Caitlin Foord was celebrated in Newcastle last year when she scored for the Matildas in a 3-2 win over football powerhouse Brazil.
And only last month Foord was welcomed to the Hunter region as a novice golfing guest at the Jack Newton Celebrity Classic.
But on Wednesday the tables will turn as the 23-year-old becomes the Jets’ No.1 target after transferring from Japan to upcoming W-League opponents Sydney FC mid-season and snatching a stoppage-time winner off the bench in her first start back last week.
Newcastle coach Craig Deans said the injection of Foord, combined with fellow attacking weapons Lisa De Vanna and Remy Siemsen, means the high-flying Jets (16 points) will have to be on their game to keep second spot on the ladder from hosts Sydney (15).
“Sydney’s obviously got some experienced players and some very dangerous players in the front third,” Deans told the Newcastle Herald on Tuesday.
“They’ve got Lisa De Vanna and Remy Siemsen plus they’ve just signed Caitlin Foord, who scored the winner for them the other day.
“She [Foord] comes back in good touch and is every chance of playing more minutes so it will be another challenge for us.
“We’ve done reasonably well with most challenges we’ve been thrown, so we’ve just got to keep working hard and win another game.”
The Jets head into the round 10 encounter in good form, having won three of their last four in the space of a month – all on the road.
The run started with a 2-1 triumph against Adelaide in late November, continued versus Brisbane (3-0) and was stunted slightly at home to Perth (3-all) before picking up all three away points once more with a 3-1 success over Victory in Melbourne on Friday.
“We’ve had a tough run and this will be our fourth away game in five games, but it’s nice that we’ve been winning them,” Deans said.
“You hear other people complaining about playing away from home and I don’t understand it because you’re still playing on the same patch of grass.
“It makes no difference, but it’s nice to be winning and we have to keep doing the little things well.
“We can’t get too carried away with the fact we’re in good form, you have to stay focused and do the small things right because if you neglect that you end up getting yourself in trouble.”
Deans said he expected to field an unchanged line-up but hinted at giving Matildas defender Gema Simon, who is returning from a knee injury, more time off bench.
“The whole squad is fit and able to be selected,” Deans said.
“When you’re winning some games there’s not really a need to change anything.
“Gema Simon has come back into the squad, so we’ll try and give her a few more minutes somehow if we can.
“She got through 15 or so minutes [last game] and she did a little bit extra at training yesterday [Monday]. She’s fine and keen to play.”
Newcastle beat Sydney 2-0 on November 4.
Kick-off at Allianz Stadium is 5:20pm.