We preview Newcastle Jets as they chase an elusive berth in the Westfield W-League season top-four.
Newcastle boasts a fine history in women’s football, even if success has been limited in the Westfield W-League. The Jets have reached the finals just once when hometown superstars Cheryl Salisbury, Jo Peters and Kate Gill led them to second back in season one. There has been a revitalisation over the past two seasons with the club missing a ticket to the semis only in the final round.
Newcastle have retained several key members from the side which impressed throughout last term. Crowd favourites such as Rhali Dobson, Gema Simon and Chloe Logarzo will all line up again, though they latter is set to miss the opening few weeks due to commitments in Sweden.
Last season’s Achilles heel was in the goalscoring department, but there is optimism in that regard following the signing of American striker Jen Hoy, with more international recruits expected to be unveiled. Newcastle will be the only club playing all their Westfield W-League matches as a part of an Hyundai A-League double-header.
A former central defender with Newcastle in the NSL and the Hyundai A-League, as well as a championship winner at Perth Glory, Craig Deans boasts a long history with the local game. After several years as Newcastle Jets assistant coach and youth team coach, Deans impressed in his first season in the Westfield W-League, establishing a platform that can be further built upon.
“I’m pretty happy with the players we have been able to keep, including some of the internationals so that was a big thing for us,” Deans said. “We have also signed some experienced players from Sydney, and we had quite a young squad overall last year. There is a good mix of locals and girls from outside and I’m happy with the balance of the squad.
“We played some good football at times last year, and I think in every game except Sydney away we had more shots on goal than our opponent but we weren’t clinical enough. A priority was to fix that this year, and Jen (Hoy) definitely has all the attributes of a player that can score goals, so I’m sure if we create the same number of chances she will score her fair share.
“We needed to win one of our last three games to make the finals last season, and if that (scenario) happens again we would all be very disappointed. The club have given us the extra players that we lacked last year, so the responsibility is on us as players and coaches to make the finals. Having said that every team has strengthened and we have a tougher draw than last year, but it is a good challenge and we are looking forward to it.”
First match: v Melbourne City, CB Smith Reserve, Melbourne, Sunday 6 November, 3pm
First home match: v Perth Glory, McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, Sunday 20 November, 2.30pm (Hyundai A-League double-header – Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners, 5pm)
Ins: Liz O’Reilly (Sydney University, NSW), Emma Stanbury (Sydney University, NSW), Jennifer Hoy (Chicago Red Stars, USA), Tara Pender (Western Sydney Wanderers), Liana Danaskos (Sydney University, NSW)
Outs: Georgia Yeoman-Dale (Sydney FC), Tara Andrews (year off), Kobie Ferguson (ACL injury), Adriana Jones (Adelaide United), Siahn Bozanic (released), Hannah Bromley (retired), Hannah Southwell (left football)