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ALW: Jets duo Dundas, Bray eye off higher honours

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Newcastle’s reputation as a burgeoning football nursery has gained impetus with the selection of Emma Dundas and Caoimhe Bray in the Junior Matildas squad.

The pair will represent the “green and gold” at the upcoming Under-17 Women’s Asian Cup in Indonesia.

Australia, drawn in Group B, tackles China PR (Tuesday 7 May), defending champions Japan (Friday 10 May) and Thailand (Monday 13 May) at the Bali United Training Center, with the play-offs to follow.

Upper Hunter product Caoimhe Bray.

Teenager Dundas is currently a member of the high-flying Jets’ A-League Women’s (ALW) side while Upper Hunter product Bray sits on the peripheral as an Emerging Jet.

“Emma’s probably been the biggest surprise for us this year, she’s only 16,” Newcastle head coach Ryan Campbell said.

“Obviously, Gary (van Egmond) and I gave her a scholarship and she worked very hard to get that.

“However, we didn’t really see her as a starter inside the team yet.

“We thought we’d use this season for Emma to gain some experience, be involved with the squad and maybe travel now and then… build her into the next couple of years.

“But, she’s exceeded our expectations and earned a role as a key player, much to her credit.

“Caoimhe’s a naturally-gifted athlete, who also works hard.

“She’ll gain a lot from playing in the Asian Cup and I have no doubt we’ll see more of her in the very near future.

“Both girls deserve this opportunity.”

The AFC under-17 squad features Dundas, Bray, Layla Adams (Gold Coast United/Football Queensland), Danella Butrus (FV Emerging/Football Victoria), Ruby Cuthbert (Brisbane Roar/Football West), Sienna Dale (Manly FC/Football New South Wales), Sian Dewey (Adelaide United FC/Football South Australia), Indiana Dos Santos (Sydney FC/Football New South Wales), Mikayla Duong (FNSW Institute/Football New South Wales), Alice Francou (FV Emerging/Football Victoria), Tiana Fuller (FNSW Institute/Football New South Wales), Ehva Gutszmit (FV Emerging/Football Victoria), Isabela Hoyos (FQ-QAS/Football Queensland), Alvina Khoshaba (FNSW Institute/Football New South Wales), Christina Kiceec (FNSW Institute/Football New South Wales), Shelby McMahon (Melbourne City FC/Football Queensland), Kiera Meyers (Melbourne City FC/Football Victoria), Chloe Parker (FQ-QAS/Football Queensland), Lily Punch (FQ-QAS/Football Queensland), Jessica Skinner (Perth Glory FC/Football West), Amelia Tartaglia (FV Emerging/Football Victoria), Annabelle Yates (Melbourne Victory FC/Football Victoria) and Talia Younis (Western Sydney Wanderers FC/Football New South Wales).

The top two teams from each group will advance to Asian Cup knockout phase, with the top three nations from qualifying for October’s FIFA Under-17 World Cup in the Dominican Republic as AFC’s representatives.

“We’re excited about the composition of the final squad,” mentor Rae Dower said.

“We have got more depth than ever across this cohort.

“It’s a squad that is adaptable and flexible, can play a variety of different systems with some strong, robust defenders and real ‘X-factor’ players; creative and dangerous in that middle and final third.

“We’ve got a great mix, who’ve contributed to our Asian Cup qualification, as well as five debutants that have been working very hard in their respective Member Federation programs to gain selection.”

Dundas’ immediate focus, however, is this weekend’s ALW semi-final.

The Jets face Melbourne City at the Maitland Regional Sportsground on Sunday 21 April, with a crowd of 5,000 anticipated.

It’s the first match of a two-leg series, with the second fixture at AAMI Park.

Gates are expected to open at 2pm, with kick-off at 3pm.

To purchase tickets, go to https://www.ticketmaster.com.au/aleague-women-newcastle-jets-v-melbourne-maitland-21-04-2024/event/13006089AEC2288D

Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City

Sunday 21 April – Maitland Regional Sportsground

  • Newcastle Jets squad: 1. Isabel Nino, 2. Josie Wilson, 4. Natasha Prior, 6. Cassidy Davis (c), 9. MelindaJ Barbieri, 10. Libby Copus-Brown, 11. Sarina Bolden, 13. Lauren Allan, 14. Melina Ayres, 15. Alex Huynh, 18. Sophie Hoban, 22. Lorena Baumann, 23. Zoe Karipidis, 24. Milan Hammond, 25. Lara Gooch, 26. Josie Allan, 28. Emma Dundas, 30. Tiahna Robertson, 31. Lily-Rose Dunbar
  • Ins: 1. Isabel Nino
  • Outs: Nil
  • Unavailable: 3. Claudia Cicco (injured), 7. Gema Simon (injured)
  • Melbourne City squad: 2. Leia Varley, 3. Naomi Chinnama, 5. Taylor Otto, 6. Leticia Mckenna, 7. Julia Grosso, 10. Rhianna Pollicina, 11. Emina Ekic, 12. Shelby McMahon, 13. Rebekah Stott (c), 14. Laura Hughes, 15. Kiera Meyers, 16. Karly Roestbakken, 17. Hannah Wilkinson, 18. Leah Davidson, 19. Tijan McKenna, 20. Caitlin Karic, 22. Bryleeh Henry, 23. Melissa Barbieri, 24. Daniela Galic, 88. Bárbara
  • Ins: 2. Leia Varley, 15. Kiera Meyers, 19. Tijan McKenna, 20. Caitlin Karic (all promoted)
  • Outs: Nil
  • Unavailable: 1. Sophia Varley (ankle), 9. Holly McNamara (ACL)

A-League Women’s (ALW) play-off draw

Semi-finals – Leg one

  • Sunday 21 April: 3pm, Newcastle Jets v Melbourne City at Maitland Regional Sportsground
  • Sunday 21 April: 5.45pm, Central Coast Mariners v Sydney FC at Industree Group Stadium

Semi-finals – Leg two

  • Saturday 27 April: 3pm, Sydney FC v Central Coast Mariners at Leichhardt Oval
  • Sunday 28 April: 1pm, Melbourne City v Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park

Grand final

  • Saturday 4 May: SF winner v SF winner

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