Westfield Matildas coach’s challenge to Newcastle fans

Alen Stajcic has issued a challenge to fans in the Hunter to get out in big numbers for the clash against Brazil.
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With a strong Newcastle flavour in the Westfield Matildas ranks, coach Alen Stajcic has issued a challenge to fans in the Hunter to get out in big numbers for the clash against Brazil

Staj relishing Matildas' clash with Brazil

Australia play the South American giants at McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle on Tuesday, September 19, three days after they meet at a sold-out Pepper Stadium in Penrith.

MATILDAS’ NEWCASTLE FLAVOUR

There are four members of Stajcic’s staff that live in the Hunter, while a number of the squad – including vice-captain Lisa De Vanna – have played for the Newcastle Jets.

“It should be a really proud moment for the Newcastle sporting public and football public up there and we hope they respond by coming out to support us in big numbers,” Stajcic said.

“I put the challenge out to the Newcastle faithful. At the moment we’ve sold 10,500 tickets up in Newcastle which is fantastic but the game in Penrith is sold out.

“It’s a good challenge for the sporting public in Newcastle to come out and match those numbers or even beat it despite it being on a Tuesday night, which maybe isn’t as family friendly.”

Emily van Egmond has lauded the growth of women’s football in Australia and says hosting a World Cup on home soil would be ‘massive’ for the sport.

GROWING SUPPORT NO SURPRISE

Australia’s incredible exploits over the last few years has captured the imagination of the nation, with their impressive Tournament of Nations triumph in August a real catalyst for their booming popularity.

And Stajcic admits it’s not before time.

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“I’ve been a supporter of women’s football for a long time so it’s good to see so many people coming on board and supporting our team, supporting the game and seeing the potential and possibilities that exist within the game,” he said.

“It’s just a starting point for me and the team. We all know how much more the game can grow and how much more there is to promote the game at grassroots level through to junior football and the elite level.

“We’re really pleased with the response from the Australian public but we all know this is just a starting point and we’re looking to the future and a healthy future at that.”