W-League: Newcastle Jets move home focus to No.2 Sportsground

JETS defender Hannah Brewer believes the better atmosphere at No.2 Sportsground will lift the W-League team’s intensity this season.

At HOME: Hannah Brewer, centre, with fellow foundation Jets Emily van Egmond and Gema Simon last season at No.2 Sportsground. Picture: Simone De Peak

At HOME: Hannah Brewer, centre, with fellow foundation Jets Emily van Egmond and Gema Simon last season at No.2 Sportsground. Picture: Simone De Peak

Newcastle will play four games at their training base of No.2 Sportsground after just one match there last season. The W-League draw was announced on Thursday and featured Newcastle gaining the first bye and a start in round two against Melbourne Victory away on Thursday, November 1.

The Jets, semi-finalists last season, will feature in two double-headers alongside their A-League side at McDonald Jones Stadium – in round six against Melbourne City and round nine against Adelaide. The Jets play Wanderers, City, Adelaide and Perth twice in the 14-round, 12-game season.

Brewer said having more stand-alone games at the smaller No.2 Sportsground was a positive for the team.

“We loved playing at the big stadium and it was great to experience that, but at the end of the day, No.2 is our home ground,” Brewer said. “We train there day in, day out and it’s great to have the opportunity to play more games there. The crowd we draw at No.2 and the atmosphere that they bring lifts the game and lifts our intensity and that’s what we want.”

She said the Jets had strong support at the stadium but they “will definitely know that we are loved out there” in front of their own crowd at No.2 Sportsground.

Newcastle celebrate a goal at No.2 Sportsground last season.

Newcastle celebrate a goal at No.2 Sportsground last season.

In a coup for the league, every match will be broadcast on Fox Sports, SBS or the My Football Live app.

AAP: The W-League has received a huge broadcasting boost, with weekly Thursday night matches to showcase Matildas stars through the summer.

A Sydney derby on October 25 to kick off the season, a stand-alone AAMI Park Melbourne derby and 15 A-League double-headers were the highlights of the 2018/19 W-League draw release on Thursday.

Melbourne City will start favourites to win their fourth consecutive title, in a grand final to be played on February 16 or 17.

But it's the broadcast element that league chiefs hope will be the real game-changer for the national women's football league.

Every match will be broadcast or streamed on Fox Sports, SBS and the My Football Live app, with games also available to the United States and United Kingdom markets.

"It is our desire to make the Westfield W-League the football league of choice for the best female footballers in the world and football fans," W-League and A-League boss Greg O'Rourke said.

"With the FIFA Women's World Cup being held in France next year, all players, Australian and International, will be looking to impress in the lead up to the tournament and our expectations are that the on-field quality will continue to deliver thrilling moments for the fans.

"I am confident that this season of the Westfield W-League is set to be one of the best."

The league will also break for the Matildas' two matches against Chile, staged in Penrith and Newcastle, in November.

O'Rourke also hailed a pay boost for players.

The salary cap has also been bumped by 16 per cent to $350,000, meaning players will receive an approximate average of $17,500 for their services - with a floor commitment of $12,287.

Matches will also head to Morwell, Queanbeyan and Wollongong through the 14-round season.

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