By Joshua Martin
The rise of the Matildas has been well documented in the mainstream press after they won the 2017 Tournament of Nations defeating Brazil 6 – 1 in the final.
The women proved it wasn’t an anomaly clean sweeping their recent home series against Brazil, rising to number 6 in FIFA’s international rankings.
Now two of their best players will join the Brisbane Roar W-League side who will play the Gap Gator Women’s team on Friday night, in the Gap’s 25 years in Women’s football celebration.
Coach Rob Askew says it’s always worth the price of admission to see Clare Polkinghorne play.
“There are two Matildas who have been part of the recent success experienced by the national team in Clare Polkinghorne and Mackenzie Arnold,” Askew said. “While both are defensive players, we will have to be at our best to score against them.”
Askew says he’ll start his strongest 11 for the clash, including two club veterans farewelling the team.
“Younger players will get some minutes in the second half,” he said. “This is also an opportunity to farewell Cath O’Neill and Megan Price who are long-time serving players who will not be playing next season.”
Askew says the main objective of the night is for his team to measure themselves against the best.
“It’s an opportunity to motivate the younger players by showing them they are not far off and with a bit of hard-work they could be part of a W-league squad,” he said.
The celebration match is a big milestone for Askew who was a founding member of women’s football at the club.
“For me the whole night is massive. I was there at the very beginning 25 years ago,” he said. “I did not plan to be around for that long and did not foresee the level of success we would achieve.”
The Gap are hoping their pride and passion will bridge the chasm of experience held by the W-league side.
- Event begins at 6:30pm with kick off at 7pm
- Free entry
- Meet the players
- Coach Q&A session
- Food and drinks available
THE GAP WOMEN’S FC: Noran Abaza, Hayley Riccardi, Kim Abbott, Cath O’Neil, Charli McLennan, Jess Dillon, Greta Bodey, Megan Price, Tiarne Petterwood, Ruth Blackburn, Talitha Doro, Katie Winter, Sarah Miller, Zali Eason-Coutts, Laine Sunderland, Charlotte Bohl, Liz Doherty, Lauren Butler
BRISBANE ROAR WOMEN’S FC: Mackenzie Arnold, Kaitlyn Torpey, Clare Polkinghorne, Summer O’Brien, Natalie Tathem, Lulu Pullar, Amy Chapman, Ayesha Norrie, Allira Toby, Hollie Palmer, Billy Murphy, Abbey Lloyd, Leah Davidson, Clare Farrington, Dani Ward, Meg McGelliot, Mariel Hesher, Georgina Worth