W-League: Newcastle Jets defender Hannah Brewer aims up for Adelaide on run home to finals | photos

NEWCASTLE Jets defender Hannah Brewer can almost taste W-League finals, but the hunger to claim three competition points against cellar-dwellers Adelaide at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday remains unwavering.  

The second-placed Novocastrians, on the verge of making play-offs for the first time since the inaugural season of 2008-2009, have dropped just four points in their last five undefeated outings. 

Three wins and two draws on the trot makes Newcastle (17) one of the league’s form sides, but with Sydney, Melbourne City (16), Perth (13) and Canberra (12) close behind Brewer doesn’t want to give anything away.     

“Even the teams just outside the top four are only one or two points away,” the 24-year-old said.

“It’s tough and we need as many points as we can get. That’s what we’re going for. We don’t want any more one pointers, we want the three.”

The Jets’ mid-season run started with a 2-1 triumph over United in Adelaide on November 25 and it followed back-to-back losses.

With only three matches left this campaign, Brewer said the visitor’s lowly position on the ladder wouldn’t be taken into consideration.

“Adelaide are strong,” she said. “I mean any team in this competition at the moment will be a tough game. 

“When we played them over there it was a tough game and we were lucky to get the win so we’re not taking anything lightly.

“We’ll be going out and giving it our all.”

Brewer said one of the main factors behind collecting 11 of 15 available points during the last six weeks was simply teamwork.  

“I think it’s just working together on and off the ball,” she said.

“You can have a team full of great players and not succeed. We have great players and we have hard working players. That’s what we’ve been doing the most, we work for each other and don’t give up.”

On a personal note Jets original Brewer, who netted her first W-League goal last month in game number 80, felt she was in career-best form since returning for a third stint at Newcastle.  

“It’s been a positive campaign for me,” the former Victory, City and Canberra player said.

“I’m loving football and enjoying being back in Newcastle. I think I’m playing some of my best football at the moment and that’s because of the team I’ve got around me.”

Jets coach Craig Deans is expected to name an unchanged squad for the round 11 encounter, but may consider starting Australian representative Gema Simon as she continues her return from a knee injury.

Simon, who trained at No.2 Sportsground on Wednesday, came off the bench last outing and scored a late equaliser in Newcastle’s 2-all draw away against Sydney on January 3.  

Brewer said it was “boost” having Simon add depth to the playing group, especially ahead of fixtures with fellow top-four aspirants – Canberra in the nation’s capital on January 28 and hosting City in a last-round clash on February 3. 

“It’s a strong point when you have depth in the side,” Brewer said.

“It’s just what we need coming into the finals.”

Adelaide are coming off a 6-1 thrashing from Canberra and United coach Ivan Karlovic knows it doesn’t get any easier tackling the Jets.

“This week will be another tough game, and Newcastle are a side that work extremely hard,” Karlovic said.

“They are a side full of great players, and if we don’t match their intensity, we won’t get a result.”

ROUND 11: Jets v Adelaide on Friday (5:20pm); Victory v City on Sunday (4:30pm); Canberra v Wanderers on Sunday (4:30pm); Perth v Sydney on Sunday (10pm).

LADDER: Brisbane 21, Newcastle 17, Sydney 16, Melbourne City 16, Perth 13, Canberra 12, Melbourne Victory 7, Western Sydney 7, Adelaide 4.