SOUTH Wallsend coach Cas Wright hopes a strong connection to the Matildas will help the Wolves grow on and off the pitch this coming Herald Women’s Premier League season.
Last year, the Wolves secured Matildas left-back Gema Simon midway through their campaign and finished fourth, losing the semi-final narrowly to Warners Bay.
This year, former Valentine coach Wright has taken over at South Wallsend and recruited former Young Matildas Kobie Ferguson, Ashlee Brodigan and Kirstyn Antoni (nee Pearce).
Ferguson and Brodigan, both 19, are working to get back into the W-League after battles with injury and illness respectively. Both came through the Emerging Jets ranks and debuted for Newcastle in 2015.
Antoni, 27, played for the Jets in 2008. Now a mother, Antoni has been in and out of football in recent years but Wright said she had lost none of her quality.
Simon could also return, depending on World Cup selection, while the Wolves’ coaching ranks now include former Matildas striker Renaye Iserief.
Wright said the club, who have strength and conditioning coach Erin Wilson in their playing ranks, were keen to help Brodigan and Ferguson revive their careers.
Ferguson, a former Young and Mini Matildas captain, had her ambitions stalled by a knee injury after six W-League games and she has branched into junior coaching. Brodigan had 16 games for the Jets across three campaigns but did not play this season. She will also join the Wolves coaching staff.
“I’ve been trying to build and educate those that want to coach or have coached, but also strengthen the WPL,” Wright said.
“I want the club there to grow the girls through the league, not just be a club there to win a trophy.”
Wright, though, was confident they would challenge the top teams. Another Wolves recruit was Alice Munro from Wallsend.