Debutant duo shine as Nambucca Strikers crush Coffs Coast Tigers

Anna-Lee Jarrett-Crooks scored on debut for the Strikers.

THE Nambucca Strikers roared back to the summit of the Women’s 2nd Division South with a resounding 5-1 triumph over the Coffs Coast Tigers at Coronation Park last Saturday.

Coach Rhys Jones, beleaguered by an ever-lengthening injury list, turned to the club’s youth and found a silver lining.

Promoted from the under-16s, Layla Smith and Anna-Lee Jarrett-Crooks both repaid Jones’s faith, each netting on their senior debuts.

“After a slow start the Strikers settled and started to dominate the midfield, with Brindley White calling the shots.

“Quick passing and pressure had the visitors realising that their day wasn’t going to be easy,” Jones said.

“Prolific goal scorer Sarah Mander hit her tenth of the season with a beautifully struck shot after some very good footwork from young live wire Jarrett-Crooks.

“However, the visitors weren’t going to lay down and quickly equalised through midfielder Nicole Cutler.”

Five minutes later, the debutants made their impact on the match.

“Undaunted, the Strikers kept their intensity and after a patient buildup Anna-Lee Jarrett-Crooks scored her first senior goal on debut.”

The score remained at 2-1 until halftime.

Coaches Jones and Trisley encouraged the Strikers to raise the pace in the second half and be more clinical in front of goal.

“The second half showed that with Strikers using the pace and taking their opportunities with a high press and expansive game, they added three more goals.

“Sarah Mander made it 3-1, Layla Smith opened her goal scoring account since joining the club, and the never stop running Allie Hancock made it 5-1.”

Jones couldn’t hide his satisfaction post-match, particularly with the contributions from his young debutants.

“We showed control and dominance especially in the second half; our formations are working, our tactics are using players’ strengths and we can move forward and compete where it matters.

“With key players out it is good we can still be competitive and keep our momentum.

“Especially today with our two U16s playing and joining our very young team, we are in a good place.

“Special mention to our juniors Layla Smith and Anna-Lee Jarrett-Crooks, who played as though they belonged and displayed playing maturity far beyond their age.

“Layla was strong at the back, closed up the right side of the park and dominated her opponent.

“Anna-Lee scored one, set one up and hit the bar; what more can you ask for?” Jones queried.

The victory secured the Strikers’ position at the top of the table, maintaining a two-point lead over Corindi and Northern Storm.

The Strikers will next face Northern Storm on Saturday in Coffs Harbour, aiming to solidify their position at the summit of the league.


Right back Layla Smith scored on debut.

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