Football Ferns for their following match, there is extra importance on Sunday’s game against Newcastle.

“We’re starting to get to that prickly point of the season where it’s the run-in now.

“We’ve got some challenges coming up…so off the back of this win it’s important we go to Newcastle with confidence, we attack the game and really go for it, and see if we can snap that run of away [defeats].”

The match has been moved from Maitland Regional Sportsground to Newcastle because of forecast high temperatures, but it’s still expected to be 30 plus degrees come kick-off at 5pm AEDT.

READ MORE: Venue change for Phoenix women after warnings of extreme heat on matchday >>>>

“All of the away games are hotter than they are in New Zealand, but it sounds like it might be…the hottest conditions we’ve played in so far this season.

“It won’t change the style of football, but it potentially changes how you set up and defend at different moments in the game. If you want to get out and press people it’s very difficult to do that consistently in 30-degree heat away from home.

“It’ll be a challenge and we’ll have to manage that tactically, but we’re doing everything we can away from that from a sports science perspective to prepare for the heat.

“The players have been in the heat chamber for a good few months consistently now, so hopefully we’ll see it pay off on the weekend.”

The players will have an extra day to acclimatise. The squad flew across the Tasman on Friday afternoon, rather than on the eve of the match.

“Obviously, there’s been that run of away games which have led to some poor results for us, or results that we didn’t want.

“So, changing things up a little bit [and] going a day early means we can travel, get to Newcastle and then we’ll have a whole day there.

“We’ll have a training session and then we’ll play. We’ll hopefully see some benefit of that and if it gets us three points it’s well worth doing.”

Goalkeeper to miss match

Paul Temple will be forced to make at least one change to his starting XI with goalkeeper Rylee Foster serving a one-match suspension

Brianna Edwards will start in Foster’s place, buoyed by having made an incredible penalty save moments after coming off the bench against Canberra.

“Right at the start of the season we talked about having two ‘keepers capable of being a number one and I said that I felt we had the best goalkeeping duo in the league,” Temple said.

“For Bri to be able to come on, save a penalty [and] keep a clean sheet in that last 35 minutes, [after] Rylee kept a clean sheet for that first 65 minutes it shows the quality of our goalkeepers.

“We’ve got a lot of confidence in Bri and the team has a lot of confidence in Bri, so she’ll be fine this weekend, of course.”

Past meetings

Most recent meeting: 23 December 2023 – Wellington Phoenix 2 Newcastle Jets 0

All-time A-League head-to-head: Phoenix 1W, Jets 3W & 0D.

How to watch

The game will be broadcast LIVE on Sky Sport 5 in New Zealand and on Paramount+ and 10 Play in Australia.


Game to be played on Sunday February 4, 2024

Newcastle Jets v Wellington Phoenix
No.2 Sportsground, Newcastle, 7pm (NZT)


Newcastle Jets (four to be omitted)

1. Izzy NINO (gk), 2. Josie WILSON, 3. Claudia CICCO, 4. Natasha PRIOR, 6. Cass DAVIS (c), 7. Gema SIMON, 9. Melindaj BARBIERI, 10. Libby COPUS-BROWN, 11. Sarina BOLDEN, 13. Lauren ALLAN, 14. Melina AYRES, 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.

Wellington Phoenix (four to be omitted)

2. Zoe MCMEEKEN, 3. Kate TAYLOR, 4. Mackenzie BARRY, 6. Macey FRASER, 7. Isabel COX, 10. Alyssa WHINHAM, 11. Hope BRESLIN, 12. Brianna EDWARDS (gk), 13. Michaela FOSTER, 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, 25. Ella MCMILLAN, 26. Tiana JABER, 27. Helena ERRINGTON.
Unavailable: 1. Rylee FOSTER (gk) (suspended), 5. Marisa VAN DER MEER (injured), 8. Grace WISNEWSKI (injured), 19. Liv INGHAM (injured).


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

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