New Lambton may have a young squad on average for their first season of Herald Women’s Premier League but the addition of former Matildas Tara Andrews and Joey Burgess will ensure they have plenty of experience too.
Northern NSW Football’s elite women’s competition has returned to eight teams after comprising seven last year and is set to launch on March 11.
The Eagles are the new team on the block and coach Keelan Hamilton has assembled a squad he believes will be competitive.
Jets striker Andrews had her first training run with New Lambton through the week after Newcastle’s W-League season finished in the semi-finals.
It was a phone from Hamilton which convinced the 23-year-old to play for the Eagles this year.
“I’ve played in Sydney for the past five years over winter. This is my last year of uni and I didn’t really want to travel and Keelan just rang me at the right time, when I was thinking about playing in Newcastle,” Andrews said.
“I had him as a coach before when I trained with the Emerging Jets boys, so I knew he knows what he’s talking about and knew we’d have good training and he’d put together a good team.
“Northern NSW have brought me up as a footballer, so it’s good to be giving back them and hopefully strengthening the league.”
Andrews has eight seasons of W-League experience, played in the United States and has two caps for the Matildas.
Burgess, 38, represented the Matildas on 40 occasions, including at the 2007 Women’s World Cup, and played W-League for Sydney, Brisbane and Western Sydney Wanderers.
She relocated to the Hunter region for work last year and was looking for a team to play with when former Jets player Stacey Day recommended she join New Lambton.
“What Keelan was doing with the club in their first year and for the women, and because it’s got such good growth for the younger ones, I wanted to be a part of that,” Burgess said.
“If I can play a mentoring role for the younger ones then I’m giving back to the sport. I just want to help them out as much as I can and pass on my knowledge and what I’ve learnt along the way.
“It’s such a great bunch of girls; they’re so eager to learn and so motivated to train.”
Day is also playing for the Eagles, who open their WPL campaign against Wallsend.