New club, new challengers |  (Credit: Getty Images) New club, new challengers | (Credit: Getty Images)

In front of a Newcastle Jets' Westfield W-League record crowd last weekend, the Hunter club kicked off their 2011/12 campaign in style with an impressive 3 – 0 win over Adelaide United.  Amongst the goals was rejuvenated striker Lisa De Vanna who scored a brace.

"It's a good start to the season," she said.  "Obviously scoring goals is really good for a striker.  It's all going to plan and adjusting with the team has been really good."

The Jets are De Vanna's third club in the W-League, a move that almost didn't happen.  Mentally fatigued and battling niggling injuries after the World Cup, the striker briefly flirted with the idea of not playing in the W-League this season.  However after discussions with Newcastle Jets advisor and her former Australian captain Cheryl Salisbury, De Vanna found herself heading to the Hunter region.

"Talking to Chez [Cheryl Salisbury] on Facebook, she was like "Come to Newcastle, I promise we will look after you'."

"There is no other person in women's football I respect more so I sort of thought about it, and after Olympic Qualifiers, I thought 'Alright I am going to go play W-League."

Despite the persuasive skills of Salisbury, De Vanna had a number of apprehensions about coming into a young side.  That's not surprising after playing in a Brisbane squad last season that had the likes of Tameka Butt, Lauren Colthorpe and Joanne Burgess.

However those fears were quickly allayed with the Jets recruiting her Matildas' teammates Melissa Barbieri and Emily Van Egmond as well as Ariane Hingst.  Along with that experience, a host Young Matildas also came into the squad.

"It was really hard on the weekend as I only know a couple of the girls' names," De Vanna laughed.

"It was funny as I was thinking 'She plays really well' and then I had to ask one of the other girls I knew 'What's her name?' so it's been a bit challenging that way."

De Vanna has spent last couple of seasons juggling her time in Australia and national team commitments with club football in the American Women's Professional Soccer.  Currently she is without a club as last week the WPS axed magicJack from the competition following an acrimonious relationship with the owner Dan Borislow.

"I am really close to the owner and I see myself a lot like him.  He wanted to do good things but might have done them in the wrong way," she said.

"He has some great ideas on how to do things but obviously rules are rules and that's what sort of got him into trouble."

"Now that the door is open, I don’t know yet.  A new beginning is always good and I am up for the challenge.  But it's tough."

De Vanna has had tough times before in what has been an at times colourful career.  Now with more than 70 caps to her name, the 26 year old is looking to become a leader at national and club level.

"Obviously I don't have a good reputation but give me credit at least I am not boring!" she joked.

"I try to do the best that I can but somehow I am always finding myself in a bit of trouble. I am trying to fix that and I want to be more of a senior player and more involved in things."

She has praised new Jets' coach Clayton Zane for setting the standard at the club and bring an intensity and professionalism to the club.

"He has been really good and said that he is the coach and he makes the rules.  Whatever goes it's because of him and I really like that."

"It’s great to have Clayton who is strict and has high demands of the players.  While Joey [Joanne Peters] is sort of calm and explains things to the girls so it’s a good mixture."

Newcastle have been touted as title contenders but this weekend they have an opportunity to gauge just how close they are to the top when they take on defending champions Brisbane Roar.  It was De Vanna's second half goal in the Grand Final that sealed that title for Brisbane but come Saturday, she will be going all out to take down her former club.

"I have a lot of respect for the Brisbane Roar girls and I have a lot of respect for Jeff," stated De Vanna.

"I just want to go out and win but there is nothing vengeful in any way.  I will be just out there to win for my team."

Brisbane Roar v Newcastle Jets

Saturday 5 November 2011

Cleveland Showgrounds, Brisbane

Local kick-off: 4pm