Canberra United celebrated their return to McKellar Park in Round 4 with a comprehensive win over Newcastle Jets.

After settling for draws in seasons 7 and 8, Canberra maintained their lead through a five-goal second half that delighted the crowd. What made for a great encounter too, was that the Jets kept fighting, staying in the hunt for goals.

Canberra United - Key points and players

With the exception of a few lapses, the Canberra United squad were looking tight against Jets, and dominated through the midfield. Once again, Trudy Burke was impressive in goals, performing a number of diving and leaping saves. Hannah Brewer and Hayley Raso linked well, and Kinga’s influence in the centre is really starting to show.

With Jasmyne Spencer watching from the stands in a moon boot, the depth of Canberra United was facing its first real test. Michelle Heyman, who’s been playing in the number 10 spot, was delighted to be “finally playing up top.” She was rapt with a brace, but honest about a team approach to wins.

“It doesn’t matter who scores the goals – just as long as it gets in.”

With Heyman’s move forward, Grace Maher played her first full 90 minutes in green looking perfectly at home in the centre. She snatched balls in transition, threaded balls through to (Ashleigh) Sykes and Heyman, and an hour into the match scored her first W-League goal. It greatly pleased Canberra United coach Rae Dower to see some of the next generation step up.

“With Jaz out, it brought an opportunity for young Karly (Roestbakken) to come in, who’s fifteen. It was awesome for her to get in, and get her first minutes."

"Clare Hunt got her first minutes. Then generation next scored two goals, with Nikki (Flannery) and Grace Maher."

"It’s really exciting times for the club. Like I’ve said before, you look at the next kids coming in behind, this club’s in very good hands. There’s great local players that are here, ready to step in when their time comes.”

It may create some potential selection headaches for Dower as the season progresses, with Emma Checker and Spencer eyeing returns from injury in the next month.

“It’s a good problem to have. The good thing is, we said right from the beginning the kids coming in weren’t there to make up numbers."

"They’ve earned their spot, and you saw that today. Karly, for the last 12-13 minutes as a 15 year old, she more than matched it in the middle. Gracie Maher, that’s a player of the match performance, she was outstanding.”

The signs were good overall for United, but they were disappointed to concede in the way they did. Similar to the Melbourne City game, goals came against the run of play, and to a certain extent off defensive lapses.

Along with these lapses, a few communication errors and missed passes were frustrating, but there were glimpses of more devastating potential in Canberra United. Most importantly, for the crowded state of the ladder, they came away with the points.

“The win, the three points is always what we’re looking for, but the manner in which we got that today is probably more pleasing.”

Big Question

Canberra United now spend a month on the road, including a Central Coast home game. Can they build on this to stay in the top four?

Newcastle Jets - Key points and players

Newcastle came to Canberra in perhaps the best position they’ve been to finally wrestle three points out at McKellar Park. They have started the season with some good wins, and coming off a win against Glory at home, weren’t to be underestimated.

After an awkward fall and ACL tear ended import Kelsey Wys’s season last week, Clare Coelho finds herself back as the custodian for Newcastle Jets. While she won’t be happy with the result, Coelho turned in a good performance, and ensured there wasn’t a bigger margin.

She continued to make good decisions and saves throughout the match, particularly impressive after taking a knock early in the second half, and as the score blew out.

Similarly, the side as a whole looked hungry throughout the match, regardless of the deficit. Jenna Kingsley gave Hannah Brewer trouble all afternoon, and Nenadovic was tireless. As a result of these efforts, both Jen Hoy and Rhali Dobson found the back of the net.

They didn’t get the start they wanted in attack, hardly troubling Trudy Burke in the first half hour. What they did do was work their way into the contest.

They scored nicely against the run of play, by having numbers in the box. The Jets will need to do more to control play in the midfield though, and facing a few more weeks without Chloe Logarzo, they’ll need to do this with some urgency to keep pace with the top four.

Big Question

Newcastle Jets are contenders this year, more than ever. Will this loss rattle them, or will they bounce back well against Sydney FC?

What’s next?

Canberra United start a month on the road against Adelaide, while Newcastle Jets host Sydney FC in Round 5.

Match Details

Canberra United 5 (Heyman 19’/52’, Ochs 33’, Maher 65’, Flannery 90+2’)

Newcastle Jets 2 (Dobson 63’, Hoy 87’)

McKellar Park, Canberra

Kickoff: 4.00pm

Crowd: 871

Referee: Kate Jacewicz

Canberra United: Trudy Burke (gk), Yukari Kinga, Ellie Brush (Karly Roestbakken 83’), Hayley Raso, Grace Maher, Jenna McCormick, Michelle Heyman, Hannah Brewer, Ashleigh Sykes (Nickoletta Flannery 73’), Celeste Boureille (Claire Hunt 59’), Stephanie Ochs

Substitutes: Georgia Boric (gk)

Cautions: Ellie Brush 71’

Newcastle Jets: Clare Coelho (gk), Sophie Nenadovic (Grace Macintyre 68’), Elizabeth O’Reilly, Megan Oyster, Arin Gilliland (Ashlee Brodigan 79’), Cassidy Davis, Gema Simon, Emma Stanbury, Jennifer Hoy, Rhali Dobson, Jenna Kingsley

Substitutes: Annalee Grove (gk), Clare Wheeler

Cautions: Elizabeth O’Reilly 35’