Join the Westfield Matildas on a journey to glory
The next 19 months will be utterly fascinating in the life and times of our wonderful Westfield Matildas.
Alen Stajcic’s side are now six in the world after winning the Tournament of Nations which included wins over USA, Japan and Brazil in recent months.
If that wasn't momentous enough, a clean sweep over Brazil in a two-game series on home soil last month capped off a remarkable run of form.
Next month, the Matildas will look to continue their hot streak when they tackle China in a two-game series in Victoria.
But looking further ahead, there are far greater motivations for the national team.
After the Algarve Cup in Portugal, the Matildas will travel to Jordan in April in search of a second Asian Cup trophy and first since winning the 2010 title.
After losing to Japan in the 2014 final, Stajcic’s side will be hungry for revenge.
And with no disrespect to Japan - a fabulous football nation - but this Australian outfit is at a different level and should rightly head to Jordan as the team to beat.
With the Westfield W-League back and the vast majority of the Matildas back playing in Australia, it looms as a huge season for national team hopefuls.
The frightening individual form of Sam Kerr notwithstanding, Alen Stajcic’s side are really starting to develop into a world class outfit.
Pace, skill and quick ball-movement have been the hallmarks of Australia’s up-tempo, attacking football over the last couple of years.
But it’s the belief which Stajcic has instilled within the playing group which has been the key to the Matildas’ progression.
The win over the USA in July shows how far Australia have come.
No longer are the Matildas content with ‘playing well’ against America or happy to settle for a draw against historically the world’s best side.
Stajcic encourages his side to play football and to not take a backward against anyone, let alone the USA.
And after Tameka Butt’s goal secured Australia’s first ever win over the USA, you could see just how much it meant to the players.
The confidence they took from that win has clearly had a huge effect on the belief within the group too.
Four straight wins since and the Matildas are absolutely flying.
China will present another chance for Stajcic to develop his squad and perhaps give some opportunities to new faces.
With the likes of Kyah Simon and Michelle Heyman back from injury, competition for places is set to intensify.
While the Asian Cup in April is the immediate goal for the Matildas, the ultimate aim is to perform strongly at the 2019 FIFA World Cup in France.
After making the Quarter Finals at the 2015 edition in Canada, Stajcic has made it no secret of his desire to make an impact at the showpiece event.
Can Australia go all the way and win it? Why not.
The next 12 months is crucial. The Asian Cup will provide a fabulous platform. And with the bulk of the squad in their mid twenties, it really is an exciting time to be involved with the Westfield Matildas.
But for the moment, it's two games against China in Victoria next month.