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Jets’ finals hopes rise with jump in air time

HARD-working midfielder Cassidy Davis believes the upgrade of Newcastle’s final two games of the W-League to televised A-League curtain-raisers will only help in their fight to make the finals.
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ON THE BALL: Cassidy Davis, right, keeps close tabs on Melbourne Victory playmaker Christine Nairn in round three. Picture: Getty Images

Newcastle sit fifth on goal difference heading into the round 12 clash with last-placed Melbourne Victory at Hunter Stadium on Sunday from 2pm. The match was to be the club’s third and last televised A-League curtain-raiser of the season but Football Federation Australia announced on Friday that Newcastle’s final two games would also be part of featured double-headers.The Jets will playSydney FC at ANZ Stadiumnext Saturdaythen host Brisbane Roar at Hunter Stadium on Sunday,January 17. Bothrescheduled games will kick off at 2pm and be broadcast live on FOX Sports and ABC.

Newcastle, who have 12 points from nine games, will need results in most, if not,all games tomake the top four for the first time since qualifyingfor the inaugural W-League finals in 2009.Home-grown talent Davis believes the news is a boost for the Jets’ chances.

“Playing on TV, you always kind ofput your head down more and work harder. You want to perform better, knowing everyone’swatching,” Davis said.“I think the girls will be excited that we’ve got the extra games on TV and at bigger stadiums as well. They’ll be excited and up for the challenge.”

Coach Craig Deans said Newcastle wouldtake confidence from the changes.

“It’s probably credit to the girls,” Deans said.“They are putting on good performances when people are seeing them on TV, and I’m sure they are getting rewarded for all their hard work and the way they’re playing.I think people enjoy watching them.

“There is a bit of excitement. We’ve got a young group and for them to playing on a big stadium, it’s a big psychological boost. They’vejust got to be careful not to get too carried away.”

Deans said Davis has been unsung hero for the Jets, playing almost every minute this year in defensive midfield. Last year Davis came into the starting side at centre-back after Ashley Spina went down with a season-ending knee injury in round four. Shesaid shewas enjoying having more time on the ball in her third W-League season.

“It’s been good. I’d rather be further up the park,but I can get busy in the midfield, and I like that,” Davis said.“I have to cover a lot, get forward and back and try to dictate the play as well.It is busy, but I enjoy it a lot.”

Davis has been rested this week at training after coming off late in the 1-0 win over Western Sydney last Sunday with an ankle injury, but she was confident of playing on Sunday.Victory lost 1-0 to Newcastle in round three and have only one win and four points from 10 games, but Davis said the Jets could not afford to be complacent.

“Every team in the comp is dangerous,” she said.

“Melbourne have Christine Nairn and Hayley Raso, who are two very good players and anything can happen. We just need to go out and not be too confident but confident enough to put it to Melbourne.”

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