O'Sullivan backs W-League youth to turn tide

YOUTH and inexperience were major factors behind Newcastle's winless campaign in season two of the W-League.

But coach Wayne O'Sullivan says those weaknesses will also be the wooden spooners' strengths in mounting a recovery in 2010.

But he has warned there will be casualties.

"Being young is a quality when bouncing back, and when you're young you have the confidence to try things," O'Sullivan said.

"Being old you can be a bit more cynical.

"Not everyone will survive, that's a fact of professional football and that's a fact of any program that wants to be successful.

"With this group of young people there's clearly a group who want to win."

The 2009 Jets squad had an average age of 20 and was hit by the retirements of Matildas legends Cheryl Salisbury and Joey Peters and the loss of Australian striker Kate Gill to Perth.

The responsibility of leading a roster of untested teenagers rested on the shoulders of Matildas midfielder Amber Neilson and skipper Hayley Crawford.

Despite playing attractive football in patches, the Jets finished the season with two draws, both against the second-last Adelaide United, and eight losses.

The final defeat was a 6-0 thumping at Wanderers Oval last Saturday against defending champions Brisbane.

O'Sullivan is selecting 10 to 15 players from his W-League squad for his 22-person Newcastle section of the NSW Institute of Sport program. The squad will train full-time through 2010.

O'Sullivan also plans to add foreign or interstate recruits for the W-League season to try and return the Jets to the success of season one, when they finished second.

"We're looking to bring a few people in, that's no secret," he said. "That will be for NSWIS and for when the W-League comes around.

"I think the league has evolved from where it was in the first year, and the reason for that has been the involvement of so some quality overseas players."

Gema Simon was crowned player of the year at the Jets presentation last night.

Seventeen-year-old Bronte Bates was young player of the year and Neilson players' player.