LONG ROAD TO 100
At the ripe age of 19 she became a foundation player. Clare can remember the days when the Queensland Roar dominated women’s football and how she was apart of the very first grand final that saw Kate McShea lift the inaugural W-League Premiership and Championship trophy.
“I haven’t really thought about it to much until it was mentioned this week that it was my 100th,” Polkinghorne said.
“It’s just like any other game and most important for us this week is to get three points.”
“We always love playing at Suncorp, it’s a pretty special ground for Queensland sport and to be out there for the 100th game is pretty special as well,” she said.
The 27 year old has seen all the changes the W-League has gone through over the last nine seasons. She has seen matches go from being played at suburban stadiums to playing at Suncorp Stadium, from being shown on ABC to being broadcasted on Fox Sports as well.
While there is still a long way to go to get the W-League to the standard players and fans want it to be at, she believes there has already been big changes in the competition since season one.
“I think the biggest change in the quality of players playing in the league both Australian players and international players as well,” she said.
“In the last few seasons we have attracted some really big names internationally and the more higher quality players we can get into the league the better for everyone.
“Were getting a little bit more exposure which is good so if we keep continuing to go along that way, we are looking good for the future.
“We want to get to a point where females can play their sport professionally and all year round in this country,” she said.
One of her highlights in the W-League to date would be the introduction of Melbourne City in last season’s competition as they raised the standards and set a tone for the rest of the W-League.
“Since then I think clubs have started to try and match those standards and some are even aiming higher which is really good,”
“If we can get that as the baseline standard rather than the exception the league will just continue to grow and players will continue to grow.”
While Melbourne City may have been a highlight, she had a bit more trouble choosing between her most memorable moments with the Brisbane Roar.
“Anytime you win a championship and a premiership is pretty special, they are definitely up there but just…definitely the championships,” she laughed.
Her first match was a 4-1 win against Adelaide United and eight years, two months and 13 days after that debut, Brisbane Roar captain and Matildas’ co-captain Clare Polkinghorne will become the first player to reach 100 games in the W-League.
For many who follow the W-League or women’s football, Polkinghorne has become a name synonymous with the W-League. Much like the player herself, her presence has been a steady but influential one.
99 GAMES RECORD
A PLAYERS' PLAYER
Polkinghorne is the type of player young players look up to and one that parents would like their daughters to become. She is professional, strong willed, responsible, organised, intelligent and all round an fantastic footballer. She has set a standard for defenders and rarely has she fall below her own standard.
Polkinghorne is also the type of teammate most players love with her leadership, support and dependability.
Current and past teammates say it best:
In 100 games the accolades and accomplishments have been many:
- 2x W-League Premiership: 2008/09, 2012/13
- 2x Championship: 2008/09, 2010/11
- 5 Grand Final appearances
- Julie Dolan Medal for Player of the Year: 2012/13
Congratulations Clare Polkinghorne. One of the W-League’s great players and ambassadors.