W-League: Jets target strong finish

KEY PLAYER: The Jets have been without US import and dynamic midfielder Arin Gilliland for their past three outings but hope to have her back for their final game in Newcastle this Sunday. Picture: Marina Neil
KEY PLAYER: The Jets have been without US import and dynamic midfielder Arin Gilliland for their past three outings but hope to have her back for their final game in Newcastle this Sunday. Picture: Marina Neil

It is a familiar scenario.

The Newcastle Jets’ women’s side must win all three of their remaining W-League matches to be in the mix for a finals berth.

They faced the same predicament last year but failed to win any.

And while coach Craig Deans indicated he will not be putting the developing side under too much pressure heading into these three games, he said they were an improved unit from last season.

“There have been games we should’ve won and that’s been a bit costly but we have been playing well, we’re just not as ruthless at key times,” Deans said.

“We are definitely a more attacking threat this year but when it comes to crucial moments we just haven’t had the maturity to take those chances sometimes.

“Having said that, Jenna Kingsley has scored four goals in the past three games, which has been good. She struggled a bit last year coming back from injury.

“As long as we are seeing progress year to year and game to game, that is the main thing.”

Deans kept the core of his team together this season, mostly developing local talent, and added four quality United States imports.

The Jets started the season well but registered just two points in a tough eight-day period in which they played three games between Christmas and the new year.

It did not help that were without US national team player Arin Gilliland for all three games.

Gilliland was out through injury but is expected to be back on deck when they host Brisbane Roar at McDonald Jones Stadium on Sunday.

It is the Jets’ last appearance in Newcastle for the season.

“We’ve got three games to go and we have to win them all and hope the top-three teams keep beating the others,” Deans said.

“We will start with Brisbane and go from there.

“If we can get to that last game against Melbourne City and be in a position where we have to win it to make the finals then that is a good result.”

The Jets, who had the bye last weekend, are four points adrift of the top four.

They play at 2.30pm on Sunday and will be followed by their male counterparts’ A-League clash with Perth Glory at 5pm.