Football in Australia is now united under one banner: The A-Leagues.
Whether it’s men, women, or youth, all A-League competitions are elite competitions with a fresh focus to continue making football as the country’s most inclusive sport.
For our Women’s co-captain Cass Davis, a player who featured countless times in what was known as the W-League, it’s an exciting development to be a part of.
Davis made her debut for the Club back in 2013 and has almost played in 100 consecutive matches in Jets colours.
She knows first-hand the challenges women face in gaining the deserved recognition and promotion in Australian sport but believes that the change signifies the league, and football in Australia, is heading in the right direction.
“I think it’s a great step in the right direction for women’s football,” Davis told ABC Newcastle.
“I think it’s what we’ve needed. It’s a good step for Australian football.
“Having the men and women seen as one and united together is a big thing. With the way that society is moving, and women’s football growing, and the World Cup coming here - it’s the right thing to do.”
Although big strides are being made in Australian football for better equality, the local 27-year-old believes there’s still “fair bit of work that needs to be done.”
“The next step would be a pay increase and longer season,” she said.
“Although the pay would be nice, I think the girls would really just love a home-and-away season.
“Wellington Phoenix entering the comp is growth for us, and something different.
“It’d be great if every men’s team had a women’s team. You could just play the same team that the men play.”
The women that make up the Jets 2021/22 squad so far are training and preparing for when they return to the pitch for pre-season later in October, including Davis who’s been utilising a new running training program on her days off and after work.
Like many in the women’s competition, her football employment and commitments are in addition to her usual juggling act of regular work and University studies.
She says it’s a price that many players are willing to pay to make sure they’re at the required A-League level.
“We’ve been doing some running stuff on our own, otherwise you fall too far behind,” she said.
“It’s a bit of a second job for some people. You have a full time job, and a football job. A lot of the girls in our team work full time, or work part time and study, so we’re constantly juggling, but I guess it’s what we’ve got to do for now.
“[But] we’re willing to fight for what we deserve and I think things are happening and going in the right direction and it’s looking positive for the young players coming up into high level football in the future.”
Although the delayed start to the A-Leagues seasons mean even longer to wait to play again, they have allowed more time to ready the squad.
Many players have returned from last season, while the Club are also on the hunt for new recruits, including some from overseas.
While she’s excited to once again be with the rest of the squad again, Davis is intrigued to find out which international players may be arriving for 2021/22.
“We’re going well and recruiting a lot of players from last year which is a good thing to keep some stability,” she said.
“I know Ash [Wilson] is keen to try [to bring in international players] and she’s working behind the scenes to see what we can do. I’m pretty keen to know who’s going to finish those final numbers in our team.
“We’re just keen to get on the field and start training. It’s been a long time since most of us girls have played games, so it’s a little bit frustrating, but once we get back into training, there’ll be a lot of people raring to go.”