Backflips and bumper crowds: classic Westfield Matildas moments in Newcastle
Novocastrians have always been in for a treat whenever the Westfield Matildas come to town.
And fans will be hoping Australia put on another show when they host Vietnam in the Hunter Valley on Friday, March 6, as the Westfield Matildas look to go one step closer to Tokyo 2020.
It is the third time the Green and Gold will have played at the venue in four years, and if history is anything to go by there’s bound to be bags of goals and high-octane entertainment to be played out in front of a bumper crowd.
Read on to see how the Westfield Matildas have fared in Newcastle throughout history.
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June, 2000: Newcastle plays host to Matildas clashes against New Zealand and USA
Ahead of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games the Westfield Matildas hosted the Pacific Cup, a tournament in which they faced both New Zealand and USA in Newcastle.
On June 7, 2000, Novocastrians were treated to a 4-0 Westfield Matildas win over their oldest rivals New Zealand; the Green and Gold dealt all the damage in the first half hour of play through a quick-fire hat-trick to midfielder Sharon Black complemented by a Sunni Hughes goal in the 25th minute of play.
After romping to a 4-0 victory over New Zealand the Westfield Matildas turned their attention to clash with the current World Champions USA, who had won the FIFA Women’s World Cup in their home country in 1999.
Played at what was known at the time as Breakers Stadium, the Westfield Matildas fought gallantly against their formidable opponents but eventually fell to a 1-0 defeat when Cheryl Salisbury was adjudged to have handled the ball in the box; USA’s Shannon MacMillan stepped up to convert from the spot and earn the visitors the Pacific Cup.
September 19, 2017: Westfield Matildas welcomed back to Newcastle by record crowd
17 years after hosting USA in Newcastle the Westfield Matildas finally returned to the Hunter Valley to host South American heavyweights Brazil in the second of a two-game series at McDonald Jones Stadium on September 19, 2017.
It was a night to remember in so many ways; former Westfield Matildas stars were honoured on the field before the game in front of a 16,829-strong crowd which proved to be a record home crowd for a Westfield Matildas home game (barring the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games).
With an unprecedented amount of fans in the house to see the show the Westfield Matildas put on a scintillating display in an entertaining win which began with the visitors nicking the lead in the first minute of play.
Ranked seventh in the world at the time, Australia and the eighth-ranked Brazil fought out an entertaining affair as Sam Kerr replied to Fabiana’s opener with a goal of her own, thumping home a header from an Emily van Egmond corner late in the first half.
As the second half began it was Australia who made the quick impact as Kerr played Katrina Gorry in on goal; she fluffed her shot but the ball dribbled over to Caitlin Foord to place in the back of the net, lifting the atmosphere up a notch.
But just after the hour mark Kerr was to send the already raucous crowd into a frenzy when she poked home an expertly-weighted cross from Chloe Logarzo; the strike opened up a two-goal lead for the hosts, and as she ran away in celebration Kerr broke out an iconic backflip celebration which will never be forgotten.
Ellie Carpenter conceded a penalty with the clock ticking down and Marta duly converted to make things interesting, but the Westfield Matildas held on.
November 13, 2018: Westfield Matildas demolish Chile in the Hunter Valley
With memories of the Westfield Matildas’ 3-2 win over Brazil fresh in their memories, Novocastrians once again flocked to McDonald Jones Stadium to watch their side return to action and send Chile home bruised and battered from a thumping 5-0 defeat.
All the damage came in the second half; Kerr opened proceedings just after 50 minutes of play when Foord played her in on goal to fire home the first goal of the night.
Kerr weakened Chile’s resolve which allowed Foord to step forward and deal the hammer blow, scoring a 24-minute hat-trick to turn a convincing win into an utterly comprehensive one.
Emily Gielnik popped up with a goal of her own in between Foord’s second and third as the Westfield Matildas strolled away with an impressive victory.
Match Schedule – Women’s Olympic Football Tournament Play-Off First Leg
Australia v Vietnam (Home Leg)
Date: Friday, 6 March 2020
Kick-off: 6.30pm AEDT
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia
Broadcast: Live on FOX SPORTS, Kayo Sports, ABC iview (delayed on ABC TV) and the My Football Live App
The match will also be streamed LIVE on YouTube for viewers outside of Australia and Vietnam
Upcoming Friendly Matches – Westfield Matildas
United States of America v Australia
Date: Friday, 10 April 2020 (local time)
Kick-off: To be confirmed
Venue: Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah, USA
Canada v Australia
Date: Tuesday, 14 April 2020 (local time)
Kick-off: 7.30pm – 12.30pm Wednesday, 15 April 2020
Venue: BC Place, Vancouver, Canada