A-League Women mid-season report card: Wellington Phoenix

-

Another mid-season means another report card halfway through the A-League Women season, lets take a look at how Wellington Phoenix have been holding up. 

Semester summary: Disappointing to say the least. 

Wellington Phoenix have yet to record a win this A-League Women season with five losses and a draw to their name already. 

That draw came recently in a 1-1 affair with Western Sydney Wanderers in Round 6 and it was probably the Phoenix’s best performance to date. 

Embed from Getty Images

In previous games they have shown promising signs, but have just been unable to really execute a consistent 90 minute showing. 

With most of their defeats this season being by a decent goal margin, Natalie Lawrence’s side have never given up. They have not allowed the scoreline to affect their game and most of it would have to be down to the Yellow Fever who constantly made themselves heard no matter what the outcome is. 

Area of excellence: This is a hard one being that there haven’t been any stand out areas in Wellington’s play so far. If I had to pick, it would have to be their backline. 

While they have the second worst backline of the A-League Women currently with 14 goals let in, they have more recently shown good signs. 

Having started off the season poorly with 12 goals conceded in the first four games, the Nix have only conceded a goal in each of their last two games. 

Embed from Getty Images

Most of that credit has to go down to keeper Brianna Edwards, who has been regularly making save after save to either save her side from further embarrassment or keeping them in the match. 

The backline made up of Saskia Vosper, Mackenzie Barry, Marisa van der Meer and Michaela Foster have been starting to put in solid shifts at the back. 

With regular starter Kate Taylor and captain Lily Alfeld out injured, it shows that the Phoenix have plenty of depth behind them. 

Area in need of improvement: Wellington Phoenix need to improve their execution in front of goal. 

Despite not recording a win so far this season, Wellington have been competitive up top where they have had several chances to put the ball in the back of the net. 

Embed from Getty Images

Their worse game up front was in Round 1 against Melbourne City where the Nix had 17 shots on goal with four of those finding the target and only one found the back of the net, they went on to be thumped 4-1. Their goal came in the last eight minutes of regular time. 

The Phoenix have created several chances in most of their games this season. In games they have been able to score in, Wellington have only been able to record one in each of those matches. 

It leaves the Nix with the joint worst attack in the competition with three goals to date and with a decent attacking lineup, more work is needed. 

Top student: Edwards.

The 19-year-old backup goalkeeper has been the standout for the Phoenix this season, even though she has conceded 14 goals in the first six games. 

Embed from Getty Images

It doesn’t matter though. While clean sheets are crucial along with conceding as fewer goals as possible, her saves and her general play have been excellent. 

While Edwards has been shaky at times, she has made 20 saves so far this campaign with 12 of those coming from inside the box showing that Edwards is a reliable source in-between the sticks. 

With captain and first-choice keeper Lily Alfeld missing the opening rounds of the competition, Edwards is certainly making her stance to keep being selected week in, week out. She certainly is making up from last season where she made only two appearances.   

Class clown: Lawrence signed nine new players for this season with four of those part of the Football Ferns squad, most of the team from the 2021/22 season stayed on. 

Marisa van der Meer, Paige Satchell and Betsy Hassett have put in decent performances in their respective positions, while Emma Rolston has only played a couple of games as she has struggled with injuries this far.

Embed from Getty Images

Four of those nine signings excluding Rolston have been integrated into the starting XI with most of the starters from last season keeping their spots. 

It’s difficult to talk about Wellington Phoenix being that their squad is mainly unchanged from the 2021/22 campaign. 

There isn’t really a class clown. 

Grade: C- 

Outlook: Top of the table Melbourne City are 14 points clear of the bottom of the table Nix and with the way Melbourne City look, it looks impossible for the Phoenix to catch them. However, Wellington can revive their disappointing season. 

Their first point of the season came last time out and it was probably their best performance currently as mentioned earlier, they can use this as motivation and believe that the draw can start a good run of results. 

With 11 points separating Wellington from the top four teams who qualify for the finals series, it will be a difficult task. As the saying goes though, never say never! 

Featured image credit: Photomac 

Enjoy this content? Support The Football Sack

Due in part to COVID and lack of current sponsorship we are at risk of not having the funds to continue running The Football Sack. If you enjoy our content and support our work in training talented young writers, please support us with a donation. If every reader contributed just $3, our funding would be covered for over ten years.

DONATE

Learn with us

Nick Jensen
Nick Jensen
Journalism Student at Massey University Wellington and a passionate Football Fan, covering the Wellington Phoenix Men and Women for the 2022/23 season.

Latest Articles

Love your football?
Subscribe to our weekly football wrap. During the season we'll send you all the week's football action straight to your inbox.
* indicates required