Four Brisbane Roar players have been named in a Westfield Matildas squad that later this month will bid to qualifying for the Rio Olympic Games in August.
Defender Clare Polkinghorne, midfielder Tameka Butt and Katrina Gorry and forward Emily Gielnik were included in a 20-player squad announced today by Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic.
Polkinghorne has been named co-captain with Melbourne City's Lisa De Vanna.
Gielnik is among five players who were selected in this squad after not being part of the Westfield Matildas that reached the quarter-finals of last year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup. The others are Caitlin Cooper, Chloe Logarzo, Aivi Luik and goalkeeper Casey Dumont.
“Emily Gielnik had a good W-League season and has been impressive when she has come into camp adding a good bit of pace and power to our front line,” Stajcic said.
Polkinghorne will be looking to add to her 80 international caps (five goals). Butt has 52 caps (seven goals); Gorry has 38 caps (11 goals) and Gielnik has seven caps.
The Australia’s national women’s team has not featured in the Olympic Games since 2004.
The squad will depart on Monday morning for the qualifying tournament in Osaka, Japan from 29 February to 9 March.
The Westfield Matildas will play five matches in 10 days with the top two nations at the end of the round robin format booking a place at Rio 2016.
Their opponents are Japan, DPR Korea, China P.R., Korea Republic and Vietnam.
“Our physical preparation needs to be at a high level and our players need to be capable of backing up every second day,” Stajcic said.
“It is the same for every team competing so we need a squad full of fit players and players who can carry a high workload.
"By game four or five it will be a war of attrition and come down to a bit of luck with injuries, but certainly the teams that are more resilient will give themselves a better chance to qualify."
German-based duo Elise Kellond-Knight and Emily van Egmond will join the squad in Osaka after their clubs in the Women’s Bundesliga play their first matches of the season this weekend.
“They are tracking well and working hard over there, and with the high level of Germany’s fitness and training regime I’m confident they’ll come into the squad fit and ready to go,” Stajcic said.
The Westfield Matildas’ first match of the qualifiers is a blockbuster against FIFA Women’s World Cup 2015 Finalists Japan on 29 February.
All the Westfield Matildas' matches at the tournament will be screened live on 7mate. starting on February 29.
The Westfield Matildas squad is: (with jersey numbers): 1 Lydia Williams gk (Canberra United); 2 Larissa Crummer (Melbourne City); 3 Caitlin Cooper (Western Sydney); 4 Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar); 5 Laura Alleway (Melbourne City); 6 Chloe Logarzo (Newcastle Jets); 7 Stephanie Catley (Melbourne City); 8 Elise Kellond-Knight (Potsdam FC, Germany); 9 Caitlin Foord (Perth Glory); 10 Emily van Egmond (FFC Frankfurt, Germany); 11 Lisa De Vanna (Melbourne City); 12 Casey Dumont gk; 13 Tameka Butt (Brisbane Roar); 14 Alanna Kennedy (Sydney FC); 15 Emily Gielnik (Brisbane Roar); 16 Michelle Heyman (Canberra United); 17 Kyah Simon (Sydney FC); 18 Mackenzie Arnold gk (Perth Glory); 19 Katrina Gorry (Brisbane Roar); 20 Aivi Luik (Melbourne City).
The Westfield Matildas' match schedule is: Westfield Matildas v Japan (Monday, 29 February, Kincho Stadium, Osaka, 8.35pm KO Qld time); Westfield Matildas v Vietnam (Wednesday, 2 March, Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka, 5.35pm KO Qld time); Korea Republic v Westfield Matildas (Friday, 4 March, Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka, 8.35pm KO Qld time); DPR Korea v Westfield Matildas (Monday, 7 March, Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka, 8.35pm KO Qld time); Westfield Matildas v China P.R. (Wednesday, 9 March, Yanmar Stadium Nagai, Osaka, 8.35pm KO Qld time). All matches LIVE on 7mate.