Bright future beckons in Hunter for Wheeler and company

A combative and clinical performance from the Newcastle Jets has capped off a bittersweet season for Craig Deans’ side.

Although Newcastle’s 7th-placed finish is nothing to cheer about for a side with high aspirations, the injury-plagued outfit have found enormous upside in their youth in the latter stages of this season.

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A stunning come-from-behind victory against Perth, a last-minute winner in Adelaide and Saturday Night’s result mark three wins in four matches, and Jets youngsters had significant roles in each and every match.

The 17-year-old Tess Tamplin’s debut helped spark that magnificent comeback against Sam Kerr and company, while it was 20-year-old Pana Petratos who netted the stoppage-time winner against a desperate United.

Against the Wanderers, 21-year-old Clare Wheeler orchestrated their magnificent 4-1 victory, pulling the strings superbly in her engine room role.

She was at hand to unleash Tess Tamplin, clearing a path through the Wanderers defence for the teenager to connect and finish for her maiden Westfield W-League goal.

In the second half, Newcastle’s fountain of youth terrorised the hapless Wanderers keeper Nicole Simonsen.

The 19-year-old Teigan Collister buried a spectacular third goal for the hosts, all but securing the match with an audacious chip over Sorensen from the far right side of the box.

Fresh-faced 20-year-old Cortnee Vine placed the proverbial cherry on top, netting Newcastle’s fourth at a stage where Deans could only have been thinking, “gee, the kids are alright”.

The injuries accrued by Newcastle across the stretch to stars like Emily van Egmond, Katie Stengel, Taylor Smith and Larissa Crummer loom large as the main culprit for the Hunter side’s low finish.

However, the experience gained from the likes of Wheeler and her peers sets up Craig Deans’ side for a genuine tilt at the Westfield W-League 2019/20 Premiers Plate and Championship when the more experienced heads return.

The Jets will not feature in the coming weeks but be assured; the entire Westfield W-League is on notice for what is to come in the years beyond.

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