Phillips looking forward to Canberra

Newcastle Jets Westfield W-League coach Gary Phillips is happy with his team for earning a home semi-final against Canberra, but knows it must lift to advance to the grand final.

Newcastle Jets Westfield W-League coach Gary Phillips is happy with his team for earning a home semi-final against Canberra, but knows it must lift to advance to the grand final.

Going into its last game against Perth Glory at Members Equity Stadium, Newcastle knew it couldn-t lose or face slipping to third and a goalless draw ensued, but it was one with plenty of chances for both sides.

Phillips was delighted with his team for keeping out the Glory, but saw Katie Gill, who has six goals for the season, and Joanne Peters (one) miss some good opportunities. He was happy with the overall performance though.

"It's the second week in a row we've had a clean sheet, so we are obviously pleased about that, particularly to know we can defend well going into the finals. The conditions were tough, the travel was tough and given that, we are happy," he said.

"I'm still concerned that we are a 60-minute team, opposed to a 90-minute team and we need to score when we are dominant. We need to give better support to our front players and to be more composed on the ball. Defensively I'm quite happy now, but offensively we lack composure at times and need to get better at how and where to play the ball."

Canberra looms as a dangerous semi-final opponent for the Jets, with both teams finishing on 16 points but Newcastle getting the nod for second spot due to having a one-goal advantage on goal difference.

The Jets come in with two wins and a draw from the last three games, but Phillips knows Canberra is a tough test.

"Canberra's had a great season. Canberra and Queensland are at a distinct advantage in that they've been together all year, while a lot of others have been thrown together," Phillips said.

"We've had a lot of local players, a couple of foreigners and interstate players, but every time there's a national camp, Canberra gets to play them so they've had a great preparation. They've done quite well, are a mobile side and I don't think they've scored many goals, but they defend well and if you don-t match them for intensity and effort, you're going to get hurt."

While Phillips is a tremendous supporter of the W-League and admires the sacrifices the women need to make to play, he would like to see the season expanded to longer than 10 games and for the A-League clubs to get more strongly behind it.

"It's obviously not long enough. There's no doubt that it's going to help the national team to expose the younger players to some high quality opponents. To get the game on a bigger level, with better exposure is magnificent for girls and they've never had that," he said.

"They are so committed that you have to admire them. Amber Neilson works at Muffin Break all day, goes to work at night at a hospital and pays for her own education. For several weeks at a time, she can't train because of uni or work, so it's tough but it's the commitment that you have to admire.

"The pleasing thing for me is that it can only get bigger and I hope that the A-League clubs get on the back of it. For the season to be already over is disappointing as the girls are loving it. For once, they get to do an interview, stay in a motel and not having to pay to play is all fantastic for them."