No underdog story this season, Wellington Phoenix likely to go winless

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After just a few weeks Wellington Phoenix Women have shown they have fight, but unfortunately that won’t be enough to get them in the win column this season.

Now it would of course take Michael J. Fox’s DeLorean or a hot tub time machine to know this for sure, but after just three games it is clear that it’s a case of women against girls for the Phoenix, who have been outscored eight goals to one over their first there games.

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A prediction of no wins during a 14-game season is somewhat cruel but it is important to remember that this is pretty much what was expected from the A-League Women’s newest team before the season kicked off.

The Phoenix are very young, with an average age of just 20. Also many of the players have literally never played top-flight professional football before. Combine this with the young side having to move across the Tasman and therefore away from the support of fans, family and friends and they haven’t exactly got a winning formula.

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Although the valuable experience of playing in a top league will be the biggest reward for the Nix and its players, this benefit doesn’t mean that a winless season will hurt any less.

One of the most considerable signs that better things aren’t on the horizon for the side is just how outplayed they have been by their opponents so far, especially in their two most recent matches.

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Stats and analytics often don’t tell the whole story of a game or season, but they can indicate how well a team is performing. For Wellington, the numbers in important statical categories aren’t doing them in favours.

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Wellington’s pass accuracy is currently a below-average 61% per game and while their opponents have combined for a ridiculous 60 shots in just three games, their combined total of shots sits at just 22.

And of course, the principle area where Wellington is struggling is scoring goals. They have found the back of the net just once, while their opponents have put eight past captain and goalkeeper Lily Alfeld.

The Nix attack was so ineffective in the second half against their latest opponents Sydney FC that the Sky Blues voluntarily substituted their keeper Jada Mathyssen-Whyman off for young keeper Katie Offer, pretty much just because they could.

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Although it will take some hefty development and perhaps a bit of luck for the young side to outscore their opponents in a game, Wellington should be able to pick up some draws along the way.

They have already shown this is possible when they came away with their first-ever point in a 0-0 draw against Western Sydney Wanderers in round one.

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However, this particular draw gave many of the players and fans a false sense of hope that this season would be much easier than originally thought. Even their Coach Gemma Lewis noted this stating, “The reality got skewed a little bit” after the surprising draw in their first game.

But the Phoenix have been well and truly been brought back to earth since then and that is where they will stay for the rest of this season.

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There is no doubt that they will develop and improve but you would have to be a glass-half-full type person to see them beating another side in the A-League Women this year.

It really all comes down to experience, something that unfortunately can only come with time. Young teenagers are going up against teams brimming with players that contain both professional and international experience.

Apologies Nix fans, and even though I don’t think they will get their names on the win column this time around, I am more than happy to be proved wrong.

Feature Image Credit: Speed Media

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Harry Bartle
Harry Bartle
Harry is a young Journalist based in Wellington. He will be covering the Wellington Phoenix during the 2021/22 season for the Football Sack and has a love hate relationship with Ulises Davila

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