PHOTO: L – R: Tara Pender, Liana Danaskos, Emma Stanbury & Elizabeth O’Reilly
Westfield W-League Newcastle Jets Head Coach Craig Deans is looking to bolster the sides local stars with some of the best from Sydney.
Deans has announced four players who will come to the Jets from the southern capital with three of his new recruits, Emma Stanbury, Liana Danaskos and Elizabeth O’Reilly, all fresh from an amazing 2016 season with Sydney University, who won their Grand Final this year in the PlayStation 4 National Premier Leagues Women’s competition.
Stanbury, 25, was scouted by the Newcastle Jets two years ago, however, was unlucky amongst a strong side to not get much game time. This year she believes she has developed a lot as a player through the experience of being led by NPL coach Heather Garriok.
“Heather has been a massive part of my development and maturity as a player, which has helped myself secure another chance with the Jets. I feel very proud to have the opportunity to put the Newcastle badge back on and wear it with pride and passion for the upcoming season.”
“I love the environment we have at training with the girls, there is that winning mentality, it is all from Deansy instilling that into each training session and with that I know that we will definitely make the finals,” Stanbury said.
Danaskos, 21, has been playing football since she was 5 years old and had always dreamed of playing in the W-League when she advanced.
“This is probably my biggest achievement making a W-League side as well as making two Grand Finals at Sydney University – I cannot wait to start the season.”
“So far at training, we have been gelling really well together and I think in the coming weeks, we will only improve with having a couple of trial games up our sleeves. I think we have a really solid side in all components on the field and we have a lot of strong characters in the side,” Danaskos said.
O’Reilly, 24, last played in the W-League when it first commenced 8 years ago in 2008 for the Central Coast Mariners FC for two seasons when she was just 16 years old.
“I went to college after it and played for the University of Wyoming. It was an awesome experience, over there you get treated like a professional. Coming back this year into the W-League it has really stepped up and changed since when it started, the professionalism has really increased.”
“It has been my goal to get back into the W-league and I am excited and thankful to have been recruited into the team. I think we will have a real chance this season, I don’t think many people rate us and I think we will be a good underdog team,” O’Reilly concluded.
Deans believes the three girls will bring a lot of strength and confidence into the team as they are coming off a winning season with Sydney University.
“They have played together for a while now and have a good understanding of each other’s strengths and weaknesses. They will bring a strong winning mentality to the Jets after such a successful season in Sydney.”
Deans’ fourth recruit hails from the Blacktown Spartans, Tara Pender, 19. Pender was recruited by the Western Sydney Wanderers last year however only played one game, which coincidently was against the Newcastle Jets.
“It was a really good experience to get some game time. I am really excited to play for the Jets this season as they were a really good team to play against last year.”
“I can play anywhere up front, my favourite position is right wing but I am happy to play anywhere on the field,” Pender said.
Deans believes Tara is a great player as she brings a lot of versatility with being able to play anywhere across the front line.
“Tara is a very good technical player and hopefully she can contribute some goals this season, which is something that we needed to improve on from last year’s performance,” Deans concluded.
The Jets women face two games on the road in Melbourne to start their season, facing Melbourne City on November 6 and then Melbourne Victory on November 13. The sides’ first home game will be at Hunter Stadium against Perth Glory on November 20.