WITH ALL THE GOALS AND AWARDS THE MATILDA S’ BREAKOUT STAR HAS PILED UP THIS YEAR, YOU CAN UNDERSTAND WHY SHE’S TURNING BACKFLIPS.
It has been quite a 2017. What have been your thoughts on the year? Yeah, it’s been enjoyable – mostly because I am not injured [laughs]. Most of the year has been great because the teams I have been playing in have had success, which is the most important thing. And of course it is always fun to score goals! In fact, this is the first time in two years you’ve been uninterrupted by injury. How did that time battling those setbacks shape you as the player you are today? I think for me I changed a lot when I was injured. I matured a lot. When you have had so many injuries, you can’t just do the same things.
Not only has the way I think about football – in the sense of this could be my last time – changed but nowadays I feel stronger in the mind and know that I have such good support systems around me.
It has been a change mentally and physically on how I have taken care of myself and what I have done off the field to be the best me on the field. The year started off with you captaining Perth Glory to the 2016-17 W-League Grand Final. How did it feel to lead your hometown club to a successful season? It was an unbelievable experience. I don’t think anyone really expected Glory to do as well as we did and we thrived on that. We loved being the underdog. It was one of my favourite teams I have ever been a part of, so that was a huge honour in itself being a leader of that team.
Just the whole season; we had so many ups and downs but all the girls were great and made the season so enjoyable and I think that is why we did so well. We really did have each other’s backs and respect. Hopefully this year not only do we stay at the top the W-League ladder, but we keep that same team culture. It’s fair to say you are in the best form of your life. What it’s like to be “in the zone”? I think everyone is different; their zones are different. My zone is that, for anyone who knows me, if I take myself too seriously I’ll stop playing well. My zone is a very relaxed zone. If I find myself during the day of a big game getting nervous and getting worked up, I have to bring myself back down and go muck around or do something that gets my mind off the game. I just have to be relaxed, visualise and then go out there and enjoy the game. The Matildas just claimed their first silverware in seven years. Where do feel this team is and where do you think the Matildas can go? I think right now we are in the best position we have been in a while. The last couple of years we have always said we are strong candidates for the major tournaments, but our performances at the Tournaments of Nations have given us a better idea of where we can go.
We are keeping it in perspective that it was an invitational tournament, but some of the best nations in the world were there. Going forward, with the youth and depth we have in the team, it is a really good sign.
I think it is scary where we can go. We can be our own worst enemies and our attitude is going to be the key. At Tournament of Nations we came in very prepared, mature and focused and really wanting to prove a point. We still have a lot out there to achieve as a team. You are not one for the individual accolades, but you have become the first Australian player nominated for FIFA World Player of the Year. What was your reaction when you found out the news? Yeah, I was little bit surprised. You never know with awards. I felt like I’d had a good year, but you don’t really play for awards. It is a huge honour and I think it is a huge boost for not only me but for the Matildas, women’s football and the country as a whole. These things don’t really happen without your team-mates and I am very fortunate that I played in a great team at Perth Glory; I’m playing in a great team at Sky Blue FC and an even better national team in the Matildas.
We are in the best position we have been in a while … it is scary where we can go.