Having qualified for the finals for the first time in nine years last season, the Jets will look to maintain their upward trajectory in the W-League for the 2018/19 season.

After the success of 2017/18, the Jets have retain their most important players as well as add further depth and quality to their squad. This season they will look to build on prior achievements and solidify themselves as a consistent threat in the W-League with grand final ambitions.

Last season:

W-League: 3rd
Finals: 3-2 loss to Sydney FC in the semi-final

In their last campaign, the Jets’ quality and tempo saw the side land a spot in the finals series for the first time in almost a decade. Katie Stengel stood out up front for the Jets scoring 10 goals in 13 appearances, only three goals behind the league’s leading scorer Sam Kerr for Perth. Head coach Craig Deans had his team playing free flowing attacking football but will look to iron out defensive inconsistency as the Jets would occasionally lose concentration and ship too many goals.

They’ll win the league because…

The squad has had enough time to gel into a more consistent and mature force in the league. Last season was an unexpected and explosive rise and this season we will see a more focused and surgical approach to the campaign. Defensive solidarity and consistency will be key for this. New signing Taylor Smith – who joins from Washington Spirit – will offer technical ability and experience at the back. Newcastle have also done well to retain their best players in the off-season: Katie Stengel will score while and Matildas Emily van Egmond and Gema Simon will offer leadership and energy in midfield.

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They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

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Opposition teams will approach games against Newcastle with more respect and caution. Last season the Jets were a surprise package and this year teams will be more prepared to handle the Novocastrians. Many other teams have strengthened their squads and it’s a big task for the Jets to follow up the successes of last season.

Talk around the water cooler… look smart in front of your colleagues with this valuable piece of information

The entire Jets squad boats a total of 113 Matildas’ appearances, 78 of which come from Emily van Egmond. US international Taylor Smith chips in with 10 appearances for her home country. There’s plenty of international experience to go around which can only be a good thing!

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The off season brought…

Time for Gema Simon and Tara Andrews to have a complete pre-season. These two didn’t feature much at all last season but will be rejuvenated and ready to go. Coach Craig Deans in the Newcastle Herald mentioned the duo to be ‘two new players’.

Key player

It’s an obvious choice but Emily van Egmond will be instrumental in the success of the Jets this season. She played in the 2008/09 season and qualified for the finals series when she was only 15! When I was 15, I was getting outclassed by the year 7 kids at the 25 a side game on the lunch oval. She has so much experience under her belt and as the captain will look to lead the Jets and build on the success of last season.

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One to watch

Katie Stengel. She’s one of those players who seems to have a knack for goal scoring and will definitely be one to keep an eye on this season.

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Full squad list

Goalkeepers: 20. Claire Coelho, 28. Britt Eckerstrom

Defenders: 2. Hannah Brewer, 8. Sophie Nenadovic, 14. Taylor Smith, 18. Clare Wheeler, 22. Larissa Crummer, 31. Paige Kingston-Hogg, 32. Tessa Tamplin

Midfielders: 6. Cassidy Davis, 7. Gema Simon, 10. Emily van Egmond (C), 21. Pana Petratos

Forwards: 9. Katie Stengel, 11. Cortnee Vine, 12. Tara Andrews, 15. Renee Poutney, 17. Jenna Kingsley

Ins and Outs

Ins: Taylor Smith (Washington Spirit), Larissa Crummer (Seattle Reign FC), Paige Kingston-Hogg (WPL South Wallsend), Tessa Tamplin (Emerging Jets U19’s), Renee Pountney (Emerging Jets U19’s)

Outs: Tash Prior (Canberra United), Arin Gilliand (Chicago Red Stars), Tori Huster (Washington Spirit), Nikola Orgill (Canberra United).

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Intern at The Football Sack covering The Newcastle Jets A-League and W-League home matches!