Belief high for Jets ahead of City ALW semi-final clash

    Driven by “why not us?” grit, Newcastle believe they have a shot at stalling the Melbourne City juggernaut.

    Bolstered by a thrilling 4-2 elimination final triumph over Western United, the Jets continue their fairytale A-League Women season on Sunday by hosting premiers City at Maitland Sports Ground for the first leg of their semi-final.

    A win will no doubt be cherished by Ryan Campbell’s side, having been dogged by an array of off-field issues on the road to their first semi since the 2017/18 W-League season.

    Losing head coach Gary van Egmond in January when he quit to take up a job with the Chinese Football Association, Newcastle have been forced to train at multiple venues while the in-turmoil club manoeuvres through an ongoing ownership crisis.

    Those talks began at the start of this season, with the Jets under the control of several fellow A-Leagues clubs after previous owner Martin Lee was stripped of the licence in January 2021 for failing to inject any money into the club or pay off debts.

    Denied a safety net by the Australian Professional Leagues, Newcastle are at risk of folding.

    The odds may be stacked against the Jets for the clash with City, who are the best-resourced club in the league, but captain Cass Davis, Newcastle’s longest-serving ALW player who’s missed just one game in her 11 years at the club, wouldn’t have it any other way.

    “All of those challenges, that’s probably what’s got us here,” Davis told AAP.

    “They’re things that you wouldn’t wish upon any team but all those things contributed to making us stronger and more resilient.

    “We’ve always said that we can’t control a lot of the things that have happened so we’ve pushed on and just focused on the football stuff and it’s paid off.

    City have got the better of Newcastle in their last two meetings but current form suggests Dario Vidosic’s charges would be mistaken to underestimate them.

    The never-say-die Jets triumphed over Western United thanks to a Sarina Bolden double and goals to Melina Ayres and Sophia Hoban in extra time.

    “I said to the girls, ‘We were made for this. We’re made for these challenges’,” Davis added.

    “We feel like we’re not ready to finish the season. We’ve already hit some records and made some history so I don’t see why we can’t do it again.

    “I know that we will be able to put it to City. We believe in ourselves and that’s the most important part, that it starts with us.

    “We know that we can do it and we’ve played pretty much for the last four weeks as grand final games.

    “This is why we play, to make finals and to win trophies, and I wouldn’t want to do it with any other club.”

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