THEY have already been to the Mid North Coast with their A-League team, now the Newcastle Jets are sending their W-League team up the Pacific Highway.
Last year’s W-League semi-finalists will clash with a Football Mid North Coast select side on October 14 at the Taree Zone Field.
The fixture was originally pencilled in for Port Macquarie’s Regional Stadium, but an off-season upgrade of the playing surface meant it would have been unplayable.
FMNC chairman Mike Parsons said the fixture would double as another step for Mid North Coast’s reintroduction into the 2019 Women’s Premier League.
“We’ll use it as a part-trial for our Mid North Coast WPL first grade side for next year,” Parsons said.
“This will be a good stepping stone and an opportunity for interested women that want to trial to have a run against some of the country’s best women footballers on the local stage.
“We’re hoping it will bolster the ranks of our junior girls and ladies who play Saturday park football.”
Port Macquarie product Claire Coelho along with Matildas trio Hannah Brewer, Emily van Egmond and new signing Larissa Crummer are expected to make the trip with the Jets.
“They’re getting ready for the start of the season and will bring up a full-strength side,” Parsons said.
“We’re hoping Claire Coelho will be coming up. She’s one of our local products as a goalkeeper.”
The Mid North Coast team is expected to be largely made up of the Mid North Coast under-20 team who suffered a 1-0 grand final loss to Warners Bay last weekend.
Parsons said it had started as informal discussions with Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna when the A-League side visited in July.
“We had conversations with Lawrie when the Jets came up to visit that wouldn’t it be nice if their W-League side came up too,” Parsons said.
“Lawrie said the club are trying to bring the W-League into the whole group as opposed to having them as a separate standalone entity to the Jets.”
FMNC bosses are interested in “incrementally growing the game” by being gender neutral.
“Part of our charter is to incrementally grow our game with a broad brush stroke that encompasses and encourages women to participate at all levels from grass roots to high performance,” Parsons said.
“It adds to the credibility of our game in terms of being inclusive, gender neutral and accessible to all sections of our community.”
The fixture comes hot on the heels of the Matildas sustained run of success that now sees them as one of the nation’s most recognisable teams.
Parsons was confident the playing surface at Taree would be of a quality that will encourage attacking play.
“The field will lend itself to the game and the crowd will be reasonable so it will be a good day,” Parsons said.