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ALW: Bolden’s ‘golden’ season rewarded at Jets

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The region’s idyllic lifestyle paid big dividends for the Newcastle Jets A-League Women’s (ALW) squad… and import Sarina Bolden.

The star striker, in her maiden season with the Hunter-based club, proved to be a massive addition to the side, which powered into the play-offs and fell one match short of a grand final berth.

For her part, Bolden slotted 12 goals into the back of the net, including a hat-trick, and walked away with a swag of awards at the presentation ceremony at Modus Brewery on Tuesday 30 April.

She pipped skipper Cassidy Davis and defender Natasha Prior to collect the Jets’ ALW Player of the Year.

Then, to cap off a brilliant six months, the Philippines international also took out the Golden Boot, Members Player of the Year and prestigious Cheryl Salisbury award.

Newcastle Jets striker Sarina Bolden took home the club’s Golden Boot award. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“I love Newcastle,” she said.

“Right from the beginning, like when I played my first match, the week I arrived, it’s just felt right.

“The beautiful weather, the beautiful community, my beautiful teammates and my beautiful partner (Katie Middleton)… everything fell into place.

“Oh, I’m also a big foodie, who loves her coffee, so it all made sense,” she added with a laugh.

“I simply love it here.

“And, I think that reflected in my football.”

While Bolden enjoyed a standout campaign for the Jets, she was humbled to receive so much praise.

“Honestly, this is my first awards night,” she told the Newcastle Weekly.

“I wasn’t able to attend the Wanderers function when I was there.

“So, to do it in this fashion is really exciting, a little nerve-wracking.

“But, it’s also thrilling to share it with the team.

“The girls are amazing… and this is a great feeling.

“I’m honoured to win all four awards, I love them equally.

“It’s really special to be acknowledged in this way.

“However, I’m a huge believer in celebrating the big and small moments and especially with this team, with what we’ve achieved.

“I just couldn’t have done it alone.

“Everyone chipped in, from the players to the staff, the kit woman to our masseuse.

“It was a great season.

Newcastle Jets star Sarina Bolden scooped the pool at the club’s awards night. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“Winning the Members Player of the Year is pretty special, too.

“To get that from the fans, who have been coming here for years – long before I was even in the league – really means a lot to me.

“They’re a big reason why we even play, the members and supporters.

“The Newcastle fan base is unmatched in the world.

“It’s a community where I’ll go grocery shopping and I’ll get stopped at Woollies or Coles and people will say ‘oh, that was a great game’.

“I don’t really think that happens in many other places.

“So, it’s really special here.”

Bolden admitted she would now use the time to reflect on 2023/24 and what the side accomplished.

“I’ve heard the word ‘historic’ a fair bit lately,” she said.

“You kind of don’t feel it until later and go ‘wow, we did that’.

“We attracted record numbers in Maitland, we beat Adelaide 8-0 – the biggest scoreline in the ALW – and we reached the semis.

“So, I think as you keep doing it, it kind of feels a little bit normal.

“But, it’s funny… one time we were reflecting when we won our third or fourth straight game and Lauren Allan was like ‘I don’t know how to deal with this winning feeling’.

“I replied: ‘Well, get used to it’.

Newcastle Jets striker Sarina Bolden takes on a Sydney FC defender during the season. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“I honestly believe we’re very capable of being that winning team.

“At the end of the day, it’s a process.

“In the history of the Jets, I don’t think we’ve ever beaten Melbourne City, the closest was a draw.

“So, it takes time, however we can do it and take down the likes of Sydney FC, Central Coast Mariners and City on a regular basis.

“I wish we could’ve down that with Melbourne at the weekend.

“There’s always next season.

“In the meantime, I want to keep playing exciting football… I think the world is my oyster right now.”

Gun teenager Emma Dundas picked up the ALW Young Player of the Year while Clare Adams was named the Emerging Jet.

The club also celebrated the illustrious careers of retiring duo and former Australian reps Gema Simon and Alex Huynh.

2023/24 award winners

  • A-League Women’s Golden Boot: Sarina Bolden
  • A-League Women’s Player of the Year: Sarina Bolden
  • A-League Women’s Young Player of the Year: Emma Dundas
  • A-League Women’s Members Player of the Year: Sarina Bolden
  • Emerging Jet – male: Xavier Bertoncello
  • Emerging Jet – female: Claire Adams
  • A-League Men’s Golden Boot: Apostolos Stamatelopoulos
  • A-League Men’s Player of the Year: Apostolos Stamatelopoulos
  • A-League Men’s Young Player of the Year: Clayton Taylor
  • A-League Men’s Members Player of the Year: Ryan Scott
  • Craig Johnston Award: Apostolos Stamatelopoulos
  • Cheryl Salisbury Award: Sarina Bolden

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