Coach Craig Deans hopes what was the most unbelievable effort he has seen becomes a watershed for women’s football in the Hunter.
Newcastle returned to the W-League finals after a nine-year absence on Saturday and lost 3-2 in extra-time after playing a woman down for 75 minutes following the send-off of Hannah Brewer at 2-0 to Sydney.
“Unbelievable. It was amazing,” Deans said of the fightback from his side.
“I haven’t seen a team put in a performance like that – 10 players, two goals down, in a semi-final. I’ve never seen that in 20 years of coaching and playing. Everyone that was there live that I’ve spoken to have said that it was just amazing.
“If anyone doubts how hard players work, and there are still people who question women’s football and it’s credibility, then go and watch that game and you’ll know what it’s all about.”
Deans hoped it would inspire present and future players to become Jets.
“If you’re a Jets academy player and you watched that game, you now know what the standard is and how hard you have to work to get there,” he said on Sunday. “That’s one of the biggest things. Any girls who watched that game would be so impressed and proud of what the players did, but it also showed what’s available for them.
“I want to create a team that every girl is desperate to get into. For so many reasons and on so many levels, what the girls did yesterday was so important.
“We’ve been in the position we’ve been in for nine years as a club for a reason and probably because we’ve never shown that character. We did that yesterday and that’s got to be a moment in time where everyone says that’s who we are and what we can do, and we’re not going to accept anything less.”
“We’re not going to be able to do that every week but we’ve got to try to get that level every week.
“And you look at who Sydney had on the pitch, and it makes it an even greater performance.
“I’m happy for the players and to represent the club and town like that was most important.”