They are both just 21, with the world at their footballing feet, Jets team mates Tara Andrews and Georgia Yeoman-Dale are intent on making this W-League one to remember as they push for Olympic selection with the Matildas.
The pair have just returned from an international two-match tour to China and Korea with the Australian women’s team. For Novocastrian Andrews, who has been with the Jets since 2009 and is their longest-serving player, the tour signalled a coming of age. The towering striker was given her senior debut with a 15-minute stint against China. It was enough to leave her wanting more.
“I have been working towards that [Matildas senior squad] for a while and I definitely want to go to a World Cup or Olympics,” Andrews said.
“There are a lot of camps coming up before the Olympic qualifiers and a massive thing [Matildas head coach] Alen Stajcic looks at is performances in the W-League.”
Andrews earned her call-up to the senior national squad after a breakthrough year playing in the US second-tier W-league for Colorado Pride. The towering striker scored 18 goals and was named the league’s golden boot and MVP.
Yeoman-Dale hails from Canberra and relocated to Newcastle to play with the Jets last year. It was a move that proved fruitful as she cemented herself as a W-League starting player and in the process earned the attention of Stajcic and a recall to the Matildas after a three-year absence.
The athletic defender made her Matildas debut in 2012 but until this year she had been unable to break back into the senior squad. She started in both matches in China and was encouraged by the experience.
“I felt there was a lot to take away from it and things I need to work on as well,” Yeoman-Dale said. “It’s a brutal game … I have constantly got to be working hard and will be using Jets training and games to do that.”
Jets coach Craig Deans was full of praise for the pair.
“They are both young and still have a long way to go in their careers,” Deans said.
“Tara has got a lot of natural ability and good goal-scoring instincts, which is what you need in a striker. Along with that she is tall and quite athletic, so can cause the defenders problems.
“Georgia is super-fast and super-athletic and powerful; she gets forward and creates things in attack. She’s energetic and she is good in the team. She has good leadership qualities, which is something we needed after losing some senior players from last season,” Deans concluded.