JETS W-League soccer coach Craig Deans said qualification for the 2017 Under-19 Women’s Asian Cup was good reward for hard work for Newcastle trio Clare Wheeler, Sophie Nenadovic and Annalee Grove.
Wheeler started in the 7-1 win over Jordan on Sunday which sealed Australia’s place at the Asian Cup in China next October, an event which doubles as a qualifier for the 2018 Under-20 World Cup. It followed a 16-0 win over Northern Marianna Islands in Australia’s other game at the qualifiers in Nanjing, China.
Remy Siemsen was the star for Australia, scoring three goals against Jordan and seven in the earlier game.
Emerging Jets academy director Gary van Egmond is coach of the Young Matildas side but Deans took over in Myanmar at the ASEAN championships in August.
While 15-year-old goalkeeper Grove was an addition to the squad for the China games, W-League players Wheeler and Nenadovic were part of Deans’ team in Myanmar.
The pair also trained in the winter with Deans’ under-14 Emerging Jets boys side and he said the success was reward for their commitment.
“They performed well in Myanmar and they’ve been in and around that team for a while now, so it was a good reward to get to this stage,” Deans said. “Now they needed to keep working hard and make sure they stay in it for the Asian Cup and hopefully go on to a World Cup.”
Deans expected to have Wheeler and Nenadovic back in Newcastle on Tuesday or Wednesday and hoped they would be available for the Jets’ round two W-League match away against Melbourne Victory on Sunday.
Grove earned the call-up to China following her selection as goalkeeper of the tournament in Northern NSW’s maiden under-17 NTC Challenge win in June.
Nenadovic plays defence for the Jets and the Young Matildas, while Wheeler played as a wide defender in the win over Jordan.
“Clare plays midfield for us but she’s quite versatile,” Deans said. “She can play a few different positions in that under 20s set up and that’s good for her because in that tournament environment, that versatility can give you a better chance of staying in the squad.”
** HUNTER pair Zoe Murdoch and Jesse Southwell have been selected in the NSW Primary School Sports Association girls’ cricket team to contest national championships in Canberra in January.
Murdoch is believed to be the first state cricket representative from Bolwarra Public School, while New Lambton Public’s Southwell is following in the footsteps of her sister Hannah, who made the side in 2010.
Both all-rounders were selected after their performances for Hunter at last week's NSW PSSA titles at Hawkesbury.
The 2017 carnival will be held in Maitland in November.
In between times in February the NSW Combined High Schools girl's cricket tournament will also be based out of Robins Oval.