Hannah Brewer has no doubts the Newcastle Jets will make up for a lack of so-called star power with grit and determination when they open their campaign against league heavyweights Melbourne City in round one.
The W-League starts next week and this campaign the Jets will rely heavily on home-grown talent and the experience of senior players such as Brewer, who at 26 is lining up for her 12th season and ninth with Newcastle.
The defender was on board for both of Newcastle's finals appearances - in 2008-09 and 2017-18 - and boldly told the Newcastle Herald at the start of pre-season that finals football was not out of the question again.
"Part of the reason why the core group of us want to do so well this year is the fact that we've been here for the long haul and been here since season one," Brewer said.
"A few of us who have played many seasons together now have the chance to prove everyone wrong, which is the exciting part, and we're more than capable.
"We've got a young squad but we have experience and players who have been here for 11 or 12 years and, although people might be writing us off already, I think we've got a lot to say about that on the football field.
"It's the unknown. You can have the best squad on paper in the league but when you step out on to that field it all comes down to who's determined and who's going to put in the hard yards to get that win, and we're certainly not short of that."
The Jets lost 2-1 to defending champions Sydney in a trial match in Wagga Wagga last Sunday and have a final pre-season hit-out lined up against the Australian Defence Force side this weekend.
They will host City at No.2 Sportsground on November 17. Newcastle have never beaten the three-time W-League champions since they entered the national women's competition.
"The exciting part this season is the fact that we are a local squad and a young squad," Brewer said.
"If you look at the last few games of last season, you can see that big names and internationals didn't play a part in the success. We worked hard for each other and were dedicated and willing to work for each other and that paid off.
"If we take to the field like we did in those games, there's no reason why we can't be up there in the top two or three teams in the league."
After playing the first six W-League seasons with Newcastle, Central Coast-bred Brewer left the Jets to further her football career, joining Melbourne Victory before seasons with City then Canberra United.
She returned to her foundation club in 2017.
"Newcastle is my home and I love playing for the club," Brewer said.
"I think it's a great club. We've got great supporters, a great fan base, great coaching staff, great players. You really can't fault it. And since I've returned, the last three seasons, it's really shown that I don't need to move away any more to get what I was looking for.
"The club has come along in leaps and bounds and the players have. I think that is the exciting part now and, being a senior player of that group, I'm really proud to run out with a team like that behind me."