W-League teams face subpar pitch shuffle

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Newcastle Jets in the 2016/17 season are providing their W-League team with the facilities and atmosphere deserved by a professional football team.

The Jets, however, are the only team to do so with other W-League teams shuffled from venue to venue and facing inadequate facilities for professional players, particularly compared to that of their male counterparts.

Newcastle will play five out of their six home matches at McDonald Jones Stadium prior to A-League clashes this season adding to the cohesive nature between the teams.

Their final home match of the season will be a double header at Coffs Harbour International Stadium where both the W-League and A-League Jets will face Melbourne City.

Jets midfielder, Cassidy Davis explained the importance of playing on a high quality pitch each week. “If you play on a quality pitch you can and you will perform better! It shows your true ability as a player and it helps with every aspect of the game.”

Sydney FC proved the worst offenders set to more their star-studded team around four different home venues this season with half of those matches at Lambert Park, a synthetic National Premier League (NPL) venue and Sydney FC Youth home ground.

Sydney are followed by Brisbane Roar, Melbourne Victory, Canberra United and Western Sydney with three different home grounds this W-League season. The Roar faces the majority of their opponents at a local NPL home ground, while the Wanderers follow suit playing half of their games at an NPL Division 2 ground, home to the Mt Druitt Town Rangers, that is set to undergo a much needed facelift later this year.

Injury is always a concern for professional footballers as surface quality can increase the risk of injury for players. For W-League players there is an increased risk with most matches being played on pitches with subpar groundkeeper facilities that leave fields dry, dusty and scattered with potholes.

Although Adelaide United, Melbourne City and Perth Glory will suffer just two home venue shuffles this season, all of those teams also play the majority of their home games on local Premier League pitches with these issues.

The issue of inadequate pitches and facilities ties in with the gender pay gap that is still plaguing Football Federation Australia and further adds to the inequality experienced by professional female footballers in Australian.

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Isobel Cootes
Isobel Cootes
A player turned Journalist that's still holding onto the dream by writing about the Newcastle Jets this season!

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