W-League: Resolute defensive effort a positive for Jets against Wanderers in round two

LIMITED CHANCES: Newcastle's Tara Andrews attacks the ball against Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images
LIMITED CHANCES: Newcastle's Tara Andrews attacks the ball against Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium on Friday night. Picture: Matt King/Getty Images

It was a forgettable outing for the Jets in Parramatta on Friday night but there was one silver lining in the performance: a resolute defensive effort.

The Jets were a far cry from the side we saw attack a star-studded Melbourne City with vim and venom in the opening round on December 17.

A short turnaround may have had a bearing on Newcastle's W-League side, who looked lacklustre in attack and struggled to stick their passes in a 1-0 loss to Western Sydney Wanderers at Bankwest Stadium five days later.

The result flattered Newcastle, who were under constant fire from a team who in two matches have strongly asserted their championship intentions.

Wanderers opened the purse strings this season and are already reaping the rewards with back-to-back wins and more points in two games than they amassed all of last season.

The Jets absorbed a mountain of pressure with the hosts having around 70 per cent of possession and 29 shots, nine of which were on target, to Newcastle's five. In the end it was only a dubious penalty that separated the two sides on the scoresheet. Wanderers, however, had an earlier goal disallowed for offside that the replay showed scorer Lynn Williams to be on.

Coach Craig Deans was blunt in his assessment of the match, saying "we didn't deserve to win", but he could not fault the Jets' hard-working defensive display.

"I said to the girls after the game, if you can show the same effort and desire and grittiness to defend like you did there for everything other than the penalty - you obviously can't defend a penalty ... but they defended everything else pretty well and got bodies in the way and defended for probably a good 70, 75 minutes of that game," Deans said.

"I think that's certainly a positive to take out of it. The main disappointment from all of us is we don't want to be putting in performances like that. We want to improve on what we did in round one and we didn't do that."

Newcastle's focus now turns to a Canberra side featuring the Jets' former leading scorer and United States import Katie Stengel. The Jets host Canberra at McDonald Jones Stadium on Saturday afternoon in the first match of a Jets double-header.

"We need to get back to training on Monday and put it behind us and work out where we went wrong and where we've got to get better and go to the Canberra game and make sure we win our home games."

Consistency will be key to success. The Jets must maintain their defensive efforts of the first two games and be ruthless in attack.

"Young players have super amounts of enthusiasm and energy and drive but sometimes you just need a little bit of composure ... we just lacked a little bit of composure and that's something we spoke about after the game," Deans said on Friday night.

"If we're going to develop as a team we need to come to places like this and play against teams like that and back ourselves and make ourselves better. That's the main thing we need to take out of it."