For the past two seasons the Jets have gone into their last game of the season needing a win to secure a finals berth.
They have crumbled under the pressure both times.
But this weekend they can seal their finals fate and kill off Canberra’s a week earlier when they travel to the nation’s capital in the W-League’s penultimate round.
The Jets have only once played finals football, in the competition’s inaugural season nine years ago.
They are placed third with 17 points, on equal footing with back-to-back champions Melbourne City in fourth.
Canberra are fifth with 16 points, meaning a Newcastle win will put an unassailable four-point gap between the sides.
If Newcastle lose they will host City, who have the bye this weekend, in a must-win match at McDonald Jones Stadium on February 3.
The Jets’ football at times this season has been arguably their best for several seasons and home-grown midfielder-cum-defender Cassidy Davis said this weekend provided a chance to show they were not only finals material but also championship contenders.
“We all know it’s in our hands now,” Davis said.
“Really, we have two chances but we don’t want to make it two. We just want to get it done this weekend so the pressure is not on us in the last game, it’s on Melbourne City.”
In many ways the match on Sunday at McKellar Park will have all the feeling of a final.
“Canberra are in the same boat as us – they have to win,” Davis said.
“It’s a very important game and probably going to be one of the bigger games that most of us have played in.
“I’m already so keen, just seeing their result from the weekend and realising how close we are … it’s our chance so we can’t let it slip.”
United host the Jets after a thrilling 4-all draw with six-placed Perth Glory last round. The stalemate all but ended Glory’s finals hopes.
Newcastle had the bye last round and have not played since a 2-1 loss on the road to last-placed Adelaide United in round 11.
“The loss to Adelaide was obviously hard, that would’ve given us a finals spot,” Davis said.
“I definitely felt it and I’m sure all of the girls did as well. You could tell after the Adelaide game, and coming into training last week, we were all still a bit down about it, but more the fact that we didn’t play as well as we can.
“That’s two games that we could’ve got a result which means we would be in a good spot right now, so that’s disappointing that we weren’t at our best and we let that go.”
The other match was a 2-1 loss to Canberra in Newcastle in round four.
“We were all over them in the first half and could have been four or five goals up, but it was just one of those days where we just couldn’t find the back of the net,” she said.
“The first half was probably our best performance all season, so that’s a positive to take into this weekend.”
Newcastle’s biggest loss of the season was 5-2 against a star-studded City side, which includes former long-serving Jets player Rhali Dobson.
The defending champions have had mixed performances this season but are experience-laden and would be favourites in a final-round showdown.
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