Jets seek to fly high with local brigade

Few regions in the country can boast such prolific output per capita as Newcastle.

Aussie football missionary Johnny Warren often referred to Newcastle as the ‘cradle of Australian football-. With a history dating back to the 1880s and the region producing a host storied Socceroo greats, it has long been fertile football territory.

The same is true in the women-s game, and few regions in the country can boast such prolific output per capita. Most notable is Matildas- royalty Cheryl Salisbury, while Joanne Peters and Kate Gill spent much of their football life in Newcastle. More recently, Matildas- midfield prodigy Emily Van Egmond is the latest star to hail from the region.

There may be a dearth of headline names in the current Jets squad but new coach Peter McGuiness is hoping their next wave of young Novocastrian talent will blossom during the 2013/14 season.

Competing week-in, week-out over the course of the season with the star-studded rosters of Brisbane, Canberra, the two Sydney teams and the like will be a tall order.

However, few if any clubs in the league will boast such strong local flavour as the Jets.

Indeed, the majority of the 18 players selected have previously played for the Newcastle Jets, Northern NSW Football, or are currently part of the Emerging Jets program, meaning a clear pathway is mapped for local aspiring footballers.

Indeed only a trio of arrivals from Brisbane Roar - Hannah Beard, Lauren Brown and Ashley Spina - mark an outside influence within the squad.

On the debit side, however, is a host of experienced players out the exit door. The Jets have bid farewell to retired skipper Hayley Crawford, Van Egmond plus American trio Angela Salem, Tori Huster and Tiffany Boshers.

The only Newcastle player to have participated in every season of the Westfield W-League with the Jets, Gema Simon, has been announced as captain, while Hannah Brewer will be her deputy.

The majority of the squad is under 20 with the oldest being 25, and the youngest just 15.

Simon, cousin of Matildas star Kyah, is anxiously awaiting the looming challenge.

‘‘It-s pretty exciting,-- she said. ‘‘We-ve had some pretty big-name players as captain (previously), so it-s a privilege to be named as Newcastle Jets captain.

‘‘Hopefully I can lead by example and set good standards for the girls, on and off the field, and they follow that.--

Simon believes that while the Jets may lack experience and raw quality, they will, in Newcastle-s finest traditions, not be out-gunned when it comes to commitment.

‘‘It will be a very tough season,-- Simon said. ‘‘We are classifying it as a development-type season, but at the end of the day we want to be competitive and we want to win.

“I think a lot of that will come down to just playing for each other.--

The Jets will have the honour of opening the Westfield W-League season when they host Perth Glory next Saturday at Wanderers Oval.

Ins: Hannah Beard (Brisbane Roar) Lauren Brown (Brisbane Roar) Ashley Spina (Brisbane Roar) Siahn Bozanic (Newcastle Jets train-on/Northbridge United) Libby Copus-Brown (Emerging Jets) Adriana Jones (Emerging Jets) Sophie Nenadovic (Emerging Jets) Cassidy Davis (Lake Macquarie) Ainsley Buchanan (Merewether United)

Outs: Hayley Crawford (retired) Emily van Egmond (Western Sydney Wanderers) Angela Salem (Western New York Flash, USA)) Tori Huster (Western Sydney Wanderers) Tiffany Boshers (USA) Sammara Schmitzer (Football Mid North Coast) Gemma Pearce (Lake Macquarie) Alisha Foote (Redlands United, Brisbane)