Will I get a tip right this W-League season? The odds say no.
Newcastle 0 – Brisbane 1
It was a wild and unpredictable Hersday Night Football in Newcastle. Wild as in wildly lacking in quality at times, unpredictable as in how did the game not end up something like 5-2? Once Brisbane find their shooting boots they will be a real force this season but so far they have been consistently inconsistent.
Newcastle started the better of the two teams overall. They were continuously thwarted by Brisbane’s Jenna McCormick who was one of the best on field. The commentators talked up her chances of possible Matildas selection but with only a couple of games left before she leaves for her AFLW duties it seems unlikely.
Despite Newcastle’s early dominance it was Brisbane with the first huge chance of the game. Young Anna Margraf somehow contrived to miss the goal from 2 metres out in the 17th minute. She was quite involved in the game to this point, keeping Newcastle’s defence constantly on their toes. She seemed to go into her shell a little bit after the miss but is definitely one to watch for the future. There will be more chances.
The Roar almost gifted the Jets a goal no more than five minutes later. After a barn storming run from Taylor Smith led to a corner, an innocuous looking header made its way through a frozen defence to lob onto the post into Mackenzie Arnold’s hands. It was looking like a very scrappy game.
The first half was almost split in two. It was around this point that Brisbane started to dominate, peppering the Newcastle defence with balls into the box. They just seemed to lack that final ball. Even when they did get the final ball right there didn’t seem to be anyone in the box to convert. It looked like it was turning into one of those days.
Right on the stroke of half time it was Newcastle’s turn to miss a sitter. Smith ran through the entire Roar team and squared it off to Jenna Kingsley – only for Kingsley to skew it over the bar. It should have been at least 1-1, but it went into the break scoreless.
It was Brisbane who eventually broke the deadlock. In the 56th minute, Ubogagu capitalised on a total mis-hit of a pass from Nagasato to slot it past Britt Eckerstrom and score what turned out to be the only goal of the game. The goal pretty much summed up the game. Nagasato went to miss, completely fluffed it, and not a single member of the Newcastle defence reacted in time.
There wasn’t much of note for the rest of the game. Arguably Natalie Tathem could have received a red card for Brisbane in the last 10 minutes which would have made things interesting. Courtnee Vine was clear on goal before Tathem dragged her down just outside the box. Polkinghorne turned up just in time for the referee to rule it a yellow instead of a red. There was definitely an argument it should have been a red anyway.
Overall it was pretty dreary. To be blunt it’s probably the least enthusiastic I’ve been about a W League game this season, although maybe it’s just because the last game I watched was Sunday night in Perth. Taylor Smith provided brief moments of spark and Van Egmond controlled the tempo as always but Newcastle were pretty uninspiring. Brisbane showed glimpses of what they can do (and what they did last season) but they’re lacking that bit of quality up front that they need.
Both teams are solid and both will be looking forward to the season ahead for different reasons. There is no reason why, with slight tweaks, both teams couldn’t challenge for finals contention. However both will need significant improvements if they’re to challenge the best this season.
By Taryn Heddo