Wheeler: Local flavour and winning attitude to help Jets soar in 2019/20
Born and bred in the Hunter region, Clare Wheeler is eager to prove that the Westfield W-league can be won by a Newcastle team full of young, home-grown talent.
“I think people look at our team sheet and think we’re young and we don’t have any internationals,” Wheeler told w-league.com.au.
“I think money can buy you players but it can’t buy you attitude.”
Wheeler credits her work ethic and winning attitude to her upbringing in the region and it is something she feels is shared by the rest of her team, many of whom are also locals.
“I’m most looking forward to playing with a bunch of girls this year who want to go out there and prove the people wrong and get to the teams at the top,” she said.
“I mean, the attitude there is to keep doing better, to keep working hard and really embody that hard-working ethic in the Hunter.”
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Wheeler took this work ethic slightly south for the Westfield W-league off season with a blockbuster year at Sydney Uni in the NPL NSW league.
“This year we took the trifecta. We won Minor Premiership, Championship and Club Championship,” she revealed.
She was also successful in bringing some of this talent back up to Newcastle and is looking forward to building on these proven combinations.
“It definitely gives you confidence, and being around the girls like Nicki Flannery and Annabel [Martin], for them coming from Sydney Uni to the Jets as well carries that chemistry, you don’t start from scratch,” she admits.
Wheeler’s passion for the blue and red has seen the two time Cheryl Salisbury medallist rewarded with a leadership role alongside Gema Simon and Cassidy Davis.
“To put on the W-League jersey means a lot to me, it’s something I’ve wanted for a long time since I was young,” she said.
“I think we’re one of the most supported W-League teams, we definitely get 1,000 or more people to our games every week which is humbling and I can’t wait.”
The Jets will be relying on this support to give them an added boost in their opening match against Melbourne City- and former captain Emily van Egmond.
“I think it will be really great to verse them, a few of them have games against Chile the day before so maybe it’s a good time to verse them,” Wheeler says.
“Emily is huge, she’s a local girl and can really pull strings in the midfield, and being a midfielder myself I’ll definitely miss her.”
“She’s also very physical on the ball, but like I said you’ve got to make decisions for yourself and City is the best for her and I wish her the best of luck.”
The Jets and City open their season at Newcastle’s No.2 Sportsground on Sunday, November 17, with kick-off at the 17th of November at 6pm AEDT.
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