Matildas great Emily van Egmond made a sensational return to the Liberty A-League on Sunday, scoring a goal and providing an assist for Newcastle Jets in a 3-2 loss to Melbourne City.
The midfielder was only unveiled by the Jets on a four-game guest stint on Friday, but seamlessly slotted into the starting XI and had a hand in two goals in the opening 32 minutes to give her side a surprise lead against a City outfit who are among the most fancied in the competition.
Ultimately, Dario Vidosic’s City were too strong, with young gun Holly McNamara scoring a dramatic 92nd-minute winner, but Van Egmond’s class stood out as she played a full 90 minutes.
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“It’s just the measure of what a great international player she is,” Matildas legend Alicia Ferguson said on Dub Zone.
“She’s had a great season with San Diego Wave. they won the NWSL Championship plate under Casey Stoney – very experienced former England international, but Emily’s game, vision and playing in passes and those angle passes.
“She came up with a goal nice and composed. She could’ve got another one… but that is what this team needs as well. They’re a young team and they need that experience and they need Emily who is a winner.
“… It’s that level of professionalism and winning mentality.”
Sydney FC icon Teresa Polias added: “Yeah instant impact and great to see Emily pick up where she’s left off and what a player to have around that camp for those youngsters.
“They’ll see her in and around the training ground, on and off the pitch – it’s invaluable.”
Immediately, Van Egmond transformed a young Newcastle side into one who looked competitive, providing an uplift for her coach – and dad – Gary Van Egmond.
The 30-year-old has 137 caps for the Matildas to her name and remains a fixture of Tony Gustavsson’s side, who face Canada in a pair of friendlies next month to cap off a stellar 2023 that saw them reach a World Cup semi-final on home soil.