This week’s ABC TV match-up promises much for the neutral featuring two relative newcomers to the annual race for a finals ticket.
Adelaide United v Newcastle Jets
Sunday 5 October 2014
Adelaide Shores Football Centre, Adelaide
Local kick-off: 2.30pm (3pm AEDT)
** Catch all the action Live* at 3.00pm nationally on ABC1. Or from Monday on ABC iView with a full replay at 3.30am on Tuesday.
Join the conversation on Twitter using match hashtag #ADLvNEW
Not so long ago this would have merely been considered a battle to avoid the wooden spoon. But now both teams are not only highly competitive, and indeed very much in the frame as semi-final contenders.
Nevertheless, both sides will consider three points from their visit to the Adelaide Shores Football Centre as an absolute must.
Despite some typically competitive showings Adelaide are yet to get off the mark, while Newcastle have claimed one win from their three outings. And a failure for either to advance their respective causes here will be a blow, over what is a relatively short campaign.
Last season former coach Ross Aloisi turned Adelaide United from also-rans into a competitive force almost within the blink of an eye, and the Lady Reds only narrowly missed an unlikely finals berth.
Despite three successive losses, the Lady Reds are proving equally competitive buoyed by the arrival of Danish icon Katrine Pederson. Once again Westfield Matildas goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri is a strong presence at the back and United are typically hard to break down.
Newcastle have followed down a similar path as their rivals. The Jets were marooned at the bottom of the ladder throughout last season, but are suddenly a new-look side this term.
The Jets have proved their value from the outset by defeating champions Melbourne in their season opener, and then pushing the star-studded Perth Glory and Brisbane Roar all the way over the past fortnight.
Much like Adelaide, an injection of experience has been the key ingredient with Westfield Matildas ace midfielder Emily van Egmond joined by a trio of American imports at the arrivals gate.
The Jets’ star recruits are all set to take their place, while youngster Clare Wheeler is welcomed back into the squad for Sunday’s game in place of fellow young gun, Grace Macintyre.
Adelaide United squad: 1. Melissa Barbieri (gk), 2. Monique Iannella, 4. Lauren Steer, 6. Dylan Holmes, 7. Katrine Pedersen, 8. Emily Condon, 9. Lisa-Marie Woods, 11. Isabel Hodgson, 12.Daila-Tais Borg, 14. Rachel Alonso, 15. Jenna McCormick, 16. Katie Holtham, 17. Tiarn Powell, 20. Sarah Willacy (gk), 23. Kristy Moore (C)
Ins: Monique Iannella (returns from injury), Rachel Alonso (promoted)
Outs: Alexandra Chidiac (Australia U-17s), Georgia Campagnale (omitted)
Newcastle Jets squad: 2. Georgia Yeoman-Dale, 3. Hayley Crawford, 4. Ashley Spina, 5. Katherine Reynolds, 6. Angela Salem, 7. Tori Huster, 8. Amber Neilson, 9. Tara Andrews, 10. Emily van Egmond, 11. Rhali Dobson, 15. Libby Copus-Brown, 16. Cassidy Davis, 18. Clare Wheeler, 20. Claire Coelho (GK), 21. Renee Rudder (GK)
Ins: Clare Wheeler (promoted)
Outs: Grace McIntyre (omitted)
Unavailable: Hannah Southwell (Australian U-17s)