'Fabulous progression': Westfield Matildas renew historic New Zealand rivalry
Sue Monteath remembers running out for the Westfield Matildas’ first ever ‘A’ international against New Zealand 40 years ago.
On Thursday night, the former midfielder and Australian captain will be watching on as the Westfield Matildas renew their rivalry with the Football Ferns in the Cup of Nations.
Australia will host their trans-Tasman opponents at Leichhardt Oval at 7.30pm (AEDT) after fellow Cup of Nations contenders Argentina and Korea Republic square off at 4.35pm (AEDT).
And the occasion will be an especially significant one for Monteath, who has witnessed firsthand the rise of the women’s game since that Sutherland day in 1979.
“When I played, I played for the love of it and it was always an amateur game so I think that brought out the best in people,” Monteath told www.matildas.com.au.
“But these people today are lucky enough to be paid to play what they like doing, so that’s good and you can see that they’re really professional athletes so I like to see that.
“They get the support as well if they get injuries and they get advice in terms of being able to get the best nutrition and things like that, so I think there’s been a fabulous progression and its really lovely to see the standard that’s being played today – it’s wonderful.”
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A set-piece specialist and a busy, productive midfield player, Monteath featured in 23 A international appearances for Australia and would captain the side from 1984 to 1987.
“I’ve got friends in every state now so it was lucky that I met so many wonderful people and had so many great experiences.
“I was lucky enough to have my Mum as the Physio of the team and my Dad travelled as the team doctor, and that was pretty lucky because I do remember a couple of injuries in China.
“Dad had to stitch up a cut in my ankle at one stage and Mum was handing out physio left right and centre in terms of all the other injuries. It was very convenient.”