Having played for Australia for nearly five years I have had many exciting international adventures but this week’s trip to Japan for the Club World Championship promises to be right up there.
It is really exciting, and is something different for all of us, even for Lisa, Bri and myself who have all travelled with the national team a fair bit. This is something new again to be away with the club. It is huge for Melbourne Victory and we are all keen to represent Australia.
But we are under no illusions about the challenge that awaits us. The Japanese team we will come up against on Sunday will be extremely good. I have played against the Japan national team a few times, and it goes without saying they are extremely strong. Tameka Butt and Elise Kellond-Knight played over in Japan this year, and they confirmed what we all suspected - that pretty much every player in the league is extremely skilful and technical.
We expect Sunday’s opponents as one of Japan’s representatives in the six-team competition to likewise be extremely technical, with fast ball movement. We anticipate they will be well-structured especially in defence, so we will have to be patient and play our style. And of course Lisa can cause havoc against any defence. I’m sure there is not too many Lisa De Vannas in the Japanese league. And we have a great midfield so I’m sure we will be fine.
I have been to Japan just once briefly with the Westfield Matildas a few years ago now, so I’m looking forward to the whole experience. I know our coach Joe is pretty excited about it, mostly for the shopping. He is into his fashion, and apparently Japan is pretty good for that. I think he might be more excited about the shopping than some of the girls!
Not that we have talked too much about it to be honest. We actually made a pact a while ago that we wouldn’t talk about Japan until we qualified for the Westfield W-League semis. But it is exciting now for sure.
I have had some messages from a few girls at Sydney and Canberra, including Nicola Bolger and Leena Khamis sending their best wishes and advice which was nice and much appreciated. It makes you realise that you are supporting Australia and the Westfield W-League in a way. We certainly want to do everyone proud.
It has been an interesting season for the Victory. We are past a little mid-season slump we had. We were playing high-quality football in patches but not quite getting the job done. Having said that I thought we were a little unlucky, but we are definitely on track now and playing positive and no-nonsense football.
Everyone has been playing out of their skins in the Westfield W-League this season across the whole competition. The league is definitely more intense than last year. The standard of some of the games has just been incredible. Things have certainly gone to a new level like never before. The World Cup is in the back of my mind, and I think in everyone’s mind. The World Cup is such a huge thing, and has come around so quickly.
There is so much happening at the moment with Japan, the semi-finals in a few weeks and Westfield Matildas camps in the new year. I’m super excited about what lies ahead. Bring it on.