Belinda Wilson takes charge of the U17s for the first time | (Credit: Craig Stockdale) Belinda Wilson takes charge of the U17s for the first time | (Credit: Craig Stockdale)

The Australian U17s are set to continue their preparations for next month's AFC U16 Championships with a three game series against New Zealand starting 11 August 2013.

The series will be Belinda Wilson's first international in charge since taking over the Head Coach position of the U17s national team.

Since qualifying for the AFC U16s Championships in November last year, the squad has had to endure upheaval with Wilson the third coach to lead the team after Linton's departure and interim coach Alen Stajcic.

[More: Wilson appointed U17s Matildas Coach]

In the time since her appointment, Wilson has been busy overseeing the compilation of the squad relying on recommendations from National Training Centre (NTC) coaches and regular camps at the AIS.

However, the upcoming New Zealand series will be the Brisbane Roar coach's first chance to test the progression of the team.

"For me personally, it's [the series] just to see where the squad is at in terms of what we have been working on in the camp environment," said Wilson.

"To see how much they have understood and translated that onto the field and to see some different combinations working together."

Opponentts New Zealand have also undergone transition in their coaching ranks with former Canberra United coach Jitka Klimkova now at the helm of the Young Football Ferns.

[More: Klimkova set to depart Canberra]

"It's a little bit ironic," laughed Wilson. "Jitka was the first coach I came up against in the W-League and now she will be the first coach I come against at international level."

"I have known Jitka since the World Cup in 2011, where we first met, so she is a good friend and a good coach.  I can only hope we are both successful in what we are trying to achieve."

Friendship aside, the matches against the Trans-Tasman rivals are an important final hit out for the squad before departing for the Championships late next month.

While the camps have been numerous, like for many Australian teams, matches against international sides are hard to come by.  Earlier in the year the U17s undertook a tour to South Korea for a 3 game series against the 2010 U17 World Champions.  While Wilson considered it an invaluable experience, much has changed since then.

"I want to see how the girls react to the pace of international football.  We learned a lot when we went to South Korea but New Zealand play a slightly different way to what we are used to in this country."

"Their approach to the game and how they play the game is again different. New Zealand are a physical country and it is good preparation as China are also physical."

China, the host nation, have been drawn in Australia's group alongside Bahrain. With the group winner the only country to qualify, the final group match against China on 30 September is set up to be make or break for Australia's World Cup qualification.

"The China game will be physical and technical but it can also be a mental game with them."

"They are at home and they will try and use that home pitch advantage and we have to be stronger than that."

But first up is what is traditionally a tough series for Trans-Tasman bragging rights.

The U17s squad will be announced later this week before entering camp from 9 – 18 August.

Australia U17s v New Zealand U17s - International Match Schedule

Game 1

Australia v New Zealand

Sunday 11 August, 2013

AIS Athletic Field, Canberra

Kick Off: 2.30pm (local time)

Please note: This is a closed door match only open to authorised media


Australia v New Zealand

Wednesday 14 August, 2013

Venue: TBC

Kick Off: 2.30pm (local time)

Game 3

Australia v New Zealand

Saturday 17 August, 2013

AIS Athletic Field, Canberra

Kick Off: 2.30pm (local time)

Young Football Ferns Squad: Abigail ROPER, Emily HANRAHAN, Elizabeth ANTON, Geena GROSS, Kaitlin BARROTT, Sophie STEWART, Hope GILCHREST, Deven JACKSON, Isabella RICHARDS, Bella KINGI, Daisy CLEVERLEY, Emma CAWTE, Isbella COOMBES, Hann ENGLISH, Ashley ARQUETTE, Milly HAWKINS, Paige SATCHELL, Emily OOSTERHOFF, Jade PARRIS, Martine PUKETAPU