Clare Wheeler has been recognised as a Newcastle Jets star, taking out an end-of-year double after being named the club’s W-League Player of the Year. She was also awarded the Cheryl Salisbury Dedication Award for the second year in a row.
One of only four Newcastle players to start in every match in the W-league this season, the Adamstown Rosebuds product quickly settled in as a key cog in Craig Deans’ 2018/19 season. Playing mainly at the back half of the park, Wheeler clocked up a club-high 22 interceptions across her 1,079 minutes, and added 20 tackles to boot.
She also had the ability to get the game rolling forward. The young midfielder topped the team’s passing column with 459 passes at a 75.8 percent success rate.
The 21-year-old, who has already represented Australia with the Young Matildas, also stepped into a leadership role on the field after Tori Huster left at the end of last season. Deans believes her commanding presence was a key factor in the team’s resilience throughout their latest campaign.
“Clare is the type of player whose hard work often goes unnoticed,” he said. “She shields the defence superbly, is one of the best distributors of the ball in our side, and showed time and time again this season her ability to help us on the front foot.
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“Further to that, she’s a fantastic person, a leader amongst the group despite her young age and a more than deserved winner of this award. It’s a good reward for her patience, determination, and resilience throughout her early years and she’s a shining example for all of the young girls coming through the ranks in our Academy.”
The Player of the Year is an award selected by the Newcastle Jets coaching staff.
Wheeler wasn’t the only Newcastle Jets player to be rewarded after their W-League season. Britt Eckerstrom received the fan-voted Members’ Player of the Year award, while Cortnee Vine was honoured with the Goal of the Season award for her strike against Canberra in the third round (above).
Vine was also awarded with the club’s W-League Golden Boot after she was the hightest scorer with the team across their dozen-game campaign.
- W-League Player of the Year: Clare Wheeler
- W-League Golden Boot: Cortnee Vine
- W-League Goal of the Year: Cortnee Vine (Against Canberra United in Round 3)
- Cheryl Salisbury Medal: Clare Wheeler
- Members’ Player of the Year: Britt Eckerstrom