Newcastle Jets assistant coach Ash Wilson is set to step into the W-League head coaching role in a temporary capacity, the club has confirmed on Tuesday morning.
Wilson’s move into the interim role comes after Craig Deans was dropped into the club’s A-League hot seat following the sacking of Ernie Merrick. Deans was originally to guide both squads, but club officials have backflipped on that dual-role plan.
According to sources within the Novocastrian club, the search for a new A-League head coach rolls on. Deans, and therefore Wilson now too, are both expected to step back into their former roles once a new men’s top boss has been found.
Wilson’s first challenge will come in the form of W-League pacesetters Melbourne City this Saturday afternoon in an AAMI Park doubleheader. Former Novocastrian hero Emily van Egmond is expected to lineup against her old club again.
"The opportunity to step in as head coach and lead the team is a fantastic one for my development and [one] I’ll take with both hands." pic.twitter.com/eDGfa4jyby
— Isaac McIntyre (@isaac_mcintyre6) January 14, 2020
The incoming interim coach admits she’s got a tough gig ahead of her as she steadies the ship in Deans’ absence, but told media she’s looking forward to the challenge that taking over the squad—even for just a short time—will bring.
“Having the opportunity to step in as the Head Coach and lead the team is a fantastic one for my personal development as a coach and a chance I’ll take with both hands,” Wilson said after the announcement on Tuesday morning.
“It’s obviously not been ideal to lose Deansy midway through the season, but we’re a well-oiled machine and things have continued as per usual for the most part since he stepped in with the men’s team,” she continued.
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“We’ve got a good bunch of girls and our coaching set-up is a good one between Deansy, myself, Keelan [Hamilton, second assistant] and Goldy [goalkeeping coach, Andrew Goldman] and it’ll be business as usual for us.”
Wilson, who joined the Jets alongside Deans when he and his coaching team first linked up with the Hunter club ahead of the 2015/16 season, also has the full backing of her usual head coach, and career mentor.
Craig Deans has given Wilson his blessing as he continues to lead the A-League period for the next few weeks.”Ash has been my assistant since my first season in the Westfield W-League, and is an extremely capable coach,” Deans said of his W-League first mate.
“There was a very open and honest conversation between myself, the [W-League] coaching staff, and the playing group and we believe this is the best course of action for the Club given my commitments with the men’s squad.
“I’ll still be actively involved with the team, but promoting Ash to head coach in the interim will provide clarity to the situation and help the girls focus on a big game this weekend against Melbourne City.”
The Jets are in a tough predicament after seven rounds, and sit just three points away from last place.While Wilson will be commanding from the dugout at AAMI Park on Saturday evening, there’s every chance the situation could be resolved by the time the Jets return home to face Perth in a short-turnaround on Thursday afternoon.
If not, the W-League’s new leading coach will have two back-to-back home games to find her footing. First, she faces Glory, who have struggled to find impact after losing Sam Kerr to Chelsea, and Adelaide, who sits dead last with zero wins.