The Matildas' first opponents, New Zealand's Football Ferns, have released their roster for the upcoming Tokyo 2021 Olympic Games and its packed with W-League stars.
The Kiwi team is filled with a number of current and former W-League players. Four players named as regular team members played in Australia for the 2020-21 season.
Paige Satchell was a regular starter with Canberra United, featuring in ten matches this past year. Olivia Chance likewise was a starter but with the Brisbane Roar. She featured nine times, scoring two goals.
Claudia Bunge and Annalie Longo were both integral members of this past year’s Melbourne Victory’s championship winning team, featuring fourteen and eight times respectively.
A notable W-League Kiwi player excluded is Rebekah Stott. The Melbourne City defender, five time W-League winner and 109 capped Kiwi player is currently undergoing treatment for cancer.
Another notably excluded player is Rosie White, currently signed to the OL Reign. She is battling a chronic illness.
For his Tokyo squad coach Tom Sermanni has chosen a mixture of veterans and young players.
Four players will be attending their fourth Olympic Games: Ali Riley, Abby Erceg, Ria Percival and Anna Green.
Two players recently featured in their first major tournament, the 2018 U-17 FIFA Women’s World Cup: Gabi Rennie and Anna Leat. Both are currently playing their soccer in the US collegiate system, alongside Daisy Cleverley.
The team will be the Matildas' first meeting at the Olympics, opening their respective tournaments on July 21.
The last time the Football Ferns beat their Trans-Tasman rivals was in 1994.
With Sweden and the USA being the other two teams to face in Olympic group G, it will arguably be a hard battle for the Ferns to exit the group stage.
The following is a full list of the squad:
-CJ Bott (Vålerenga/NOR)
-Katie Bowen (KC NWSL/USA)
-Claudia Bunge (Melbourne Victory/AUS)
-Olivia Chance (Brisbane Roar/AUS)
-Daisy Cleverley (UC Berkely/USA)
-Abby Erceg (North Carolina Courage/USA)
-Anna Green (Capital Football/Wellington, NZ)
-Betsy Hassett (Stjarnan/ICE)
-Anna Leat (Georgetown University/USA)
-Annalie Longo (Melbourne Victory/AUS)
-Meikayla Moore (Liverpool FC/ENG)
-Erin Nayler (Reading FC/ENG)
-Ria Percival (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG)
-Gabi Rennie (Indiana University/USA)
-Ali Riley (Orlando Pride/USA
-Paige Satchell (Canberra United/AUS)
-Hannah Wilkinson (MSV Duisbur/GER)