One of the Westfield W-League’s quite achievers, Newcastle Jets striker Rhali Dobson scored twice in Sunday’s 4-0 win over Adelaide United to be named Player of the Match.
The Wauchope-raised Dobson has continued her strong form from last season which resulted in a maiden Westfield Matildas call-up, despite the Jets finished with the wooden-spoon.
This season the Jets are a new-look outfit with Dobson among those leading the revival. Here the 23-year-old talks through her goalscoring form, the new-found confidence at the Jets, Westfield Matildas selection and much more.
You have hit the back of the net several times already this season, how have you found your own form?
I had just come out of the local season so it was good to try and bring that form over, and I’m quite happy with how it’s progressing.
The team seems to have settled into a groove despite the new faces?
It does help that a lot of players which came into the squad this year, have played with the Jets previously. It was just a matter of settling into a routine and remembering how each other played. It all came together on the weekend in Adelaide and that was just amazing for us as a club.
Presumably after a tough season, you are enjoying being in a winning team?
Well, a lot of people talked about our season last year. But I was just happy to be playing win, lose or draw. Everyone wants to be in a winning team, but I was just happy to be playing, meeting new people and learning new things.
You received a surprise Westfield Matildas call-up last season, has that impacted the way you are approaching your game?
It was like Christmas because it is a goal that I had given up on a long time ago. I was so shocked it wasn’t funny. I am approaching the season like last year, just being myself and the player that I am. And I’m aiming to attack this season with the same determination as last year.
Is the FIFA Women’s World Cup just a little bit in the back of the mind?
It is in the back of my mind, but I don’t want it to weigh on our how I’m performing. If it happens, it happens and is meant to be. Obviously I would love to go to but we will just have to see how I go this season.
And you’re not the only W-League player from the country town of Wauchope, a few hours north of Newcastle?
Yes, Western Sydney Wanderers’ Caitlin Cooper as well. Our goalkeeper Clare Coelho is from (nearby) Port Macquarie too. With me making the Matildas there is now three of us with (former Matilda) Tracie McGovern who is also my cousin, so you could say there is something in the water. There is a very strong football club up there and they have produced a lot of players, and more coming through the ranks which is great to see.
Who is the toughest opponent you have played against?
Well, honestly Gema Simon, really because I have so much respect for her as a player and friend, that it was the most awkward moment on the field. I played like I had too much respect for that girl!
Which team-mate at the Jets would you most want in the trenches alongside you?
I would say Amber Neilson. She is so calm and collected. I played with her locally at Adamstown. She always has your back, but will tell you off if needed, which I don’t mind.
Who is the funniest team-mate?
If you asked my team they would probably say me as I’m the girliest! I spend plenty of time making an idiot of myself, and they like to pay me out for my girly ways!
What are you going to spend your Westfield Player of the Match voucher on?
It is probably going to go towards purchasing a nice Pandora necklace. I want to have something I can wear all the time, except playing sport of course. It will remind me of a goal I set myself a few years back, and it can remind me of my achievement on the weekend.