The Australian women's national team is in Brisbane this week as they prepare for the Cup of Nations which kicks off in Sydney on Thursday night.

With just a matter of a few days to get to grips with the task in hand, Milicic has been trying to keep it business as usual on the pitch, while the Matildas try to be as positive as possible off the pitch.

 "He's been brilliant," said Matildas veteran defender Steph Catley after one of her first training sessions under Milicic.


"He come in with a lot of fresh ideas and brings a real intensity to training every session is quite short, sharp at the moment, but we are getting everything we need to in.

"It's still early days. We're still getting to know him as a coach and just working on basics and technical stuff.

"Everyone is learning a lot and seems to be buzzing for this tournament."

Team-mate Alanna Kennedy added: "Training sessions have been really tough, but a really positive environment.

"It's still the Australian way but it more of a different environment. It's a refreshing change and a bit of a clean slate for everyone.

"No matter what coach comes in, it is the flair that the players bring...and the coach obviously works with that.

"Everyone is really excited to get some games under our belt. Everyone's been on their toes and competitive."

The Cup of Nations gets underway when Argentina takes on Korea at 4.35pm at Leichhardt Oval before Australia plays New Zealand at 7.30pm. Thursday night's games were due to be played at Jubilee Oval in Kogarah but the venue was switched at the last moment over concerns about the quality of the pitch.

But while the Cup of Nations is the immediate concern for the Matildas, all eyes are on the main prize and the Women's World Cup in June.

With a new coach in charge, all places could be up for grabs and everyone is keen to impress – and more importantly vie for a real chance of becoming World Champions.

"We've been building towards this for a long time," said Catley. "I think we've been considered a young team and a team that's up and coming for a long time.

"But now we're all a bit older and a lot more experienced. We've got a couple of World Cups under our belt and Olympics, lots of major tournament – so we're going into this tournament thinking that we're definitely a strong contender.

"We're definitely going out to win."