Thanks to a relentless run of injuries to a number of key players, the Jets had to rely on their youth to keep their finals hopes alive in their 3-1 win against Perth Glory on Saturday afternoon.

Jets coach Craig Deans had nothing but praise for his young side whose finals hopes are alive but distant.

“I thought all the young players today: Libby Copus-Brown, Clare Wheeler and especially Tess Tamplin did very well. For Tamplin’s first game at this level against the team that’s second at the moment I thought she was outstanding so I’m very happy for the young ones,” Deans said.

Newcastle managed an inspiring comeback and responded incredibly well in the second half after going into the break 1-0 down after a Sam Kerr header.

Tess Tamplin was a standout in her W-League debut and constantly found space and caused issues on Perth’s left flank.

“I thought she was outstanding. She’s come through the academy and I’ve had a few conversations with her about being patient and understanding that the level is not easy and to work hard and your time will come. Her time came today.”

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Her effort and energy was impeccable and she even threw up on the field from running so much up and down the wing. Now that’s a high work rate. Deans was justifiably impressed.

“When she came off I said ‘You understand now?’ And she said ‘Yeah I get it.’”

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Injuries to major players including Taylor Smith, Katie Stengel and Emily van Egmond forced Deans to give a number of younger players a chance to impress.

“Sometimes young players doubt themselves. I don’t doubt them against anyone. It’s just a matter of them getting some self belief and that takes winning and a bit of time.

“They’ve had a good win tonight so they should go home full of confidence and look forward to another tough game against Melbourne City.”

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This was Newcastle’s first game at No. 2 Sportsground this season, a smaller and more intimate venue that generated a fantastic atmosphere.

“I said before the game if we have a good start to the game, the crowd will get behind us and it will make a difference. That’s the reason we wanted to bring our games here because we want to create our own atmosphere and have our own identity,” Deans said.

The Jets are now five points away from a finals spot with three games remaining. It’s very difficult, but mathematically possible for the them to make the finals.

The biggest take away of this game for Deans was the positive response of his younger players and their ability to compete so well at the top level.

“It’s great for all the academy kids to see that there’s an opportunity if they have the right work ethic and enough ability. Hopefully Tess Tamplin can be a bit of an inspiration for a lot of those young girls.”

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