Ash Wilson emphasised a need for consistency as the Jets coach and her players reflected on their W-League season before heading off in different directions this week.
For most that will be playing in Women's National Premier League (NPLW) NSW, which begins this weekend. Wilson will coach the Emerging Jets side in the state's top female competition.
After collecting the wooden spoon on goal difference in their last W-League campaign, Newcastle made a promising start to 2020-21.
But, while they matched it with most teams in patches, a lack of composure in key moments proved a downfall.
They closed their season in Brisbane on Sunday night with a 3-0 loss to a clinical Roar, who will play in the finals series.
It was Newcastle's worst result of their 12-game campaign and left them in eighth position with just seven points.
They finished six clear of last-placed Perth, six below Melbourne City and Western Sydney (both 13) and 15 points adrift of the top four.
"We talked about reflecting on the performances over the season and being honest with areas that we want to keep building on and growing, and I think that quality and that consistency is definitely a key area in terms of what we need to be better at," Wilson said. "We need to start being better in key moments and turning that into points."
It was always going to be a challenge to bring together a new group for a six-week pre-season before the short, 12-game season. Only half of the Jets' 18 player-squad had remained.
"If you look at four of the top five, they're pretty much the same teams as last year," Wilson said.
"If you can keep the same squad or a very similar squad next year, you've already laid some foundations, some key principles that people know and you can just build on that and you can make people better and you can start to delve into some of those deeper aspects that are going to take you to the next level."
Wilson was confident the future looked promising if Newcastle could retain the bulk of their squad for the club's next W-League instalment.
"Obviously, it's disappointing because we come into this season thinking we had a pretty good team, and we still believe that," Wilson said. "It was just a couple of results not going our way and not being as clinical and as effective in key moments when we really needed to be. And part of that was the time together and still jelling.
"Part of it is W-League maturity because when you look at some of the girls who were starting they hadn't had a lot of W-League moments, and it does take a little bit of time to get yourself to a level in this competition where you are consistent, you are competitive and you are being effective over and over and over again."
Strikers Jemma House, Sophie Harding and Evelyn Chronis all made their W-League debuts this season.
Midfielder Rhianna Pollicina came to the Jets with only five W-League appearances to her name but was a regular starter. Attacking player Lauren Allan and right-back Tess Tamplin also became regular fixtures in the Jets team after debut seasons in 2019-20.
"You look at someone like Tess; it's her second season of playing full games and she's still learning," Wilson said. "She can take a lot from this W-League season and put it into practice and work on things over the course of the NPLW season and hopefully she comes back stronger and more consistent next year. She's definitely more consistent than what she was last season."
Other season highlights were striker Tara Andrews surpassing her 100th appearance for Newcastle and co-captain Cassidy setting a W-League record of 97 games straight on Sunday night.
Wilson finished the 2019-20 W-League season as interim head coach of Newcastle and this campaign she became the club's first female appointment to the head women's role.
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