Matildas ready to bid Good Morning to Vietnam

It only seems like yesterday I was in attendance at the opening round of this season’s Westfield W-League.

It only seems like yesterday I was in attendance at the opening round of this season-s Westfield W-League. Well I can say it-s now been and similar to the improving Hyundai A-League, the W-League has improved in leaps and bounds on and off the pitch. Long may this continue.

In season six of the W-League we witnessed a new champion in Melbourne Victory, a deserved winner. This team with its blend of youth and experience stepped up when it counted and was led in the final by our own world class Matildas stars Steph Catley, Lisa De Vanna and Bri Davey.

Catley is proving herself to be a great advertisement and role model for women-s football. The way she carries herself off field is second to none and her on-field exploits have seen her lift the championship as Victory captain and was named the Young Player of the Year for a second year.

Not to be outdone Tameka Butt from Brisbane Roar was also rewarded for a fantastic season with the Player of the Year Award. Additionally, it would be remiss of me not to mention two legends of the women-s game winning awards - Melissa Barbieri as the W-League goalkeeper of the year and Sally Shipard with the Goal of the Year Award.

The remaining W-League Award handed out on Monday night coincides with a new journey in women-s football and specifically the Matildas.

Alen Stajcic was named the W-League Coach of the Year, a great recognition for his many years of work and ultimate successes in the women-s game. “Staj” has recently been handed the task of taking the Matildas to Vietnam for their AFC Asian Cup title defence, after the departure of Hesterine De Reus.

Some would argue that one of the hardest things for a team in football/sport is to win a trophy back-to-back. That task will be made even harder for a coach who looks to make necessary changes with only weeks to the tournament, in a football region where the women-s game is fast improving in quality.

Furthermore Australia has been grouped against the World Cup holders Japan and the host nation Vietnam, along with a competitive Jordanian side.

A tough task you ask? Yes it is. But there is one thing for sure, this group of women have shown in difficult times and adversity that they are not fearful of any challenge or of competing against the best in the world.

In my view the team, regardless of its youthfulness, is capable of competing with the world-s elite and have the potential to produce when it counts. The Matildas have some world class abilities of their own, along with a unity and never-say-die attitude - a mantra of the team you might say.

Your support as part of our Football Family is welcome and appreciated. What a great two months of international football we have in store with our flagship teams competing on the world stage, the Matildas in Vietnam for the AFC Asian Cup and the Socceroos competing at the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.

Regardless of results, one thing I can assure you is that both teams will look to play the game to the best of their ability for this great country and in a way to make us all proud of what we stand for as a nation.

As we are well aware and have witnessed over the past few years, football is growing and growing in this country. I ask you to continue to be part of this and to enjoy this great time with your positive support.