ALW Preview: Newcastle v City

It’s been a while between drinks but our City Women will finally return to the pitch this Saturday to face Newcastle Jets away from home.

By the time Saturday rolls around it will have been three weeks since Dario Vidosic’s squad last took to the pitch.

An international break and a bye have now come and gone, and it’s finally time for our City Women to return for their final five matches of the regular season.

Here’s a few things to keep an eye out for this Saturday!

Return of the Mac

It’s now been a little over a year since midfielder Holly McNamara tore her ACL against Sydney FC.

The injury came at a disappointing time for McNamara, in the middle of a breakout season in just her first professional campaign and fresh off a Matildas debut.

The now 20-year-old has been working hard in the background ever since and has now been cleared for a return to action, named in City’s squad to take on Newcastle this Saturday.

McNamara been slowly building up her workload, taking part in two friendlies in recent weeks. She played 45 minutes and scored twice against the Young Matildas, before seeing an hour of action last week against a City Academy side.

While it remains unclear at this point whether Vidosic will bring her straight back into the starting XI, one thing you can guarantee is there will be plenty of smiles on City fans faces and those across the league when McNamara makes her return to the pitch this weekend.

Oh… and Cote’s back too!

After plenty of absences throughout the season due to injury and national team duty, the news just gets better and better for City fans heading into this weekend.

Maria Jose Rojas has also been named in the squad for this weekend’s clash, set to appear in City blue for the first time since December.

Initially signed on an injury replacement contract, Rojas’ time with City came to an end when Hannah Wilkinson made her return from a quad injury.

An injury to Emina Ekic saw an international spot open up and would’ve paved the way for Rojas to return to the club earlier than expected, but the star Chilean has been away on international duty.

Now back in Melbourne and training with the squad, Rojas is ready to go ahead of a big end to the season.

She was named Player of the Month for December after scoring four goals in five games (plus another two assists) in her first stint at City this season.

There’s no doubt Vidosic will be hoping to see her quickly return to that form as the team looks to book its ticket to the Finals in the coming weeks.

An unlikely charge for the Plate

Two losses in two games before the international break severely halted City’s push for the Premiers Plate, but it remains up for grabs heading into the final month of the season.

While the table is a little hard to gauge given all teams have played a different number of games, it seems to be a pretty simple equation for City.

You’d imagine no less than a win in all of its final five fixtures will be needed for City to win the plate, while Western United and Sydney FC dropping points on the run home is also needed.

While those Premiership chances may be slim, City’s attacking reinforcements will give it every chance to finish the season strongly and push for a top-two spot and double chance in Finals.

How have our opponents been travelling?

It’s been a tough campaign for Newcastle, who has struggled to get going and currently sits 10th with three wins for the season.

It did have some joy a few weeks back beating ladder-leaders Western United 2-0, but was quickly brought back down to earth in the past two fixtures where it suffered 4-0 and 6-0 defeats.

The Jets will also be without American defender Emily Garnier this Saturday after she was sent off due to receiving two yellow cards in four minutes last time out.

What happened last time teams met?

These teams have already met once this season, doing battle at Casey Fields back in Round 4.

The first half saw some of the best football City has played this season, taking a 3-0 lead into the break thanks to goals from Kaitlyn Torpey, Rojas and Bryleeh Henry.

A Tara Andrews goal in the 70th minute briefly gave the Jets a glimmer of hope before Caitlin Karic’s debut senior goal and a late Emina Ekic penalty secured the three points for City.

Match Details

A-League Women: Round 16

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City FC

Date: Saturday 4 March

Time: 3:00pm

Where: No.2 Sportsground