W-League Newcastle Jets: Emily Van Egmond on the attack ahead of top-of-the-table clash with Perthvideo, photos

Emily Van Egmond, left, playing against Canberra. Picture: AAPEMILY Van Egmond is happy to play anywhere in midfield, but Jets coach Craig Deanswill be happier toseemore of the Matildas star at theattacking endin the blockbusteragainst Perth on Saturday night.

Newcastle rose to a three-way tie and second place on goals difference with a 3-0 win away over Brisbane on Sunday, setting up the top-of-the-table clash with Glory at McDonald Jones Stadium from 8.15pm.

Deans paired Clare Wheeler and Tori Huster in central midfield and pushed Van Egmond, who returned to the side from Matildas duties, forward.

Emily Van Egmond on the attack for high-flying Jets TweetFacebook Emily Van Egmond 2017AAP and Fairfax Media imagesThe move paid dividends as Van Egmond put Arin Gilliland away on goals for the second and third goals of her hat-trick.Deans said the form and hard work of homegrownYoung Matilda Wheeler had paved the wayfor the change.

“We can play Em further forward nowbecauseClare Wheeler has come in with Tori, and they’ve been reallygoodthe last three games they’ve played together,” Deans said.“It takes a bit of defensivepressure off Em and she can get further forward.

“Em is calm on the ball and she can obviously pass the ball well. She can strike a ball and she’s got some creativity, so having Clare come in has made a big difference.

“ItalsomeansGilly can play as a winger, and she’s dangerous up there.”

Van Egmond played through a back complaint against Roar and was rested for the final half an hour with the Jets up 3-0. She was glad just to contribute to the win.

“It was the first game where I’ve played more as an attacking midfielder and I’m just happy to play wherever Deansy wants me to play,” Van Egmond said.“I like all positions in the midfield, and I was lucky enough to find Gilly a couple of times off really nice forward runs and we capitalised in transitions, which was very pleasing.

“We’re starting to get familiar with each other and it’s just good competitiveness within the squad. Clare’s come in and done a fantastic job, and I thought she did a really good job on the weekend, as did Tori.”

For Deans, the attacking success in round seven broughtwelcomedselection headaches for the second half of the season.

“Cortnee Vine missed out on the weekend but she’s been playing well,” Deans said.“It’s nice to have a situation whereyou’re leaving good players onthe bench. Tara Andrews didn’t travel with the squad so we’ve got her to hopefully come in.It’snice to have some depth in the attacking area.”

The Perth clash brings with it the added challenge of stopping superstar striker Sam Kerr, one of Van Egmond’s best friends.

“Sammy’s obviously a great player, not just in the W-League, but on the world stage,” Van Egmond said.“She’s definitely a threat, but I think if we can minimise the space in behind for her to make those forward runs, I think that’s definitely going to be the key.”

Returning MatildaGema Simon is likely to miss another week of action for Newcastle in her recovery from a knee injury.

Defender Natasha Prior is nursing a knee injury but isexpected to be available.

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