AFTER a goalless season at home, US striker Katie Stengel is enjoying her time in Newcastle on and off the pitch.
With four goals in five games, the 25-year-old is equal third on the W-League goal-scoring list and already closing in on her tally of six for Western Sydney Wanderers last season. In between in a goalless NWSL season, Stengel had five games for Washington Spirit then was traded to Boston Breakers where she played 12 times.
Stengel was recruited by Newcastle to give them a presence and target up front and she has thrived.
“It’s been a great time,” Stengel said. “[Scoring goals] is my job so hopefully I can keep it up, but as long as the team wins, me being on the scoresheet is an added bonus.”
And off the field, Stengel is enjoying her second stint in Australia even more.
“It’s been great. I mean, it’s hard to compete with the gorgeous nature of Penrith, but Newcastle’s done really well,” she laughed. “The beach is about 10 minutes away compared to two hours, and everything else is so convenient. Everything is like a 10 minute drive.”
Following the bye, Stengel and the fourth-placed Jets will return to action away against Brisbane on Sunday. Roar will take the outright competition lead at the halfway mark with a result.
“We caught a couple of their games on TV and watched highlights,” she said. “They are a great team and will definitely be a test for us.”
Stengel, though, believed the Jets could match it with the league’s best.
“That’s our goal, we want to be top of the table, we want to make play-offs and win,” she said. “I think we’re just as good if not better than anyone else we’ve come up against. As long as we focus and play well, we can definitely compete.”
Newcastle are chasing a first finals appearance since the inaugural season of 2008-09 and Stengel said confidence was building at the Craig Deans-coached Jets after three wins from five games.
“At training, when we see how well we can play, when we actually put that together on the weekends, it’s fun to watch,” she said. “And of course wins help build confidence as well, but I think the whole team is buying into what Deansy has set up here and I think everyone’s been playing well, so it’s going to be exciting.
“I think a lot us get along so well off the field and you can see that on the field when we start to combine and work better, so I think it’s only going to get better from here.”