‘Be you. No pressure. Just be comfortable, play your game and focus.’
That’s been the message from Goalkeeper Coach Dale Hill to Brisbane Roar’s latest Liberty A-League debutant Isabella Shutleworth, who officially made the step up to the top level in unique circumstances last weekend.
With a clinical Adelaide United side already in control at Moreton Daily Stadium, 18-year-old Shuttleworth was thrown into the cauldron in the 68th minute when a painful collision left Mia Bailey unable to continue.
“It was very nerve-wracking,” Shuttleworth admitted.
“When Mia went down, I was thinking ‘oh nah, she’ll get up, it’s fine.’ Dale told me to warm up and get ready.
“I was a little bit nervous but I touched the ball really quickly which calmed me right down. I felt a bit more comfortable and thought: ‘I can do this.'”
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As the Roar head into their final four fixtures of the season, Shuttleworth will be one of three keepers vying for minutes alongside Bailey and Chantelle Symes, who has signed on as cover for the injured Georgie Worth.
The team’s penultimate home match pits them against Canberra United at Perry Park tonight.
It’s a venue that holds particularly fond memories for Shuttleworth thanks to her NPL Grand Final success there with Lions FC and her Watson-O’Connor Cup heroics for the Queensland State Team in 2020.
If selected, it will no doubt be a test coming up against the likes of Michelle Heyman, Ashleigh Sykes and Allira Toby in the Canberra attack.
“It is a little bit of challenge, seeing those players and knowing about them for a long time,” she said.
“But I always just try to focus on myself and not get too wrapped up in other things.”
Kick-off in tonight’s game is at 6:45pm, with gates open from 6:00pm.
Brisbane Roar v Canberra United
Friday, 18 February 2022
KO: 6:45pm (QLD)
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