A-League Women mid-season report card: Newcastle Jets

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Coming up to the halfway point in the 2022/23 season, we take a look at how Newcastle Jets have been going so far.

Semester summary: The season got off to a great start, with four points in the first three games. A narrow loss to Brisbane Roar to open, followed by a dominant win over Western Sydney Wanderers and a toughly-fought draw with Perth Glory.

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Things were looking up until the next run of games came, with Newcastle shipping 12 goals and scoring just three in an many games. A pattern began to emerge of struggling to get out of the gates early, going behind early and playing most of their football trying to come from behind.

An excellent performance against the in-form Adelaide United showed the high ceiling that the team has when they start strong and will give them plenty of confidence in their ability to beat the top teams.

However, the problems re-emerged against Sydney FC and the Jets conceded three early goals and lost yet again. It has been a rocky start, but the table remains close in the middle of the pack and there are still plenty of points up for grabs.

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Area of excellence: Goals.

There has been no shortage of attacking threat from Newcastle throughout this season. They have scored 14 goals, equal with the undefeated Western United as the third best offensive team in the league.

New recruits Sarah Griffith and Murphey Agnew have played a major role in this, with Griffith contributing four goals and Agnew chiming in with one goal and two assists, both with six appearances. They have both missed a few games and are currently out through injury, but it looks like they will be back soon in a massive boost for Newcastle. Keeping them fit and playing at the same time will be the key this season.

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Along with the new signings, returning players have been seeing attacking returns also. Lauren Allan has been in fine form, and consistently gets herself behind the defence in dangerous areas. With three goals and one assist in eight games, the threat of this attacking trio will be a worry for any opposition defence.

Area in need of improvement: Opening periods of games.

In four out of the last five games, the Jets have conceded in the first 10 minutes. When they don’t concede early, they are well and truly in the fight against any team. It just hasn’t been the case many times this season.

Always coming from behind makes three points a tall order week in and week out. If they can somehow survive the first 20 minutes in future games, they will be right up the table come the end of the season. Individual performances from the defenders have been great overall, but the ability to stitch it all together for 90 minutes has been a rare sight so far.

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Top student: Sarah Griffith.

Whenever she has been on the pitch, she looks dangerous. A fantastic dribbler with the ball, she constantly looks to take opposing players on and can make something out of nothing which is a great quality to have. Jets have missed her when she has been unavailable through injury, and that will be the question for the rest of the season.

Griffith isn’t afraid to pull the trigger either, with the most attempted shots in the league coming into matchweek 9 with 28 overall. She seamlessly slotted into the attack upon arrival and formed a lethal partnership with compatriot Murphey Agnew.

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Class clown: Georgina Worth

It’s tough to put the sub-par performances down to a specific player as the problem seems to be a mentality issue collectively rather than the fault of an individual. However, Newcastle could probably look at their goalkeeping as an area that has been underwhelming so far.

Georgina Worth would have to be the pick, as her performances haven’t been at the same level as seen in previous seasons. In the 2020/21 season she boasted a very impressive 87.2% save percentage, however this season it has fallen to 57.1% which puts her at the bottom of keepers in the league.

She has the ability to turn this around, and it is a collective team issue that she faces so much pressure so early on in games which doesn’t help the confidence moving forward.

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Grade: C+

Outlook: Newcastle will be unhappy with their table position, which currently puts them at 8th. Due to other teams also faltering this season, they are only six points off a finals position. With 12 games remaining this a gap that can be bridged, however changes are needed in their mindset going into games.

If Ash Wilson can get the team on the front foot early on in games, they can beat anyone on their day. There is work to do, but the season is far from over for the Jets.

Feature Image Credit: Newcastle Jets

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Will Booth
Will Boothhttp://willbooth.au
Business and Sport Management student at WSU. Interest in Data analysis. Covering the Newcastle Jets ALM and ALW teams for the 2022/23 season.

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