Phoenix Women prove they are not just here to make up the numbers

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History has been made as Wellington Phoenix Women secure their first-ever point, and they looked pretty damn good while doing it.

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It was all about defence as the Phoenix Women left WIN Stadium with the positive result of a 0-0 draw which came against Western Sydney Wanderers.

Their first-ever coach couldn’t be more proud.

Jemma Lewis was ecstatic post-match as her team fought through the pain and held on until the final whistle. This draw meant that the Nix Women were able to come away with a point in what was many of her player’s first-ever professional game.

“They did exactly what we wanted them to do, I’m super proud of them and couldn’t have asked for anything more,” said Lewis.

“The team is on a high. We knew there weren’t any expectations on us going in but the girls want to show what they’re made of.

“The girls want to show that they’re here to compete. They want to show that they’ve got the calibre to be in this league.”

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And that is what the newest team in the A-League Women’s competition did – compete.

The side pressed almost the entire game and this forced Western Sydney to make a bunch of early mistakes. The side never let their opponents get comfortable and apart from letting in one shot that rattled the crossbar it was almost a perfect defensive performance.  

“Our centre-backs weathered the storm really well and they dealt with a lot of class players that they were up against, they kind of denied ball after ball, after ball,” said Lewis.

Western Sydney would have expected to walk away from the game with all three points, but it seems that beating this new side is going to be a lot more difficult than anticipated.

More than anything this first game has put the young side on the map. It was fair to say that the Phoenix Women were favoured by many to walk away with nothing but the wooden spoon and this claim was quite justified considering how young and inexperienced the side is.

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And although the women representing an entire country in the A-League Women’s competition won’t be sudden favourites to go all the way, they certainly won’t be marked down as easy beats – just as Western Sydney.

The clear work on for the new side is attack. They managed just five shots on goal and none of really them challenged Wanderers keeper Sarah Langman. The team also looked extremely gassed during the last 10 minutes of the game and due to this Lewis knows that her bench will be very important throughout the season.

“Our substitutes know how important they are when they come onto that field, they know how important they are in terms of bringing those fresh legs onto the pitch so we can keep pushing forward and keep pressing if we want to,” she said. 

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And although the the element of surprise has also vanished due to the side showcasing how they plan on playing this season, coach Lewis knows they have more to give.

“This team is hungry and you know we won’t always be happy with a draw,” she said.

“We got a point, but this team wants to push for even more, they want to show people that they can really keep improving.”

One game in and the Phoenix Women are already on the board. History has been made but don’t be surprised if they make a little bit more as the season goes on.

Opposing teams should take note of this young talented side that is now filled with the justified belief that they belong in this competition.

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Feature Image Credit: Wellington Phoenix 

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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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