Newcastle Jets W-League coach Craig Deans believes he has assembled a more balanced squad this season after announcing the addition of four Sydney players on Thursday.
The Jets have signed Tara Pender, Emma Stanbury, Liana Danaskos and Elizabeth O’Reilly, who all had successful seasons in the Sydney women’s National Premier League this year. Pender, 19, played with Blacktown and the remaining trio were part of the championship-winning Sydney University side coached by Matildas legend Heather Garriock.
“Heather gave them all a good rap,” Deans said.
“Emma, Liana and Liz were part of the Sydney Uni team which won everything and the Sydney women’s NPL is probably the best in the country, so they’ve already been successful and have a good mentality.”
Attacking midfielder Stanbury, 25, was part of the Jets’ 2014-15 squad but had little impact and Deans was expecting her to play more of a role this time around.
“Emma is a bit of a free spirit on the field and gives us something a bit different,” he said. “She has a lot of creativity, is skilful and has matured a lot since she was here last time.”
Pender is an attacking player and was in the Western Sydney Wanderers squad last season but only made one W-League appearance.
“Tara is only quite young but has a lot of potential,” Deans said.
“She is technically very good and has got nice ability to beat a player. Her passing range is good and she will add something to the final third where we were lacking last year.”
O’Reilly, 24, is a midfielder and played for the Central Coast Mariners in the inaugural W-League season in 2008 before heading to the United States to play college football.
Danaskos, 21, plays more of a defensive midfield role but Deans said they were all versatile.
“Last year we just had to take what we could get but because we did well lots of players have been in contact with me, so it’s been good to be able to be a bit fussier,” Deans said. “The squad is looking more balanced this year and has got more quality across the board.”
The Jets’ squad is set to be completed next week with the expected announcement of four US imports.
They open their W-League campaign on the road against Melbourne City on November 6.