The Newcastle Jets have re-signed W-League coach Craig Deans on a two-year deal.
Deans has been at the helm for the past three years and last season steered Newcastle to their first finals appearance since the W-League began in 2008-09.
They have improved steadily in that time, finishing sixth in his first year, fifth in the second and then third last season.
The Jets came painstakingly close to a first grand final when they lost the semi-final 3-2 to Sydney FC in extra time.
Jets chief executive Lawrie McKinna said in a statement on Tuesday the club had been keen to retain Deans.
“We always wanted to re-sign him, it was never in doubt,” McKinna said.
“Of course the [Westfield] W-League had a stellar season, but it wasn’t just about that, it really came down to the quality of Craig’s character.
“He’s a great guy, a tireless worker and a brilliant leader for our [Westfield] W-League players and the talented juniors coming through our Academy system.
“When we discussed the idea of making it a two-year deal, the interest from Craig was around building the squad over that period and continuing to strive for more success.”
For Deans the two-year deal is big step in creating stability for the W-League Jets.
“In a lot of ways it makes it easier to plan recruitment and signing of players and plan how you want to play and which direction you’re going to go for more than one season,” Deans said.
“At the moment, with the W-League and being on a one-year contract, it’s pretty much like going into an extended tournament every year and you’re just thinking about each game and winning each game, whereas with this you still have the focus of making sure you win every game but you can start to have a big picture look at how younger ones are going and showing progression and forward planning for the following season.
“At the moment, every off-season it’s just a meat market of every player is available and whoever pays the most money gets the players and I want to try to avoid that by looking at hopefully some longer-term player signings as well, which is a conversation for down the track I suppose.”
In addition to his contract extension, Deans will also take over as the Jets Academy director from Mike Cooper, who is relocating to Melbourne.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.