The message from Westfield Matildas captain Clare Polkinghorne is loud and clear – Australia’s Women’s Team is on the rise.
The message from Westfield Matildas captain Clare Polkinghorne is loud and clear - Australia-s Women-s Team is on the rise.
Arriving home after being edged out by Japan in the Final of the AFC Women-s Asian Cup but having secured their spot at the 2015 World Cup during the tournament, Polkinghorne is already looking enthusiastically ahead to next year-s showpiece in Canada.
While she was admittedly disappointed not have been able to keep the Asian Cup trophy in Australia, Polkinghorne can see a bright future for the Matildas after what unfolded in Vietnam.
“There was a lot riding on the tournament and looking back now I think we did a fairly good job, although not quite as good as we wanted to as we obviously wanted to defend our title and fell just a little bit short,” Polkinghorne said from Sydney airport en route home to Brisbane.
“We had a lot of chances and couldn-t take them, and Japan had a few and took one of theirs, so it was disappointing to come out of the game without a result but I think it-s a good platform going forward.
“It wasn-t to be in the Final but the World Cup is the big one next year.”
There is legitimate reason for Polkinghorne-s optimism and enthusiasm. Of the squad that went to Vietnam and pushed reigning World Champions Japan all the way not only once but twice during the tournament, the average age was just 22. Giving further weight to her viewpoint, Polkinghorne has been around the national setup since 2006 when she made her Matildas debut, the 25 year old having already competed in two World Cups herself.
Add to this the exciting and positive style of football the Matildas tried to play throughout competition under Interim Head Coach Alen Stajcic, and who knows what might happen in the years to come.
“I don-t think we-ve seen the best of us yet,” Polkinghorne said.
“We played some pretty good football but I don-t think it-s near where we could be, and hopefully come this time next year at the World Cup we-re really hitting our potential.
“There are so many young girls, in the next three or four years with some more experience under their belts it-s going to be really exciting to see how we can go.”
Polkinghorne, who is set to spend the next three months playing in Japan before returning for the start of the next Westfield W-League season, also lauded Stajcic-s contribution and influence on the team, particularly given he only took over just weeks prior to the tournament.
“We had a couple of camps on the Gold Coast with Staj in charge, he really brought a new energy to the team and tried to get the best out of his players and I think we did that,” Polkinghorne said.
Can-t wait to see what the Matildas have in store in Canada next year.