The return of striker Melina Ayres, plus newcomer Kizinga “Kiki” Ndjoli Exaucee, will boost the Newcastle Jets’ A-League Women’s (ALW) chances of success this weekend.
The Hunter-based club, sitting fifth on the ladder, heads to Melbourne to face the eight-placed Victory at the Home of the Matildas on Sunday 12 November.
And, following the girls’ fighting effort in their previous outing, which resulted in a 1-all draw with the Western Sydney Wanders, coach Gary van Egmond is keen to collect the three competition points on offer south of the border.
Ayres, who missed the third round fixture at home, should slot straight into the team.
After enjoying a breakout season in 2022/23, in which she scored a career-high 12 goals in 13 matches, the 24-year-old Melbourne product shocked the ALW by linking up with van Egmond in Newcastle.
The partnership paid dividends in the opening game, with Ayres slotting home the winner against the Central Coast Mariners.
“We could have probably played her [last Sunday], but we erred on the side of caution,” the Jets’ mentor said.
“It’s a long season, so you don’t want your best players to rush back from injury unnecessarily.”
Meanwhile, Newcastle signed DR Congolese international Exaucee during the week for its 2023/24 campaign.
Kiki, who plays on the left side of the field in attack and defence, joins the Jets after previously playing in Turkey with Atasehir Belediyespor.
She’s also spent time with Éclat Sport in her homeland of the DR Congo.
Van Egmond admitted he was excited to have the talented youngster on board.
“I’m delighted to bring Kiki over here to Newcastle,” he said.
“She’s a talented young footballer who is very technically gifted, sharp in attack and we’re eager to see her in action.”
Kiki, who’ll wear the number 11 jersey, has also been named in the Jets squad.
Newcastle Jets v Melbourne Victory
(Sunday 12 November, Home of the Matildas)
3pm – A-League Women
- Newcastle Jets (squad): 1. Izzy Nino, 2. Josie Wilson, 3. Claudia Cicco, 4. Natasha Prior, 6. Cass Davis, 7. Gema Simon, 8. Rebecca Burrows, 9. MelindaJ Barbieri, 10. Libby Copus-Brown, 11. Kizinga Ndjoli Exaucee, 13. Lauren Allan, 14. Melina Ayres, 15. Alex Huynh, 18. Sophie Hoban, 21. Kiara Rochaix, 22. Lorena Baumann, 23. Zoe Karipidis, 24. Milan Hammond, 25. Lara Gooch, 28. Emma Dundas
- Melbourne Victory (squad): 1. Lydia Williams, 2. Jamilla Rankin, 4. Sara D’appolonia, 3. Tori Hansen, 5. Jessika Nash, 6. Beattie Goad, 7. Ella O’Grady, 9. Emily Gielnik, 8. Alana Murphy, 10. McKenzie Weinert, 13. Kurea Okino, 15. Emma Checker, 16. Paige Zois, 18. Kayla Morrison, 19. Lia Privitelli, 20. Miranda Templeman, 21. Elise Kellond-Knight, 22. Ava Briedis, 23. Rachel Lowe, 27. Rosie Curtis
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