The Newcastle Jets have been unable to get off a W-League roller-coaster of ups and downs. Last season the Jets were seemingly revamped with some heavy pre-season recruitment securing Matildas’ greats Melissa Barbieri and Lisa De Vanna and two-time FIFA World Cup winner Ariane Hingst.
Despite the star-studded line up the Jets were unable to secure a finals berth after some patchy performances let them down at the business end.
Unable to find the winning formula with big names the Jets have returned to their roots bringing back former coach Wayne O’Sullivan and former captain Hayley Crawford.
“The squad we have selected is a balance of experience and youth which will enable us to play a high tempo technical style of football.”
“We recruited quality players that will continue to help us develop and also allow us to be competitive.” said O’Sullivan.
The 2012/13 Jets squad features Newcastle locals who play regularly in the Northern NSW Football Women’s Premier League. Featured players include goal-scoring defender and long-serving Jet Gema Simon, Stacey Day, and Kimberley Witt (who secured a WPL Championship with Adamstown Rosebud).
Gemma Pearce, Bronte Bates, Madeline Searl, Hannah Brewer, Crawford, Kate Hensmen and Tara Andrews (who took the WPL Premiership with Lake Macquarie FC) have also joined the Jets and they will be hoping to follow their strong WPL season with a W-League finals appearance.
The Newcastle Jets also boast an elite US trio who have come through the competitive US collegiate system. Experienced midfielders Angela Salem and Tori Huster secured the WPSL Elite 2012 championship with the Western New York Flash after a strong season with Jets’ and Matildas’ regular Emily Van Egmond. While veteran Tiffany Boshers has been included to add some steel, and hopefully goals, to the young forward line.
The big question for the Newcastle Jets this season is whether a squad of players with less top-level experience can conquer Matildas-laced squads such as Brisbane, Canberra and Sydney?
Newcastle Jets have had trouble finding their feet in the W League but there are few teams that match the tenacity and spirit of the Jets. They are a team who can never be discounted. The Jets also boast strong home ground support with many loyal followers who regularly make the commute down the freeway to attend Sydney and Canberra based games.
The new-look Jets may not have a high profile squad, but they do have a squad of players who compete regularly together in the Hunter Women’s Premier League. Unlike many W-League squads that are established in the months prior to kick-off, many of these players have been working together on the pitch, day in and day out, for a full football season. The challenge will be for the Jets to take advantage of this huge potential and overwhelm the W-League giants on the park.