Newcastle Jets boss Craig Deans has suggested he has no future plans to take over the men’s squad full-time despite taking the reigns during a transition period in the club, and confirmed he will keep the W-League his number one priority.
Deans is currently putting in double-duties after the sacking of A-League helmsman Ernie Merrick, and his first weekend leading both squads was an interesting one.
First, the early-start W-League fixture, which was supposed to open the double-header at McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday, was delayed due to hazardous air quality. Then the men’s team fell 2–1 against league leaders Sydney FC.
Now, as the club prepares for another double-header—this time on the road against Melbourne City at AAMI Park on Saturday evening—Deans has revealed his long-term plans regarding his double duties, and which squad he’ll stay with.
“No, not at the moment,” Deans said when asked if he was interested in putting his hand up for the A-League coaching gig in a more “long-term” capacity, and confirmed he’ll be returning to the W-League full-time when a replacement is found.
According to chief executive Lawrie McKinna, who is helming the search for a new top boss for the men’s team, a fresh face at the club could be locked in as soon as the end of January. The Jets want a new leading man by January 24.
“There are some big names from overseas and as well as well-known local names,” McKinna said. “I wouldn’t say I’m surprised. It was a similar situation last time. We still have resumes coming through.”
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For now, it’s still Deans that is leading both sets of troops. With each team looking to peel themselves off the bottom of their respective tables, it’s a tough job, but one Deans says he’s navigating with experience from Ernie himself.
“It’s been a bit busy, yeah,” he said. “Bit sad of course because it’s never nice to see a coach lose their job, and I liked Ernie. I learned a lot from him when he was here. It’s a difficult situation, but we’re getting on with it now.”
The W-League Jets will next take to the field in a road match against Emily van Egmond’s Melbourne City, who currently leading the W-League table by six points. Their only dropped points came against Newcastle in the season opener.
That match will be played on Sunday, January 18, at AAMI Park.