Captain Gabbi makes her mark in Emerging Jets premier league side

AT 15 Taree's Gabbi Aarons-Burton is among the younger players in the Newcastle-based-Emerging Jets football side that plays in the Newcastle Women's Premier League side.

It's also Gabbi's first year in the team. However, she's obviously impressed the coaching staff as she's been appointed captain. Gabbi's made a positive start, with the Jets winning their opening two matches.

This includes an 8-0 thumping of Football Mid North Coast, the team Gabbi played with last year.

"It's a big thrill and an amazing opportunity,'' Gabbi said of leading the side.

She started training with the Jets in November and was approached by coach Lauren Colthorpe, a former Matilda, to ask if she was interested in taking on the captaincy role.

Gabbi admits she was a bit apprehensive at first given her age and the fact it was her debut season with the club. However she eventually decided it was too good an opportunity to pass up, although she said it can 'be a bit daunting.'

The Jets are restricted to players aged 18 and under.

"Most of the other girls are aged 16 to 18,'' she said.

Eventually they'll be joined by players currently involved with the Newcastle Jets in the W-League. However, Gabbi expects to retain the captaincy even when they are available.

Gabbi was first approached to join the Emerging Jets after playing for the Newcastle under 17s in a tournament at the Australian Institute of Sport last year. An attacking central midfielder, she had her first taste of the premier league with Football Mid North Coast in 2013. Gabbi admits last weekend's game against her former team-mates was at times a fiery affair.

Six sides, five from Newcastle, play in the league, which is seen as a pathway to the Newcastle Jets and the W-League.

The Emerging Jets are expected to be among the front runners for honours although Gabbi expects reigning premiers Adamstown, a side boasting a wealth of players with W-League experience, to be the side to beat.

However, Gabbi's commitment to the Jets means she has to train three nights a week in Newcastle as well as playing on Sundays. She has to be in Newcastle by 5.30 for training.

"Brooke Summers and Georgia Lowry from Forster are also with the Jets so we're able to car pool,'' Gabbi explained.

"So that makes it a bit easier for mum and dad. And because we have to travel they don't mind if we're a bit late.''

A year 10 student at Taree High, Gabbi also has to mix football with school.

"I usually take a laptop with me when we're going to training an do assignments while we're travelling,'' she said.

The premier league will be a six month campaign and Gabbi concedes it will be a long and at times tiring journey. But she isn't considering a move to Newcastle just yet.

"I want to do well in my HSC and Taree High's a good school so I don't want to leave,'' she explained.

If all goes to plan Gabbi will be playing in the W-League for the Jets when she's 17 or 18 while playing for the Australian Matildas and professionally overseas are her long term goals.

So she says she'll just have to deal with the travel involved at the moment.

"Hopefully we'll have a good season,'' she said.

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