Newcastle Jets coach Craig Deans ultimately wants to build a W-League squad where local talent demand the lion’s share of his roster every year.
Deans hopes the rise of Renee Pountney, Paige Kingston-Hogg and Tessa Tamplin is a sign of things to come.
The trio have earned contracts for the coming season after playing under Deans in the Emerging Jets under-19 side over the winter in the NPL NSW Women’s competition.
Regularly up against seasoned, top-class opposition, the young Jets finished second last with just two wins in 22 games and a minus-62 goal difference.
Deans welcomes the challenging competition for his academy prospects and from that cauldron, Pountney, Kingston-Hogg and Tamplin have shown him they deserve a chance at the next level.
“I've always said we want to try to get as many girls from the area into the squad as we can, as long as they're good enough,” Deans said.
“Those three last year had a pretty good season in the under 19s squad so they got their reward and it's an incentive for all the other girls in the academy to know that if they understand how hard they have to work, they'll get the opportunity as well when they are ready.”
The promotion of Kingston-Hogg also shows players outside the Jets academy can make it. While Tamplin and Pountney has come through the youth system, Kingston-Hogg joined only last season after impressing in the Herald Women’s Premier League with South Wallsend.
“Paige is an interesting one because she played in the WPL not last year but the year before and [coach] Gary Wilson rang me and told me I should have a look at her, so I did,” he said.
“Every time she's been put in a different situation, a different environment, where she's been challenged, she's come through it quite well, so we'll see how she goes with this one.
“It's obviously a very big jump but she's got a good attitude and work ethic so I'm sure she'll be fine.”
Deans, embarking on his fourth campaign in charge of the W-League squad, took the Jets to the finals for the first time since 2008-09 last season.
Again, Deans has built his squad around the class and experience of players like Katie Stengel, Britt Eckerstrom, Emily van Egmond, Gema Simon and Hannah Brewer, while adding internationals Larissa Crummer and Taylor Smith.
However, he said all three academy graduates could make their W-League debuts this season.
“They have the potential,” he said.
“I’m sure if the opportunity comes up through an injury or through them pushing at training, they’ll get a chance.”
Pountney, a wide player who trained with the W-League squad last season, has gained a full contract. Tamplin, a fullback, and Kingston-Hogg, who plays as a centre-back or midfielder, have secured scholarship deals.
The Jets start in round two against Melbourne Victory away on November 1.
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