Slatyer back in the Matildas fold | TWG
The last time the Australian Women's National team qualified for the Olympic Games was back in 2004.
Then Adrian Santrac was the coach, Cheryl Salisbury was captain and the likes of Joanne Peters, Dianne Alagich and Gill Foster were still taking the pitch.
Only five players of that squad have survived to 2011 and one of those is centre back Thea Slatyer.
Slatyer, along with Sarah Walsh, missed out on World Cup selection due to a knee injury. Although she retained her fitness and skills by competing with the NSW Institute of Sports football programme, she's the first to admit its not the same as being in the Matildas squad.
"It feels good to be back in the team and fit and healthy," Slatyer stated.
"I am really excited and really want to put on a great performance and get a good outcome."
During Australia's World Cup campaign, at times she was sorely missed. Her defensive positioning, nous, commanding personality and international experience will all be a welcome addition to the Matildas back line.
"I just want to come in and do the best I can and hopefully bring a bit of experience into the back line," said Slatyer.
"Obviously this will be a different tournament to the World Cup as it's just against Asian teams."
"We have just got to keep it tight at the back. We look to communicate a lot and keep the back four very tight."
Four years ago the Matildas found themselves in a similar position after a World Cup quarter-finals appearance. However, that time they were unable to overcome their AFC counter parts to take the two Olympic berths on offer.
"We have come a long way since the last Olympic qualifiers," Slatyer asserts.
"I think we have developed a lot since then and we know we a good shot at most tournaments. We are now a really dynamic, skilful, versatile and mobile team."
"Four years ago to defeat North Korea was a pretty hard feat. I think we have a lot more confidence now and are really backing ourselves."
Slatyer is not the only one to lament their last qualifying campaign. Captain Melissa Barbieri, AOC Ambassador Sally Shipard, veteran Heather Garriock and Lisa De Vanna will all be looking for another chance at Olympic glory.
"A handful of us went to the Athens Olympics and to not qualify for Beijing and that was just heartbreaking."
"We have waited eight years to be in this position now so we don’t want to let it go."