Cassidy Davis is proud to be closing in on her 100th W-League appearance and even prouder that all will be played in Newcastle colours after re-signing with the Jets for another season.
The club announced Ash Wilson would continue as head coach of Newcastle's W-League side two weeks ago and have been swift in starting to assemble their playing roster for the 2021-22 season with co-captains Davis and Gema Simon confirmed signings on Wednesday.
Davis has made 97 consecutive appearances for the Jets since debuting in their 2013-14 campaign and the versatile 26-year-old was looking forward to reaching her 100-game milestone in a ninth season.
"Getting to 100 is something I want to achieve with the Jets, and hopefully more than that," Davis told the Newcastle Herald.
"I love playing for my home town and being here with the core group of girls who have stuck around as well.
"We're slowing building on something and I wouldn't want to be playing anywhere else."
The Jets have only made finals twice - in the W-League's first instalment in 2008 then again in 2017-18.
Davis was on board for the second appearance and hopes the club can put together a squad that will again challenge for a top-four position after collecting the wooden spoon in 2019-20 and finishing second-last last campaign.
"That semi-final year is probably the most memorable time," Davis said. "That's why you play - to make semis, to win titles. That's always the focus.
"It has been frustrating at times and there's been lots of lows, but there's also been lots of highs and we always strive to be better that next season.
"It's great to know Ash is back in and hopefully we can get some quality players in and they can help us build towards where we want to go."
Start dates have not yet been released for the next season but Davis said expanding the W-League should be a priority. At the moment, nine teams contest a 14-round competition with 12 games only in the regular season.
"It's been the same thing for a long time - nine teams for 14 rounds with two byes - and it's a bit stale," she said.
"You need something new, whether that's a new team or more rounds, because we need to keep building on the league."
The Novocastrian plays for Manly in the NSW Premier League Women's and is among a host of Newcastle-based players unable to get a game at the moment due to lockdown orders in the Greater Sydney region.
Davis is instead training twice a week with Wilson and the Jets Academy teams and one or two sessions with Newcastle Herald Women's Premier League side Warners Bay.
"There's definitely pros and cons to it," she said.
"A pro is that it was getting tiring travelling down so often. We were getting pretty exhausted having to work and study then get in a car to travel four hours. You get home at 11pm, go to bed then wake up the next day and do it again.
"It's tough, so it's been nice to not have to travel. But not playing high-quality games is obviously something that we miss.
"But you can't control it, so we've just got to make sure we're doing what we can up here in Newcastle. We're pretty lucky to have the Academy and our W-League coach to train with.
"I'm enjoying training through the week and having my weekends at the moment. It's nice to have a bit of a refresh."
Simon has 138 W-League games to her name and 11 caps for the Matildas. The 30-year-old left-back was part of Newcastle's inaugural Jets' squad.
"I love playing for my home town and representing the people of Newcastle," Simon said.
"This will be my 13th season with the Jets and honestly there is nowhere else I'd rather play.
"I'm not sure how many more I'll have left, so I'll be savouring every moment and focusing on ensuring I am as prepared as possible to help the team succeed this upcoming season."
Wilson said securing the Jets co-captains for another season was a key move for the club as they begin to assemble their 2021-22 squad.
"Not only is [Davis] a leader both on and off the field as one of our co-captains, she's someone that can be relied upon to work hard and put the team first," Wilson said.
"It is something we as a club value and her proven durability and mentality in this competition will be important for us moving forward.
"[Gem] is our most capped W-League player and her leadership and experience has been invaluable to this team both on and off the pitch.
"The attributes she brings to both our attack and defence will also play a key role in the type of performances we want to produce."
IN THE NEWS:
Our journalists work hard to provide local, up-to-date news to the community. This is how you can continue to access our trusted content: