Leading Westfield Matildas players have praised the amazing influence of Clare Polkinghorne, after the defender recently brought up her 100th cap in the green and gold.
Polkinghorne became just the sixth player to reach triple figures for the Westfield Matildas when she turned out in the side’s goalless draw against Portugal at the Algarve Cup.
She joins Anissa Tann, Joey Peters, Lisa De Vanna, Heather Garriock and Cheryl Salisbury in the century club.
De Vanna remains a team-mate of Polkinghorne now and the pair are likely to play key roles at the upcoming AFC Women’s Asian Cup in Jordan.
"For the last 10 years she’s given so much for the team, so much to the jersey and so much for herself to be in that position,” De Vanna said of the dependable defender to https://matildas.footballaustralia.com.au/.
“I’m a bit more emotional because I’ve got to share that journey with her. It’s fantastic and she’s a good person and were really happy we got to share it with her.
“When I play against Polks, my first impression is she’s physical and she’s hungry and that’s her strength.
“She’s got that winning mentality…for me she’s a rock-solid leader.”
Kyah Simon is another who has seen Polkinghorne develop into a valuable member of the Westfield Matildas over the last decade.
“She’s just so passionate and driven and she’s the epitome of the pure professional and it’s an honour for me to play alongside her,” said Simon.
“If I go into war she’s definitely a player I want to have beside me.
“Polks has this persona that she’s calm, but when she’s on the pitch she’s aggressive and she’d go through a brick wall for you.
“That’s a great quality to have in a teammate.”
Fellow defender Caitlin Cooper added of Polkinghorne: “Clare has been a massive part of our team and it’s a great honour to play beside her.
“She’s a fantastic player and fantastic person all round. She’s quite a smart defender and very tough to get around.”
The 29-year-old has been a mainstay of the national team since debuting against China in 2006.
Polkinghorne has attended three FIFA Women's World Cups and three AFC Women's Asian Cups, winning the latter tournament in 2010.
She achieved her "dream" of competing at the Olympic Games as an integral member of the squad that reached the quarter-finals at Rio 2016.
Polkinghorne has scored eight goals across her century of international appearances.