Epakis & Baisden: We Have To Start Quicker

Impetus’ Ben Gilby reports on both Perth Glory’s and Newcastle Jets’ media conferences today looking ahead to their clash at Number Two Sportsground on Saturday (30/11/22).

Perth Glory attacker Rylee Baisden is focusing on the positives of her side’s second-half performance against Adelaide United on Sunday and remains confident that her team can use it as a foundation to clinch three points at Newcastle Jets this weekend.

The club’s off-season signing told the media today: “As a group we grew. We started a bit slow, but you saw 70 minutes of good football and it’s exciting knowing what we can bring (to the game against Newcastle). We have to create our own luck though.”

The former Brisbane Roar player emphasised the need for her team to be on it from the first whistle in order to reach their potential in matches saying: “It’s nice to get a hot start and get an early one in the net. Pieces are falling into place. We’ve got a good squad and it’s exciting to see everything starting to come together.”

Baisden believes that success at Newcastle comes down to focusing on themselves and getting the best possible preparation: “We respect every team, but we are also to be respected. We have the fight in our group and are ready to bring it and get three points on the road. We’re going out there a day early to get some training in our legs. That’s good for the squad.

Above: Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis speaking to the media today. Image: Perth Glory.

Perth Glory head coach Alex Epakis summarised what he wants to see from his team at Newcastle Jets this Saturday in the sentence: “We just have to start quicker and play quicker from the first whistle.”

Both the Glory’s matches in the A-League Women this season have seen slow first-half showings followed by much more impressive second 45s. Epakis now wants his team to take the two positives from Sunday’s game against Adelaide United to spur them on to a first win of the season at the Number Two Sportsground.

“From an atmosphere point of view, it was great to play at home again, that was positive for the club and the group. From a performance point of view, the second half was exactly where we needed to be, but we just have to play like that for longer periods of the game.”

The Jets will go into Saturday’s game on the back of a 4-2 win over Western Sydney Wanderers with American duo Sarah Griffith and Murphy Agnew making strong starts to their campaigns. Epakis though is well aware of the threats: “It was a good result for them, and what that performance allowed us to do was to identify where they are strong and we’ve got to nullify that. We’ve got to be stronger in attack too to make sure we pose some threats to them.”

The Perth Glory head coach’s injury update remained frustrating: “At the moment we are struggling for numbers (Milan Hammond and Claudia Mihocic are still out), and an injury replacement is injured, but we have a strong 17 (players available). We’ll potentially tweak some things (in terms of selection), but we’ve also got to back the players who have down well in pre-season. It’s all about finding that sweet spot.”

Listening to both Baisden and Epakis, you could sense the frustration in their start to the season. Determination is there to unleash the full potential of this Perth Glory side on Saturday. If that happens, then Newcastle Jets will be hard-pushed to prevent the three points heading West.

Newcastle Jets Out To Take Advantage of Momentum & Increased Options Up Front

Above: Tara Andrews talking to the media today. Image: Newcastle Jets.

Newcastle Jets’ talismanic striker Tara Andrews was proud of her side’s performance in defeating Western Sydney Wanderers last weekend, but knows they need to build on that result when Perth Glory visit on Saturday.

“It was an awesome day. To get the win makes it all worthwhile. The community (of Tamworth) came out to support us and they were pretty vocal. To win for them, and for us was really awesome. Now we can get some momentum going forward.”

Andrews revealed that it was not just the win that made her proud against the Wanderers admitting: “I hadn’t played 90 for a while, it was good to get that in my legs. I didn’t think I would last!”

With the Jets win being boosted by a hat trick from new American signing Sarah Griffith, the 28-year-old outlined how having another goalscorer on the books is a massive aid for her.

“Last year I felt the pressure that I was the striker and I had to score, so it’s a good support.”

Tara Andrews on Sarah Griffith’s arrival.

An additional confidence boost for Newcastle is the fact that they defeated Western Sydney despite having a number of players on the injury list with Andrews revealing: “We were a bit worried during the week with people on the sidelines injured. We had a couple of young ones coming on in the game as well, but we have enough depth in the squad. The injured girls are going well now and back either next week or the week after.”

The hometown hero is thrilled at the prospect of Saturday’s game taking place in Newcastle – the Jets’ first game in the city this season.

“It would have been good to have a couple of doubleheaders with the men at the main (McDonald Jones) Stadium, but I also love playing at Number Two (Sports Ground) because it really creates a good atmosphere when you get about a thousand people in there.”

Focussing specifically on their opponents this weekend, Andrews conceded: “I don’t know a whole lot about Perth. They are always a hard team to beat, we just have to concentrate on ourselves and make sure we do the right things from our perspective and score more goals.”

Above: Lauren Allan – excited by the increased options up front that the Jets have this season. Image: Newcastle Jets.

Lauren Allan underlined the importance of Newcastle Jets’ getting their season off and running at the second attempt against Western Sydney Wanderers, saying: “It was a good bounceback after (defeat to) Brisbane. “A few of the guys got debuts and it proved that even without our full-strength players we got a win.”

Allan also revealed a special celebration she had planned for the game as well: “It was also great to be playing with Tara (Andrews) again as she got 90 at last. I said if she scored I’d jump on her and yell ‘Koala!’

Sarah Griffth’s hat trick caught the headlines in the Jets win with Allan full of praise for the American’s qualities “She is a great asset to the team. It’s definitely not a fluke. She could have had some more in the Brisbane game. I’m sure she’ll get a lot more during the season. She is very versatile and can score multiple different ways.”

Whilst Newcastle’s new arrival has had an impressive start to life, the club’s DNA is their cohort of locally produced players who have known each other for years. Jets’ 26-year-old star highlighted the benefits that come with that experience. “Tara, Cass (Davis), and I have known and played with each other for a long time. Tara knows if I play a ball back to her then I will be doing an overlap run.”

That tightness of character and local identity is reflected in the Jets’ Number Two Sportsground home, with a loud atmosphere always guaranteed. Allan expects no different this weekend: “Number Two is a small field (stadium), but the atmosphere is even better there, everyone can get close to the game. Hopefully, we can turn it on for everyone.”

Above: Sarah Griffith – the latest hero for Newcastle Jets fans. Image: Newcastle Jets.

She’s played only two games for Newcastle Jets, but Sarah Griffith is already a potential fans favourite.

Whilst looking a tricky customer in her side’s opening-round loss to Brisbane Roar, Griffith was the driving force in the Jets 4-2 win over Western Sydney Wanderers in Tamworth last weekend. Looking back at the game, Griffith asserted:

“I wanted to get off on a strong foot. Getting the first one early was nice. It was definitely a confidence booster. Getting on under your belt is nice as it means you can get another…I didn’t know what a perfect hat trick was until people said afterwards!”

Sarah Griffith, Newcastle Jets.

The Chicago Red Stars player sees a lot of promise in her teammates this season as the Jets look to push towards a top half finish: “Every player brings something special. Tara has a way of winning balls and putting it in the back of the net. Loz (Lauren Allen) as well does great runs and great balls from Murph(y Agnew) means there is a lot for the opposition to take care of. “

As for her views on this weekend’s game, Griffith was confident: “I think we can handle anything they (Perth) throw at us.”

There will certainly a plethora of attacking talent on display on both sides at Number Two Sportsground on Saturday – it could well be some game.

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