Newcastle W-League coach Craig Deans believes the absence of superstar Sam Kerr will not automatically make Perth Glory an easier proposition on Saturday night at Dorrien Gardens.
The Jets take on Glory in round four after losses to Western Sydney (1-0) and Canberra (3-2). The defeats leave Newcastle on one point, from an opening-round draw at home against Melbourne City.
They get their chance to bounce back from the loss to Canberra when they take on last-placed Glory away. Perth lost 3-1 to leaders Sydney FC last Sunday, following the bye and a round-one 2-0 defeat to Canberra.
Kerr, one of the world's best players, has been her hometown club's marquee signing in recent years but the striker is instead with European giants Chelsea this season.
Deans said the change will make Glory a different challenge.
"It's going to be an interesting one because they were actually pretty predictable previously with Sam Kerr, because you know what they want to do is get the ball to her," Deans said.
"So it is quite easy to work out a game plan to stop her. Now there's an even spread of responsibility, we're going to have to work out some tactical things.
"The girls have been tactically very good this year so I'm sure whatever we come up with, they will put into practice, but it will be a different Perth Glory team, but it could be more difficult in some sense."
Annabel Martin (knee), Sophie Nenadovic (ankle) and Renee Pountney (foot) have been sidelined, leaving Deans with few selection options to start the season. He did not expect that to change this week, but he was happy regardless to stick with his squad after the performance last week.
"Annabel is the closest but it's not worth the risk at the moment," he said.
"The plan was the Sydney game [on December 15] but if she gets back quicker, she gets back quicker.
"Renee is probably available this week but it just depends how match fit she is. She's been out for a while.
"But everyone in the squad through the first three games has done a good job and contributed in some way, so the girls who aren't playing have got to push them out."
Deans was pleased with the attitude of his squad and he was confident they would get better every week.
"If you break it up into the three most important areas of the game; it's being competitive, and we're super competitive, so I can't complain about that," he said.
"Tactically following instructions has been excellent. We've changed from being conservative and counter-attacking against City, to being much more aggressive with the ball and pressing a lot higher, so tactically I can't fault them at all.
"The only area we're letting ourselves down in is with the technical side. Our passing is not as good as it needs to be and our chances to score, we're just not taking them, so we just work every week now on being better.
"We've just got to keep working hard. That's just where we are as a team."