Four A-Leagues debutants and Galabadaarachchi among fresh faces in Matildas squad

Liberty A-League quartet Mackenzie Hawkesby, Winonah Heatley, Matilda McNamara and Taylor Ray are in line for their international debuts after being called up by the Matildas, while uncapped Celtic star Jacynta Galabadaarachchi is also in the squad.

The Matildas are scheduled to face Spain (June 26 AEST) and Portugal (June 29 AEST) in a pair of international friendlies this month, and there are fresh faces in the 24-player squad with superstar captain Sam Kerr among the key names rested.

Hawkesby, Adelaide United’s McNamara and Sydney FC midfielder Ray will feature in senior training camp for the first time, while uncapped duo Heatley (Melbourne City) and Galabadaarachchi could make their Australia bows as English PFA Players’ Player of the Year Kerr, Steph Catley, Alanna Kennedy, Caitlin Foord, Kyah Simon, Hayley Raso and Mary Fowler headline the absentees.

There is also a return for Larissa Crummer after four years – the 26-year-old suffered a horrific leg break in 2019 and missed almost two years of football.

“This upcoming camp and international window is a big opportunity for many players in the squad selected,” said Matildas head coach Tony Gustavsson with the 2023 Women’s World Cup on the horizon.

“I am excited to see the group in action and witness how we can rise to the challenge as a team and as individuals.

“Spain and Portugal are quality nations in the final stages of their preparations for one of the biggest trophies in women’s football and they will be a tough challenge in many aspects of the game.”

Sydney FC’s Hawkesby was crowned the club’s 2021-22 Player of the Year after the Sky Blues romped to a record fourth A-League Women Premiership.

With Hawkesby, Princess Ibini, Rachel Lowe and Ray, six members of Sydney’s back-to-back ALW Premiership-winning team are in the squad.

As for Galabadaarachchi – who is also eligible to play for Argentina and Italy, the trophy-winning A-Leagues graduate will assemble in camp after winning the Scottish Players’ Association Young Player of the Year award and Celtics Player of the Season honour.

Veteran goalkeeper Lydia Williams, meanwhile, could join the century club, with the 99-cap international poised to become the first female Australian shot-stopper to make 100 appearances and only the second ever keeper to do so alongside Mark Schwarzer.

Gustavsson added: “As we draw closer to the commencement of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Australia and New Zealand 2023, all our decision-making is centred around the strongest possible preparation for all players vying to be a part of 23 in 23.

“Selection for this June squad has been based on a combination of factors but ultimately it has been about individualising player programs with a long-term view. In preparing the specialised plans, we have evaluated where the players currently are and where they will need to be and determined the best course of action for each player.

“For some players, this has meant being a part of these invaluable matches with Spain and Portugal providing a chance to demonstrate how they can make our team stronger. For another cohort, it results in being proactive around reoccurring ailments and re-establishing a fitness baseline without the need to focus on peaking for matches.

“This is a crucial period in our groundwork for next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup and there has been a true collaboration between players and staff to ensure we capitalise on the opportunities to position us well for 2023.”

Match Details

Spain v Australia
Sunday, June 26
5:30am AEST
Venue: Estadio Nuevo Colombino
Broadcast: Network 10, 10 Play and Paramount+

Portugal v Australia
Wednesday, June 29
6:00am AEST
Venue: Estadio Antonio Coimbra da Mota
Broadcast: Network 10, 10 Play and Paramount +

Matildas squad


Mackenzie Arnold, Teagan Micah, Lydia Williams.


Angela Beard, Charlotte Grant, Winonah Heatley, Matilda McNamara, Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne.


Alex Chidiac, Emily van Egmond, Katrina Gorry, Mackenzie Hawkesby, Taylor Ray, Amy Sayer, Clare Wheeler, Tameka Yallop.


Larissa Crummer, Jacynta Galabadaarachchi, Emily Gielnik, Princess Ibini, Rachel Lowe, Remy Siemsen, Cortnee Vine.