Hard work and heart is going to be what the Jets' W-League season is built on in 2019-20.
There are no big-name players and no imports but what coach Craig Deans does have is a squad full of local talent, bursting to represent their region.
He also has 15 returning players from last campaign, which they finished in strong fashion and showed glimpses of what might be achieved this time around.
Leading the charge will be in-form strike weapon Tara Andrews, who produced 48 goals and proved the decisive factor in New Lambton's Herald Women's Premier League success this year.
The departures of a host of high-profile players, including home-grown Matilda Emily van Egmond and American Arin Gilliland-Wright, opens up the opportunity for some of the region's young guns to take their games to the next level and the city's hopes with them.
Deans, in his fifth season at the helm, knows a tough task is ahead but is excited to see how his young charges handle the challenge. Newcastle have been written off as finals hopefuls by many but Deans has no doubts they have the potential to fly under the radar and cause some upsets.
"We're under no illusions; it's going to be difficult," Deans said. "What we're going to lack is experience and the composure someone like Emily brings to a game situation and having someone who can win you a game, just through their experience.
"But it's a good opportunity for the local girls. In my first season we only had two US imports and nearly made the finals. That season is a good example of what's possible with no real superstars.
"People like Chloe [Logarzo], who was playing second division in Sydney and not the Matilda that we know now, took an opportunity and there's no reason why some of the Newcastle girls can't do the same thing this year."
Van Egmond has departed her family's home town for the glitz and glamour of W-League heavyweights Melbourne City. The midfielder takes 90 caps for the Matildas with her. Also gone is striker Cortnee Vine, who produced a stunning strike and the W-League goal of the year last season. US quartet Gilliland-Wright, Britt Eckerstrom, Katie Stengel, and Taylor Smith won't be back. The loss of Eckerstrom may be felt the most with the goalkeeper a league standout during her time in Newcastle.
They may not be household names but the acquisitions of defender Annabel Martin plus attacking players Lauren Allan and Nicki Flannery should prove handy. Allan has no W-League experience but anyone who watched her in the Northern NSW women's league in the past few seasons will know how lethal she can be in front of goal. Allan and Andrews were a formidable, and ruthless, combination for New Lambton and seeing them in action together for Newcastle should be a salivating prospect for Jets fans. Martin joins Newcastle from Melbourne Victory and Flannery from Canberra United. They each bring the experience of about 40 W-League games with them.
Gema Simon and Hannah Brewer were fresh-faced teenagers when they signed with Newcastle in a squad that included Australian footballing royalty Cheryl Salisbury, Joey Peters and Katie Gill for the first W-League season in 2008. Andrews joined the club one season later. Now, they are the leaders of their home-town team. All have Matildas experience and about 250 W-League games between them. Throw in the 60-odd games of Cassidy Davis and these four, and their leadership and on-field composure, will be key to Jets success.
The Young Guns
Clare Wheeler may only be 21 but, according to Deans, "has now become one of the most important players in the club" following van Egmond's departure. She has been in the Jets squad since 2014 and showed experience beyond her years last season to be the Jets player of the year. Teenagers Renee Pountney, Teigan Collister and Tessa Tamplin made their W-League debuts last campaign and proved their potential.
There is the tantalising prospect of welcoming back Matilda Larissa Crummer from injury at some stage. She was the W-League leading scorer in 2015-16, the same year she was named young player of the year. Crummer came to Newcastle to improve as a centre-back, where the Matildas were using her. But Deans will put her up front if, and when, she returns from a broken leg.
Newcastle open their campaign by hosting a star-studded City at No.2 Sportsground on November 17. A big performance will go a long way to setting up a promising season. In 12 games, they will have three double-headers with their A-League side at McDonald Jones Stadium as well as a stand-alone Thursday night game there on January 23 against Perth. They play City, Victory and Adelaide twice.
Deans relied heavy on his young guns as the Jets won three of their final four outings last season to finish seventh but only three points adrift of third-placed Sydney, who went on to win the championship. Deans has attacking options and potential for a solid back four. How the midfield comes together will be a telling factor.