Newcastle born and bred: Simon is ready for the season ahead

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It’s been three years since Gema Simon has played for the Newcastle Jets but the 29-year-old is determined to return the club to its former glory.

Simon who started her W-League career with the Jets in their inaugural campaign in 2008/09 said she was thrilled to be back in Newcastle.

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“I don’t see myself going anywhere else anytime soon,” she said

“It feels really good, I’m looking forward to the season ahead and it feels good to be back home and playing for my hometown again.”

After a rewarding season with Korean club Suwon in the WK-League, Simon said she was prepared and determined for Newcastle to be a competitive and fierce side this upcoming season.

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I think we all know what is required and I’d like to be at our best, and with such a short pre-season, we make sure to turn up every day and make sure to put up the work, and doing the right thing on and off the field,” she said.

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The loss of golden girl Emily van Egmond, along with the departure of American foursome Arin Gilliland-Wright, Britt Eckerstrom, Katie Stengel and Taylor Smith have had the football community questioning how successful the Jets will be this season.

Despite the grumblings, Simon has no fear the girls are more than capable of bringing home a win but is tunnelling her focus to one game at a time.

“I think it’s been written about us, that we don’t have any big names in the squad and to be fair I’m pretty happy with that, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else or wouldn’t want to be playing with any other squad,” she said.

“I think the biggest thing is to be switched on the entire season, and we work as a team.”

“I think for Newcastle’s goal, it’s just taking it one step at a time and make sure we’re just really focused on each game as it comes and don’t want to look too far ahead.

“Obviously we want to make finals and just to take care of ourselves towards the end.”

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The Jets roster is filled with competitive and accomplished Australian grown talent and Simon said she was ecstatic about the decision to focus and nurture home-grown talent this season.

We have a really good group…I was having a chat with the senior group the other day and they were all passionate about working for Newcastle and playing for our hometown,” she said.

After the side did not qualify for finals last season, Simon will be a key component to driving Newcastle back to championship glory.

Feature image credit: Newcastle Jets

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Suzanna Telai
Football enthusiast and student journalist, covering Western United for the 2019/20 A-League season