PHOTO:  A new feel to the Matildas squad for Cyprus 

Last month Matildas head coach Hesterine de Reus named her squad for the 2014 Cyprus Cup.

The squad was released almost a year to the day of de Reus naming her first Matildas training camp.

It is de Reus' most experimental squad yet and almost immediately questions were raised on social media that have until now gone unanswered.

Club v Country

The biggest name absent is that of Championship winning Melbourne Victory striker Lisa De Vanna.

De Reus has stated that De Vanna's absence is attributed to "club commitments affecting her availability."

Foord and her Sydney FC teammate Sam Kerr, will complete the Cyprus Cup before heading over for the NWSL season, which commences on 13 April 2014.

The trio (De Vanna, Foord and Kerr) will also be unavailable for the Matildas April Gold Coast training camps and the two match Brazil series.

If selected, they will only join the final squad when they travel to Vietnam for the tournament.

All three have been vital players in the past year and preparing without them present will be challenge but de Reus is confident it can be managed.

"We will miss the strikers," she said.

"But at the same time it’s a great opportunity for other players to step up and take over positions so it will create a bit of competition."

"We will try to follow Caitlin, Lisa and Sam as much as we can in the US to see what happens with their fitness and form."

The "Club v Country" debate that has been long prevalent in men's football and is now one that national team coaches are starting to contend with in the women's game.

How this is navigated this time round could have ramifications for the 2015 World Cup, if Australia qualifies, with Stephanie Catley recently signing for the Portland Thorns, Katrina Gorry on the verge of finalising a contract with FC Kansas City while a number of other players are in negotiations with overseas clubs.

New Year, new faces

Other questions surrounded Brisbane Roar captain and Matildas vice captain Clare Polkinghorne.

Struggling with injury late in the season, Polkinghorne has not played since Round 11 of the W-League.

Despite being on match day team sheets, the influential Matilda is actually still one or two weeks away from returning to the pitch.

"She [Polkinghorne"] is still injured so needs a few weeks for her recovery," said de Reus.

"She was not able to travel with us but she will join us after Cyprus."

The two other veteran players whose absence were noted the two most capped current players; Heather Garriock and Melissa Barbieri.

Garriock had an injury interrupted season with her game time limited to the back end of the season.

Meanwhile Barbieri, the former captain, made a successful return to the W-League with Adelaide United, assisting them to their highest ever finish.

While both were influential members of their sides, the head coach stated that performances at a higher level are required from Garriock and Barbieri to return to international football.

"Comparing where they came from, it is a big compliment for both [Garriock and Barbieri] on how they worked themselves up to the stage where they are right now," stated de Reus.

"But the W-League is not the benchmark.  The international level is the benchmark and their fitness and form are not at that international level."

Reading between the lines, this appears to be the reasons for another questioned absentee Teresa Polias.

This is despite Polias being arguably the most consistent performer in the W-League for the past two seasons as she anchored the dynamic Sydney FC midfield and a mainstay of de Reus' squads last year (admittedly with little game time).

The absences of the above have opened the door for a number of new and returning players.

Newcastle Jets duo Gema Simon and Hannah Brewer, Melbourne Victory's Emma Checker, Sydney FC's trio Nicola Bolger, Casey Dumont and Leena Khamis to name a few.

For those returning to the national set up, they have an opportunity to make a case for Asian Cup selection.

For the Jets called up for the first national team, Checker and the Sky Blues trio, their impressive W-League seasons and performances at camp have paved their way.

"I have seen quite a lot of matches of Newcastle and every match I have seen those two girls [Simon and Brewer] were above the rest of the team so they performed really well every game.

"They performed their task really well and I think they could easily fit in the team."

"The first camp was a test case for them to see whether when the speed of the game goes up and they play with better players around them, if they still can compete."

De Reus has taken an extended 24 player squad (normally 20) to the Cyprus Cup with essentially two players for every position.

With three matches and six substitutions, all on the roster should have their chance to stake a claim for the seat on the plane in May.

Matildas Cyprus Cup Match Details

Netherlands v Australia

Wednesday, 5 March 2014

Kick Off: 11.30pm (AEDST)

Australia v France

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Kick Off: 2.30am (AEDST)

Australia v Scotland

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Kick Off: 2.30am (AEDST)