The Newcastle Jets W-League side have gained a massive boost to hopes of breaking their finals drought with the signing of Matildas vice-captain and No.10 Emily Van Egmond.
The team, now under the umbrella of the Jets A-League club, are expected to announce the signing of Van Egmond on Friday, just nine days out from their season-opener against Western Sydney Wanderers at McDonald Jones Stadium. It is one of five home matches being played as a double-header with the Jets A-League side this season at the stadium.
The Jets have been working this week to find the funds to add Van Egmond to their roster after her unexpected departure from German women's Bundesliga club Vfl Wolfsburg last weekend.
In a statement, Vfl Wolfsburg said Van Egmond, who was under contract until 2019, recently told the club she wished to return home and she had now signed with Newcastle. They said the "fee involved in the transfer remains undisclosed".
However, Jets coach Craig Deans said his club had not signed Van Egmond but were working to find money outside their budget to recruit the star.
The Herald was told a deal had been brokered for Van Egmond, who will be a welcomed addition to Deans' squad which announced this week the loss of Matildas midfielder Chloe Logarzo to Sydney FC.
Boston Breakers striker Katie Stengel was confirmed on Thursday as the first of an expected four American imports at the Jets this season.
The Jets have not played finals football since the inaugural W-League season of 2008-09.
Van Egmond, the daughter of A-League championship-winning former Jets coach Gary Van Egmond, was part of that inaugural Jets squad along with Matildas legends Cheryl Salisbury, Joey Peters and Katie Gill.
The 24-year-old, who will start her fourth stint with Newcastle, has more than 60 caps for Australia and was the Julie Dolan medallist as W-League player of the year in her most recent season at the Jets in 2014.
Her father is in China coaching the Young Matildas at the AFC's under-19 women's championship in China, what they too could do.
They made a strong start to the AFC tournament with a 3-0 win against South Korea on Monday.
They were due to face Japan on Thursday night before rounding out the pool stage against Vietnam on Sunday.
Finishing in the top two of Group B would yield a semi-finals berth, while a top three finish in the competition overall will mean qualifying for the under-20 World Cup in 2018.
That would be the first such qualification for the Young Matildas since 2006.
Van Egmond said there's "a lot of potential" in the current group, which includes three senior internationals in Alex Chidiac, Ellie Carpenter and Princess Ibini.
Emily Condon was another to have caught his eye in the clash with South Korea, after stepping in to replace Cortnee Vine who was suffering from concussion.
"She's come onto the field and did wonderful - she was excellent," he said.
Van Egmond isn't underestimating the opposition ahead, with Japan having beaten Vietnam 8-0.
He said the Young Matildas will try to take Japan out of their comfort zone.
"You win this game, you've nearly got your foot through to the semis," he said.