Jets' finals breakthrough to boost local football: Deans
Newcastle Jets' drought-breaking appearance in the Westfield W-League Finals Series is set to have a big impact on local football in the Hunter, according to coach Craig Deans.
The Jets booked a spot in the Semi-Finals after a stellar campaign in 2017/18 which saw them finish third, narrowly missing a home final.
Prior to this season, Newcastle hadn't qualified for the finals since the inaugural campaign in 2008/09.
But after an impressive season which saw the side net a league-high 26 goals, Deans hopes the team's improved showing will have an impact on the local community.
"I think the fact that we made the finals for the first time in nine years is going to be a big boost for local football," Deans told the club's official site.
"Now it puts the W-League on a little bit of a higher level.
"For me, the main reason for coaching is to see players succeed and see players be successful and the club be successful.
"From my point of view the most important thing is that we’ve done something with the club [that] the town can be proud of.
"We want to make sure it’s not just a one-off as well. We want to continue to get better and year by year improve all aspects of the team."
Newcastle will face-off against Sydney FC for a place in the W-League Grand Final on Saturday afternoon at Leichhardt Oval.
The Jets beat Sydney 2-0 back in Round 2, with the last fixture ending in a 2-2 draw in early January.
Deans is confident his side can perform well and pointed to his side's ability to handle the pressure of finals football as key to securing an upset win.
"We’ve done quite well [this year] but again it’s a final. It’s a different mentality, a different approach, a more intense game – more pressure," Deans said.
"It’s more about handling the pressure and remaining focused on ourselves and making sure we do everything we have to do.
"And hopefully keep Sydney’s big-name players quiet.
"I think it’ll be a great game. I’m looking forward to it and I know all the girls are too."