A star is born as Fowler shines in Adelaide’s loss to Wanderers
Adelaide’s teen sensation Mary Fowler announced her arrival in the Westfield W-League despite coming out on the losing side of the season opener.
Western Sydney Wanderers lifted the curtain on the 2019/20 campaign by coming from behind to beat the Lady Reds 2-1 at Marconi Stadium on Thursday.
But the 16-year-old Westfield Young Matilda, Fowler, wrote her name up in lights when she used her dazzling footwork to win a 39th-minute penalty and then picked herself up to effortlessly convert from the spot.
Goals from United States international Kristen Hamilton and one of Fowler’s fellow Westfield Young Matildas, Kyra Cooney-Cross, turned the game in Western Sydney's favour to leave Adelaide empty-handed late on.
The Cairns-born prodigy, Fowler, showed no fear making her Westfield W-League bow, lashing a strike from outside the box at Wanderers keeper Abby Smith only 90 seconds into her club debut.
“When I hit the ball, all I’m thinking about is scoring,” Fowler said.
“I just have to get myself into a position where I want to score.
“I just run at them. I’m not afraid to take anyone on so I just go for it.”
And that direct approach brought Fowler rewards when her trickery bamboozled Western Sydney defender Alex Huynh into tripping the lightning-quick teenager in the box.
Throughout the match, Fowler played with a confidence beyond her years. She has already collected four senior Westfield Matildas caps and been to a FIFA Women’s World Cup™, so the bright lights of a live televised prime-time match did not faze her one bit.
“It was a great feeling just to be out on the pitch,” added Fowler.
“I was looking forward to playing with the girls and starting off W-League for the first time.
“It feels great to get a goal and help the team try to win but it’s unfortunate that we lost.”
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It will be a week Fowler will remember forever, but it has not been an easy ride.
Five days before the Westfield W-League opener, the 16-year-old played for Australia in the AFC U-19 Women’s Championship third-place play-off defeat against Korea Republic in energy-sapping conditions in Thailand.
After scoring four goals at the Asian youth football showcase, she jumped on a 10-hour flight and rushed straight into a professional club debut. No big deal to Fowler, who sees age as just a number.
“I feel like age doesn’t really matter with things like this,” she said.
“If you’re good enough, you can get picked.
“If you’re ready for it, you make your own opportunities.”
“If you’re out there you just do your best.”
And there were no chance of Fowler feeling sorry for herself after the defeat, with attention quickly turning to the next Westfield W-League contest.
“I think the team played pretty well, we hadn’t played a lot together,” she added.
“Quite a few of us were away on Young Matildas and stuff.
“I think we did pretty well considering and we had chances to score.
“Now it’s just getting back, working together as a team a bit more, getting to know each other and coming back to win the next game.”
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