Aussie Summary – What a Place, What a city, What a team.
As I Sit in my house in Wales, with a cup of tea ( yes girls, not coffee) with snow barricading me in.. I can finally sit down and reflect on my time in OZ. I started this blog, with every intention of writing a weekly / two weekly piece, but unfortunately life took over and the weeks flew by without my regular updates.
However, I’m here now and I find myself thinking of the girls at Melbourne Victory, getting their rest before the MASSIVE semi final tomorrow (I hope they’re resting anyway or ima..) wishing I could be there to play, watch, support .. HELP in any way possible.
SO. Ive decided to write a final piece, to summarise my time with them and explain how much fun I had, how much I learnt and how much belief I have in this group of girls .. Here goes.
Summary of Down Under.I left my last blog with our Game against Sydney, So ill talk briefly about the next match. My home Debut .. Home to Canberra. One thing I love about the Australian league is the little rivalry’s that are made from team to team. I didn’t know much about teams here, but I knew by kick off on Saturday 17th November, this Game was big, it meant a lot, and we were pumped. Canberra had an unbeaten run of 15, champions of last year W-league, No Matildas – we wanted this. Run out winners 3-0. Scored my first goal on my first home debut .. clean sheet. MAGIC. I was beginning to feel at home.
Before I go further, I have to talk about and mention -my Australian Family, possibly one of the nicest families I have ever met. Jane and Mike Natoli, Rebekoh Stott (scotty) .. Alex and Gus. Without these opening there house to me, a complete stranger. Life would not have been the same. They opened my eyes to Australian life, a Christmas day extravaganza which will now be hard to beat. A life lesson on how try and catch possums.. (and fail may I add.. ) I can never thank these people enough. A house is always open to them if they ever came to Wales … not sure why you’d leave OZ for Wales but just saying.. if they did.
Okay so … back to Football.
We trained basically every day, a day off during the week and recovery day after a game. So your with your team a lot, youd think wed have enough of e/o but no. Wed have pre training coffee.. which was a highlight of my time in OZ .. Thankyou Caity and Stotty. I introduced the girls to my infamous ‘ one touch, one bounce’ game.. not going to lie at first the girls were a bit sceptic, unsure as to what it was about this game that got the welsh girl so excited. HOWEVER, by the time I left OZ, the game was a hit and the girls themselves.. Big kids. That’s how we started our sessions … best way. (who was the worst your asking … PETRAAAAA )
Our league run was starting to take off. Wed had a run of good games and results. I believe came from our team spirit. The best thing though, was how tight the League was tight. Another highlight of the W League, the competitiveness. You had to play well to win, it was that simple. Made the games so exciting and kept you on your toes. No complacency. Great for the fans, who btw, are awesome, come to that later.
We got to round 9 of 12, league starting to shape up. We had to win our next game to really give us a push. Top 4 was tight. 6 teams fighting for a spot. We had Canberra away. Difficult tie 1) they would surely be after blood 2) they had never lost at home .. like ever. 3) it was on TV ( the pressure ) !!!
I got asked what my best moment was as I was leaving OZ, from a football perspective. I could pick a few but, this game has to be it. It was a good, hard fought game. The Matildas were back for both teams, Canberra would argue this was now there strongest side. For reasons I stated above this victory was ever so sweet. We won 2-1. Stoppage time winner. Game could’ve gone either way easily, but it went our way. ESTACTIC from our point, I could imagine Canberra felt a bit sick. Soz about that.
Unfortunately due to me being a Guest player, I had 1 more game. Then my Australian adventure was up. Time actually flew by.
Before we go into that, I must talk about the Coach MIKE MULVEY. Who unfortunately left us during this period to go and manage Brisbane Roar, Men’s A league team. Not bad.. (pretty sure we were better but that’s a debate for another time ha) I have to thank Mike for bringing me over to the W league and giving me the chance to experience what I have and play in such a great league. So thanks. I wish him every success with Brisbane men and I hope to see him in the Women’s game again.
Back to the football. My last game. Home to Sydney Wanderers, which was always going to be a tough game. They, like all teams were a good side. We needed to win to set us up with a better run in to the finals. Pressure seemed to affect us as SW went in front early on. Script wasn’t going to plan. However, we soon got in our stride and won the game 3-1. Petra Scoring an absolute beauty.. (I will stick to my *fluke opinion, she will argue it). I think I provided the match entertainment with a slip and fall in the penalty box as I was about the take a shot (how embarrassing ) It was a good game, I enjoyed it. We played well. I was substituted with a few minutes to go, a chance to say farewell and thank the crowd that turned up in MASSIVE numbers … the applause and reaction I got is something I will never ever forget … and so onto the fans ..
Supporters of the W league.
Another MASSIVE highlight of the W league is its fans and supporters. I can only speak directly about our Melbourne Fans but I’m confident it spreads across the teams. There constant support, views, passion for the women’s game is brilliant. They travel to away games, there always upbeat, they support through wins and losses and they talk to you, they even sing ha. They see the product for what it is, they don’t compare it, they appreciate, accept and support it 100%. That’s a great base to work from and it’s an advantage the W League has over others, its developing, but its developing fast with great structure and the Fans have a huge part to play in it.
I haven’t spoken much about Melbourne as a City, but ill briefly say now, what a city it is. One of my favourite places. People are so friendly and it’s a very diverse place. Everyone is welcome. I spent a lot of my time in the city and never once got bored. I would have gone every day if I could. A place id definitely recommend to anyone who’s visiting Australia.
Think that’s me done. Finito .. except of course .. my Teamies.
Melbourne Victory Girls
Its not easy for 20+ girls to be thrown together from all over the world .. ( literally) .. and for things to go plain sailing. Especially in such a young side, which Melbourne were. Infact, its quite the opposite. But a massive key to the success this year I believe was down to just that, the team spirit. There’s nothing but complete respect to each other from every single player . No-one better than the other, everyone equal, eager to learn, wanting to play ..and win.. Together. It was just so easy, within the first week I could be completely myself and have a laugh. That shows everything, normally you need time. So to the girls, each and every one of you. THANKYOU. People say I did a lot for women’s football and Victory whilst I was in Australia, but I see it as the complete opposite. It did so much for me.
Soooooooooooooooo im going to leave with a Little Message for ma Chickas in Perth right now, Go do your THANGGGGG .. Kill it. I have so much faith .. Keep doing what you’ve done from the beginning .. work hard for each other .. Body on the line and all that Jazz .. Never Give up. I will be following from home … please don’t make me have a baby .. ?!?
City – Outstanding
Melbourne Victory – Loved every Second
Women’s Football – On the Rise .. Going to be a Great League in the Women’s game.