Last year was all about rebuilding confidence for Stacey Day.
This year, as she helps lead New Lambton in their maiden Herald Women’s Premier League season, the former W-League centre-back wants to return her game to the next level.
Day had made over 60 W-League appearances when she snapped the Anterior Cruciate Ligament in her left knee at the start of the Jets’ 2014-15 season.
Eighteen months later, after a knee reconstruction and a lengthy rehabilitation process, she snapped the ACL in her right knee.
Read more: A Day worth waiting for
Day was finally back in action last year. She played an attacking role for South Wallsend and showed moments of brilliance while finding her feet and fitness again.
This year, in New Lambton colours, Day returns to the defensive line, and hopes to play an integral role for the fledgling WPL side.
“It was good to get that season under my belt and, not that I wrote the season off in any way, for me that season was all about getting all of those cobwebs out and getting the confidence back,” Day said. “This year I’ve gone back to centre-back and it feels like it’s back to business.
“I’m not going to get anywhere being a striker or in any other position. If I want to have a good crack at it, I’ve basically got to knuckle down and do what I know.
“[W-League] is in the back of my mind. I’d like to be able to go back and do a season and be in that environment and leave on my own terms, not because of an injury.”
The 29-year-old feels as though New Lambton will give her that chance.
“It’s quality training, we’ve got numbers at training and it’s a good group. We’ve got three coaches every session and it’s a professional set-up,” she said.
The Eagles play Wallsend at Fletcher’s Kurraka Oval on Sunday and the enormity of taking the field in New Lambton’s first WPL side has not been lost on Day.
“Being a foundation player at any club, you’re going to be involved in the first game, the first goal; there’s going to be all of these firsts and being a part of that alone is going to be something special,” Day said.
Eagles coach Keelan Hamilton was keen to see how his squad, which also features former Matildas Joey Burgess and Tara Andrews, were placed come Sunday.
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“We know our season won’t be defined by what happens on Sunday but it will be a good gauge for us to find out where we’re going to be,” Hamilton said.
Wallsend coach Marc Hingston has assembled a “young and enthusiastic” squad, which includes former Warners Bay strike weapon Sass Seaborn.
“This year, it’s about being able to compete and find our way again because I think the club got a bit lost last year,” Hingston said.
“I think we’ve got that right balance this year and their culture, what they’ve built in the space of three months, has been amazing. They’ve got a lot of potential.”
Adamstown are at home to Thornton and Warners Bay host South Wallsend. All games are at 2.30pm.
Defending champions Merewether United have the bye.