The Newcastle Jets off-season brought plenty of re-signings with most of their young talent retained ahead of the 2021/22 A-League Women season. Co-captains Cassidy Davis and Gema Simon alongside coach Ash Wilson will aim to get the team back to the top of the competition after three seasons down the bottom of the ladder.
Last season: Eighth (seven points, two wins, one draw, nine losses)
Norwegian international Marie Markussan is a strong addition to the Newcastle squad for the A-League Women season. The 24-year-old is fresh off a Norwegian Women’s Cup Final win with Vålerenga which marked back-to-back titles for the club.
In her senior career, starting with Stabæk in 2014, Markussan has scored 33 goals, 17 for the aforementioned club in 49 appearances, with a further 15 goals coming from 69 games for Vålerenga, among a one-game stint with VfL Wolfsburg.
Markussan will be bringing some versatility and much-needed tenacity to the Jets lineup this season, the attacker able to put in and contribute towards match-winning moments.
She competes well with her pace and run with the ball, her strike and eye for goal, and ability to spot teammates, each aspect making her important in lending her experience to the team.
Tessa Tamplin was one of two off-season departures for the Jets in the off-season, the 20-year-old searching for opportunities elsewhere and finding one in Switzerland.
She’ll be playing for reigning Swiss Women’s Super League champions Servette FC Chênois Féminin, securing their first Super League title in season 2020/21.
Tamplin had a breakout A-League Women campaign last season with the Jets where she appeared in 12 matches, starting in 11 of them.
The defensive midfielder completed one assist, 38 crosses, 12 tackles won and 20 intercepts, making her the recipient of the Jets Rising Star award at the conclusion of their season.
She headed to Servette FC after three years in the A-League Women competition for 30 appearances and two goals after progressing through the club’s junior academy to the first team, with added appearances for Australia’s Under 16 and Under 20 sides.
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What to expect:
Even though the Jets have languished towards the bottom in recent years, the depth of their talent pool is an exciting prospect.
If the team was to get it right with their game style and game sense, the younger portion of the squad will be contesting well for years to come. However, the formation needs to be present and worked out first, above all else.
Having promoted young academy players such as Kristy Fenton, Josie Morley and Lara Gooch, they’ll know and understand the Jets system and should slot straight into training and work their way into achieving some minutes off the bench throughout the season.
There might be a question of the lack of experience amongst the group and the nature of playing on the biggest stage in national women’s football could become overwhelming.
While there is a breadth of fresh faces in the main squad, brimming with talent, the Jets will still be leaning on the likes of veteran Gema Simon as she enters her 13th A-League Women from defence to provide the catalyst for improvement across the entire team.
The losses of first-choice midfielders Tessa Tampin and Rhianna Pollicina – also a goal-scoring threat – leaves a hole in that part of the ground in terms of experience needing to be covered by younger members of the squad, given the defensive end is stretched too. Luckily though, the Jets are capable of backing each other, and goalkeeper Claire Coelho up near goal.
Newcastle’s goal-scoring ability will be in the spotlight yet again this season after Tara Andrews fronted most of the attack last year to finish equal-fourth in the goalscoring tally for the competition with five goals. She was assisted up forward by Lauren Allen (three goals) and Sunny Franco (two goals).
Newcastle wasn’t the worst team in terms of shots and shots on target last season, just unable to find a way to put the ball in the back of the net.
The addition of Norwegian international Marie Markussen should create plenty more goal-scoring abilities for the Jets this season, either off her own boot or through assists up forward, and rocket the team towards a greater chance for a tilt at a finals position.
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