As Perth and Sydney prepare to battle for the W-League championship on Saturday, Jets players have already turned focus to their next commitments.
It has been just 10 days since Newcastle closed their season with a 4-1 rout of Western Sydney at No.2 Sportsground, leaving them three points off the top four.
The emergence of young talent was the shining light as injuries to key players came thick and fast. But the team has had little time to reflect, instead heading off in different directions for the so-called off-season.
Tara Andrews (New Lambton), Libby Copus-Brown (Wallsend), Gema Simon (South Wallsend) and Jenna Kingsley and Cassidy Davis (Warners Bay) will bolster the Herald Women’s Premier League, which starts on March 10.
Young guns Cortnee Vine, Teigan Collister and Clare Wheeler will play for Sydney University and Pana Petratos is expected to line up again for North West Sydney in the National Premier League NSW Women competition, also kicking off March 10.
They will go up against Tessa Tamplin, Renee Pountney and Paige Kingston-Hogg, who return to the Jets Academy, and goalkeeper Claire Coelho is likely to join them in a bid for more game time.
Arin Wright was the last of four United States imports to head home, leaving Monday to start preparing for the National Women’s Soccer League. Goalkeeper Britt Eckerstrom, arguably the Jets’ best performer, left last week and compatriots Katie Stengel and Taylor Smith returned weeks ago after sustaining season-ending injuries.
Matildas player Emily van Egmond is contracted to Orlando Pride but, along with Simon, is eyeing national commitments in the Cup of Nations being held on home soil from February 28.
Matildas defender Larissa Crummer is back in Queensland recuperating at her family home after breaking her leg in round 13 but will be keen to get started on a lengthy rehabilitation process.
Defender Hannah Brewer has niggling toe and ankle complaints that may require surgery.
For the first time coach Craig Deans goes into the off-season on contract after signing a two-year deal coming into this campaign.
But, as far as his squad for the next instalment goes, he must play a waiting game and said not being able to re-sign players straight away was one of the challenges of the W-League.
“As far as planning goes, the players I want to keep already know I want them to come back. It’s just a matter of having something to lock them into,” Deans said.
“There’s no contract available for anyone to sign. Historically, in the past, other clubs have seen some young players do well and they come in with more money and it’s a bit of a battle to keep them. So, ideally, it would be good if we could lock some people in now and make sure we've got them.
“It is always difficult with the American girls because it’s a big ask to go back-to-back seasons. Britt has been here two years now and might want a break … it’s a long time between now and August/September.”