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ALW: Maitland showcases its passion for Jets

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A huge crowd at the Maitland Regional Sportsground put an even bigger smile on the face of Newcastle Jets boss Shane Mattiske.

Almost 7,000 people converged on the precinct at the weekend to witness the opening leg of the A-League Women’s (ALW) semi-final between the host club and Melbourne City.

And, while the result didn’t go the way of the local outfit, losing 3-0 in controversial circumstances, the CEO was delighted with the response to the important fixture.

Fans packed into the Maitland Regional Sportsground at the weekend. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

“It was an extraordinary crowd,” Mattiske said.

“Honestly, it was fantastic to see so many people from the community – Maitland and Lower Hunter – come out and support our women’s team.

“We know there was a big presence from Newcastle and Lake Macquarie, too.

“But, to set a record at that ground, I think it ended up 6,836, and overtaking the [Newcastle] Knights is a feather in our cap.

“Even better, it was our ALW side who achieved it.

“So, that terrific for our women’s team, knowing they’re not only attracting the support but breaking records as well.

“That’s clearly been a theme this season.

“It gives us great confidence around the level of support women’s football will have in 2024/25… and coming years.

“You see that at the participation level, too.

“Female involvement’s grown another 30%.

“So, the women’s game is flying and it’s great the Jets team as a whole, as well as the club, is getting that support heading into the future.”

The Maitland crowd was vocal in its support of the Newcastle Jets ALW side. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Mattiske also praised the alliance with Maitland City Council, which could result in additional matches being played in the region.

“We’re certainly open to more games in Maitland,” he said.

“We’ve got a great partnership with council and they’re providing terrific support to the club.

“Our men’s squad uses the Maitland Regional Sportsground as its permanent training base and the weekend’s semi-final was our third A-League match at Maitland.

“So, we’ve witnessed fabulous support across all three games, both regular season fixtures and now a final.

“We absolutely have confidence Maitland should be part of our structure moving forward.

“What Sunday’s encounter does show is there’s a huge football fan base in the region and that the facility is amazing.

“If we could get upgrades to the sportsground to allow men’s matches to be played there, we’d certainly entertain the idea.

“We already know we’d receive great support for the ALM at that ground as well.”

The weekend’s crowd figures smahsed the record at the Maitland Regional Sportsground. Photo: Michael Gorton Images

Mattiske said club officials were well-aware the Jets weren’t just a Newcastle organisation anymore.

“I believe we represent all of northern NSW,” he told the Newcastle Weekly.

“We’ve got great connections throughout the Hunter and having played those three games at Maitland this year, it’s demonstrated there’s a huge football base and great support for the Jets.

“We’re really pleased with that aspect.

“Now, we’re focused on doing extras in those communities, via the clinics we run and top-flight football.

“We’ve got a bank of evidence to support the fact we should be bringing the club more to the Lower Hunter, the broader region, and even up to Tamworth in New England and the North Coast.

“We play regular games at Coffs Harbour and the team’s visible in Port Macquarie and Foster.

“So, to me, we are a club that represents northern NSW.

“And, we want to make sure we continue to engage with that region, being regularly in Maitland as part of that strategy.”

Fans lined the precinct to enter the Maitland Regional Sportsground on Sunday. Photo: michael Gorton Images

A-League Women’s 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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