Write off the Newcastle Jets at your peril.
That’s the warning from A-League Women’s (ALW) coach Gary van Egmond as his side faces its opening round match against the Central Coast Mariners this weekend.
Both teams will run onto Industree Group Stadium on Saturday 14 October with a goal to not only win the showdown but place a hand on the inaugural ALW F3 Derby trophy, unveiled during the week.
Despite fielding a new-look outfit in 2023/24, van Egmond holds high hopes for the girls.
“We’ve really looked far and wide for our squad, both overseas and within Australia,” he said.
“I believe we’ve recruited extremely well, in particular to what Newcastle expects.
“That’s the first part.
“You must realise the local fans expect you to play a certain way.
“And, that’s to have a real go.
“These girls have shown in the past four or five weeks that they’re definitely the type of players who are going to have a go.
“I feel we might be flying a little bit under the radar… and I think we might surprise a few people.”
Experienced Novocastrian Cass Davis was announced as the Jets’ ALW skipper at the club’s season launch at Modus Merewether on Wednesday night (11 October), attended by supporters and sponsors, while Brandon O’Neill will lead the men into battle in less than a fortnight’s time.
“She’ll do a great job,” van Egmond told the Newcastle Weekly.
“But, Cass won’t be alone, we’ve named a leadership group, too.
“It wasn’t something the coaching staff selected, the players did that.
“So, it was pretty unanimous Cass would be captain, with Alex Huynh and Gema Simon supporting her.”
Their first task, as a collective, is to see-off the Mariners while developing the hometown talent.
“It’s great the Central Coast has now invested in the women’s space,” van Egmond said.
“Overall, it’s fantastic to see more teams coming into the ALW but, again, from our perspective, we’re in a position where we’ve got more or less a two-pronged attack.
“We have our Academy as well as our W-League.
“We’ve got a number of these youngsters coming through and, as you can see, young Emma Dundas was just recently with the Australian under-17 national team.
“On top of that, we have five girls from our Academy, who’ve been successful in making the Australian Schoolgirls as well.
“So, they are the future of the club.
“However, again, we’ve got a mix of players who are here that have also got ambition and want to look to try and make the next step.
“It’s all part of the journey.”
A-Leagues Commissioner Nick Garcia admitted he couldn’t be more excited about this season.
“Everyone’s keen, with more teams, more players and more action from some of Australia and New Zealand’s best talent,” he said.
“We are immensely proud that so many Socceroos and Matildas were developed in the A-Leagues.
“And, we’ve already seen there’s a fresh wave of talent aiming to follow in those footsteps through starring in stadiums up and down the country over the coming weeks and months.
“After the excitement of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, more than 22,000 children and teenagers have signed up for our Liberty A-League pass, eight clubs have broken their women’s membership records and we’re expecting brilliant crowds across both A-Leagues.
“We’re focused on bringing fans closer to the game and creating the best possible fan experiences, too.
“We are also welcoming a number of new partners as domestic and international interest in the A-Leagues continues to develop.”
Newcastle Jets v Central Coast Mariners
- Newcastle Jets (squad): 1. Izzy Nino, 2. Josie Wilson, 3. Claudia Cicco, 4. Natasha Prior, 6. Cass Davis, 7. Gema Simon, 8. Rebecca Burrows, 10. Libby Copus-Brown, 13. Lauren Allan, 14. Melina Ayres, 15. Alex Huynh, 18. Sophie Hoban, 21. Kiara Rochaix, 22. Lorena Baumann, 23. Zoe Karapidis, 24. Milan Hammond, 25. Lara Gooch, 26. Josie Allan, 28. Emma Dundas
- Central Coast Mariners (squad): 1. Sarah Langman, 2. Faye Bryson, 3. Ash Irwin, 4. Paige Hayward, 5. Annabel Martin, 6. Isabel Gomez, 8. Bianca Galic, 9. Wurigumula, 10. Rola Badawiya, 11. Annalise Rasmussen, 12. Jazmin Wardlow, 13. Alexia Karrys-Stahl, 14. Sophie Nenadovic, 17. Kyah Simon, 18. Taren King, 19. Tiarna Karambasis, 20. Chloe Carmichael, 22. Peta Trimis, 24. Shay Evans, 27. Maya Lobo
Liberty A-League Women season 2023-24
Round one fixtures:
- Saturday 14 October: 5pm, Central Coast Mariners v Newcastle Jets (Industree Group Stadium)
- Saturday 14 October: 7.45pm, Sydney FC v Western Sydney Wanderers FC (Allianz Stadium)
- Saturday 14 October: 10pm, Perth Glory v Western United (Macedonia Park)
- Sunday 15 October: 1pm, Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne City (Sky Stadium)
- Sunday 15 October: 3pm, Adelaide United v Canberra United (Coopers Stadium)
- Sunday 15 October: 4pm, Melbourne Victory v Brisbane Roar (The Home of the Matildas)
For more sports stories:
- ALW: F3 rivals Jets and Mariners ‘guarded’ about new derby trophy
- ALW: Jets captain Davis itching to get on the park
- Newcastle Weekly kicking goals with Jets’ partnership
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