W-League: Gilliland loving being back in Newcastle

The Jets have only played two games this season but Arin Gilliland can already feel something is different.

ON THE BALL: Arin Gilliland is relishing a more attacking role with the Jets. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

ON THE BALL: Arin Gilliland is relishing a more attacking role with the Jets. Picture: Jonathan Carroll

Newcastle opened their season with two wins at home and, as they prepared for their first road trip of the 2017-18 season, the United States import believed they would be finals contenders.

“I want to see the Jets in the finals this year. I don’t think that is far off what we’re capable of,” Gilliland said. 

“I think that easily we can be there.

“We have to keep going on the track we’re going on and I think it’s attainable for us.”

The Chicago Red Stars defender got her first taste of W-League with the Jets last year and could not wait to get back to Newcastle.

She has been integral to their success so far.

The 24-year-old scored and provided an assist for the other goal in Newcastle’s 2-0 win over the more fancied Sydney FC at McDonald Jones Stadium last Saturday.

It came after an opening 2-1 victory over Western Sydney Wanderers.

Gilliland plays a wide-back position in the United States and was “loving” the chance to play a more attacking role under Jets coach Craig Deans.

“Deansy has full confidence in me to do that and that gives me confidence in myself and makes me a better player, so I love coming here and love being able to explore that side of myself,” she said.

The US international is also loving the vibe in this year’s Jets squad.

“If you can get a team that really bonds and really clicks and goes well together you’re going to get a successful team and that is what Deansy has put together this year,” she said.

“Everyone gets along, everyone clicks, everyone respects one another and wants to play for each other, so I don’t have any doubts about this team.”

She believed they would give a strong account of themselves when they travel to Melbourne for their round-three clash with W-League heavyweights City at AAMI Park on Sunday.

“It’s going to be a test for our team to see if we can go on the road and face that kind of battle but I think that everyone is ready and in tune and prepared for that,” Gilliland said.