Aussie women ready to put on a show for home fans
13 September 2017
FOOTBALL: The Matildas are feeling the love from the Australian sporting public, and want to pay it back with strong showings against Brazil.
Alen Stajcic's side have gathered in camp in western Sydney ahead of the two-game friendly series.
Saturday's match in Penrith has sold out the 17,000-capacity Pepper Stadium.
Next Tuesday night's fixture at Newcastle's McDonald Jones Stadium could attract a similar number.
It means the national women's soccer team will play in front of similar crowds as the NRL finals enjoyed last weekend - an unthinkable statement in years gone by.
"It's just amazing," team stalwart Steph Catley said.
"We've always been quietly confident about what our team is capable of and the country is starting to notice that too.
"There's never been a buzz like this before within our national team and we're so glad everyone else in Australia getting excited about what we're doing."
Catley is part of an emerging pack of Matildas, which has the potential to be the country's most talented generation.
Sam Kerr, Emily van Egmond, Alanna Kennedy, Caitlin Foord and Catley have all grown up playing underage football together.
They're all now 22 or 23, with at least 50 international caps each.
Having put in the grind, Catley says the Matildas are determined to see the rewards - both competitively and in terms of the feel-good factor.
"We have been together since we were 14. We know each other inside and out," she said.
"We've got so much to look forward to.
"There's never been a buzz like this before within our national team and everyone else in Australia is getting excited about what we're doing."
Midfield veteran Elise Kellond-Knight, who has returned from her German club side for the match, said she was pleased to be playing on Australian soil at all.
Unlike the Socceroos, the Matildas aren't mandated to play matches at home as part of their qualification for World Cups or Asian championships.
"There's so much excitement ... there's a great crowd coming and it's going to be on TV," she said.
"It will be the biggest crowd I've played in front of in Australia. I've only played a handful of home games.
"After big tournaments we've lacked home internationals. It's a good way to capitalise on the things we're doing overseas.
"It's worked out this time and its a great opportunity for us."