Westfield Matildas midfielder Katrina 'Mini' Gorry says she’s modeled her explosive game on Leo Messi. And the way the Matildas play makes it even easier for the diminutive playmaker to replicate the Barcelona and Argentina superstar's game.
Australia’s women’s national team were the guests of honour at a special function in Sydney on Monday to celebrate last week’s qualification for the Rio Games.
A beaming Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull praised the team for being fabulous role models for young girls and boys.
Gorry revealed Messi has been one of her biggest role models in a burgeoning career that's already seen the 23-year-old crowned Asian Player of the Year in 2014.
“Messi is an incredible player – the best in the world, and just seeing the way he moves on and off the ball is just incredible and something I hope to bring into my game eventually," she said.
"He [Messi] picks players off and draws a lot of defenders in and finds a spare player and that's something we always bring to our game. And I guess that's a midfielder's role to draw as many players in and release someone else."
"I'm getting more creative in that aspect of my game and my movement off the ball can improve. And with the balls we can put through we have lightning quick players and our strikers can make us look better than we are," said Gorry.
"We're pretty lucky we have great players all over the pitch."
Gorry netted a rare header in the Matildas’ fabulous opening win against tournament hosts Japan and sealed their passage to Rio with a long-range belter against DPR Korea.
One female star the Brisbane Roar midfielder has played against that has influenced her career is the Japanese great Aya Miyama.
Gorry said she learnt a lot from Australia’s heart-breaking loss to Japan in the 2014 Asian Cup final and analysed a lot of football to refine her game.
“After the Asian Cup a couple of years ago, having to mark [Aya] Miyama. Just here movement off the ball and just how smart she is on the ball,” Gorry added.
“I’ve found myself looking at her and just watching her game over and over."
While many of her teammates will head back overseas in the coming days Gorry will remain with her Westfield W-League side Brisbane Roar to prepare for August’s showpiece sporting event.
“At the moment I’m just going to be staying home leading into the Olympics,” said Gorry.
“We’ll hopefully have a few camps here and a few games coming up so we can get together.
“We have quite a good set up at Brisbane Roar so I’ll be training with the youth boys and play with the girls against the boys.
“I’ll probably get a one-on-one coach and just work on technical stuff and stuff I can improve on.”
As for the nickname that has stuck with her throughout her career “Mini” insists she loves it.
“I do [love it]. It’s kind of stuck with me,” said Gorry. “My parents call me Mini now; it’s only Katrina if I’m in trouble so I like to stick with Mini.”