Andreatta’s checklist to find the next Westfield Matilda star this season

IT’S a checklist designed to build a Matilda – from mental toughness to the in-game smarts that international football demands.

Every Australian in the W-League is on notice that they will be watched and assessed this season, with a chosen few given the chance to stake their claim for an international spot.

A host of qualities are required, the full checklist detailed by Westfield Matildas assistant coach Mel Andreatta after she hosted a camp for W-League players already identified as showing the necessary potential.

Andreatta and the rest of the Matildas staff are compiling background notes on the sort of players incoming head coach Tony Gustavsson could look at, ahead of the Olympics scheduled for next year and the World Cup on Australian soil in 2023.

Andreatta made clear that strong performances in the W-League will be the perfect argument for inclusion in Gustavsson’s plans, using the checklist of what it takes to make a Matilda.

“Their mentality – they have to have that mindset that they can take on anybody,” she said. “Be very attack-minded and want to play the game at a high tempo.

“Then, of course, what we know about our Matildas is their football intelligence – at the international level, when you’ve got less space and time, being able to perceive situations and make decisions quickly is vital.

“That’s a key quality that we need to see from young players, local players in this W-League season and for anyone who wants to take the step into the Matildas environment. Together with that football intelligence is the tactical awareness, the ability to execute those decisions that you are making.

“Those technical qualities are crucial, for attacking players, midfielders, defenders, being able to move the ball quickly. To eliminate lines going forward, always looking forward, but defensively too – we need defenders who can win duels, win their tackles and aerial duels, intercept passes and get the ball to a teammate.

“These are all the technical qualities that we’re looking for from those players.”
A group of more than 20 W-League players – from teens to established names such as Cassidy Davis and Natasha Digby – gathered in Canberra last week to be assessed by Matildas staff, but Andreatta was at pains to underline how wide the search would be.

“There’s others too that unfortunately weren’t able to come into camp and that’s why we’ll be monitoring and evaluating players’ performances (in the W-League) as well,” she said.

“We all know that it’s not just one camp. It’s giving players the opportunity, the environments, the key ingredients to take that talent to another level.”