Gustavsson loving Townsville ahead of Trans-Tasman clash

The Commonwealth Bank Matildas are in Townsville for the first time and head coach Tony Gustavsson is relishing the opportunity.

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“Well, first of all, it's been amazing weather, amazing scenery, amazing people just look at the view behind us here, see Magnetic Island and all these people that have treated us so friendly, it's been amazing. So I'm really happy to get the chance to see this area,” Gustavsson said.

The team’s first camp back together since the AFC Women’s Asian Cup in India in January hasn’t been without its hiccups and challenges as players from Europe, the United States, and Australia all converge in North Queensland at different times.

“When it comes to the football, it has been a bit of a challenge. To be honest, I had the opening meeting on Monday with five players. Tuesday, we had nine players. Wednesday, we had 15 players, but six of them couldn't train because they landed. And then today we had 22 plays and some of them had to be adjusted in training.”

“So football-wise has been a little bit of a challenge to prepare. But we had a talk about that today. And we're all about adapting to what's been thrown at us and doing the best we can. And we're not going to use that as an excuse for [the game], we're going to do everything we can to put on the best show possible for all the fans that are going to join us”.

The varied preparations of players will have an effect on the team Gustavsson puts out against the Football Ferns with the load management and health and welfare of players paramount in the coach’s decision-making.

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PREVIEW: Commonwealth Bank Matildas v New Zealand

“I'm going to be very honest and open here we're going to have a meeting with the SSSM team meaning sports medicine and sports science tonight to see who's available first and foremost. So the line-up is going to be first based on player availability because it's also about player wellbeing here and welfare and we need to protect the players and work together with them and the clubs here as well.”

“Because we obviously as a national team coach, you want to have as many minutes as possible for every player, but we also need to adjust minutes so I think we're gonna see a lot of rotations tomorrow because I don't think I have that many players ready for 90 minutes. And I don't mean they're not fit when I say that. I mean the challenge of travelling and all those kinds of things. So I think you're gonna see a lot of players in the park tomorrow night.”

Gustavsson and the players have thoroughly enjoyed being back in the national team environment and for the players currently plying their trade in Europe, the sunny Queensland weather has been delightful.

The players have also been joined by some of the youngest members of the Commonwealth Matildas family in the form of Harper Gorry and Harley Yallop.

Gustavsson was full of praise for the mums in camp and loved the vibe the littlest Commonwealth Bank Matildas have helped create.

“I think Meeks said it so brilliantly the other day with the baby in her arms and saying, you know, this is what we're about. We're a family, football family and want to include the whole nation in it and in terms of having two babies in here. I'm so happy to have them in here and the way that they've been welcomed and how they balanced being a mother and being a pro athlete in a high-performance environment has been amazing to see.”

The Commonwealth Bank Matildas will face New Zealand in Townsville tonight before heading to Canberra to take on their trans-Tasman rivals once again on Tuesday.

Commonwealth Bank Matildas v New Zealand 
Friday, 8 April 2022  
Venue: QCB Stadium, Townsville 
Kick-Off: 7:45 pm (AEST)  
Gates Open: 6:15pm (AEST)
Broadcast: Live on 10 Bold, 10 Play and Paramount+. Check your local tv guides.
Ticketing Details: Buy now!

Commonwealth Bank Matildas v New Zealand 
Tuesday, 12 April 2022  
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra 
Kick-Off: 7.45 pm (AEST)  
Broadcast: Live and free on 10 Bold and simulcast on 10 Play and Paramount+.  
Ticketing Details: Buy now!

Information is still being confirmed on international broadcasts.