Five Brisbane Roar Women players are in Sydney this week at the first Westfield Matildas training camp of 2016 as preparations continue for the Olympic qualifiers in Japan in February and March.
While the involvement of the Roar’s experienced internationals Clare Polkinghorne, Tameka Butt and Katrina Gorry was expected, the inclusion of striker Emily Gielnik and young defender Angela Beard was an added bonus for the players and the club.
Gielnik has made seven appearances for the Westfield Matildas but has not been involved on the national scene since 2013.
It is the first call up to the senior national squad for Beard (below) after several appearances for the Young Matildas.
Her inclusion comes after the talented left back was named the NAB Young Player of the Year nominee for November.
The selection of the Roar five for the training camp capped a huge weekend for the Brisbane Women after their stunning 3-0 away win over Adelaide United which put them back into finals contention in Westfield W-League.
The Roar scorers in the match were incorrectly reported in some outlets. They were Ruth Blackburn, Kirsty Yallop and Gabe Marzano.
The Roar Women this weekend return to Broadbeach where they take on Melbourne Victory on Sunday, 2.30pm kick off.
If the Roar win this weekend and get three points in their final regular season match away to Newcastle Jets, the will make the top-four play-offs.
Roar Women Coach Belinda Wilson said the selection of all five Roar players at the training camp was a reward for their consistency in recent weeks.
“All the girls have been working exceptionally hard at training and that is being reflected in the top football they are playing,” Wilson said.
“We are building on each game and looking to improve on every performance and we are doing that. There’s a real positive momentum across the entire squad right now.”
The Roar five are among 22 players selected by Westfield Matildas Head Coach Alen Stajcic for the three day training camp to be held at Football NSW headquarters, Valentine Sports Park.
Stajcic was at Broadbeach two weeks ago when the Roar played a brave and unlucky 1-0 loss to Champions Melbourne City.
Stajcic said there were numerous players in the mix for the final squad of 20 for the Olympic qualifying tournament.
“I think we’re progressing really well. The longer the competition (Westfield W-League) goes, the more and more the girls that have been coming into camp have been standing up which is pleasing,” said Stajcic.
“But there is still a big competition for spots, and trying to narrow them down to just 17 field players is going to be extremely difficult.”
“We’ve still got a long way to settle who is going to go and who’s not going to go. This is our last camp during the actual W-League season, then we’ve got one leading into the semi finals, and then February is really crunch time where we’re together for three straight weeks before we go to Japan.”
The Olympic qualifying tournament will take place in Osaka, Japan from 29 February – 9 March 2016.
The six-team qualifying tournament will see each team play five games in 10 days, with the top two countries at the end of the matches booking their place to 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in August.
Westfield Matildas training squad: Laura Alleway (Melbourne City), Tara Andrews (Newcastle Jets), Mackenzie Arnold (gk) (Perth Glory), Angela Beard (Brisbane Roar), Tameka Butt (Brisbane Roar), Ellie Carpenter (Western Sydney), Stephanie Catley (Melbourne City), Caitlin Cooper (Western Sydney), Larissa Crummer (Melbourne City), Lisa De Vanna (Melbourne City), Casey Dumont (gk) (Sydney FC), Emily Gielnik (Brisbane Roar), Katrina Gorry (Brisbane Roar), Michelle Heyman (Canberra United), Alanna Kennedy (Sydney FC), Chloe Logarzo (Newcastle Jets), Caitlin Munoz (Canberra United), Clare Polkinghorne (Brisbane Roar), Kyah Simon (Sydney FC), Emily van Egmond (FFC Frankfurt), Lydia Williams (gk) (Canberra United), Georgia Yeoman-Dale (Newcastle Jets).