The strong form of Matildas midfielder Katrina Gorry is one key area that the Matildas will be heartened by ahead of their second international friendly clash with Canada in Sydney on Tuesday.
The Matildas have plenty to work on after the 1-0 loss in Brisbane on Saturday, particularly in defence when the game opens up, but Gorry put her stamp on the key No.6 midfield role at Suncorp Stadium and was one of the side’s best.
Australian coach Tony Gustavsson has a theory on the value of the No.6 role in the team.
He said pre-game that “show me who the No.6 is and I will show you how the team plays”.
The coach was certainly happy with what he saw in Brisbane.
“She is a phenomenal quarterback in that six role and … grew into the game and dominated the midfield,” Gustavsson said.
“The thing I am surprised about is the physicality she brings in there. She doesn’t shy away from a tackle.”
Gorry took last year off to have her baby daughter Harper but is now back in the Matildas set-up and will be an integral member of the build-up to next year’s Women’s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand.
Gorry grew up in the Queensland capital and said she was thrilled to play for the national team for the first time at Suncorp Stadium.
“I am just disappointed that we came away with the loss,” Gorry said.
“For me I can always be better. I think I needed to control the midfield a bit better today and keep the ball a bit more. It is definitely something I will work on leading into the next game.”
Gustavsson said Gorry was being “too humble” in her own self-critical assessment.
The 30-year-old midfielder, who debuted for the Matildas in 2012, said she was determined to take her game to the next level when referencing what she wanted to bring to the table in the No.6 role.
“I think for me it is about working out where I can find the spaces in the different formations and how I can help the team that way, whether it is a bounce ball or getting on the ball straight away,” she said.
“Most of the play usually goes through the six and the midfield because we have such a strong attacking force, so if we can get the ball into the mid-field we usually create a lot of chances. That is where we can do a lot better.
“It is nice playing with Mary Fowler and Emily Van Egmond, just being able to play into the pockets and know they will do something special.”
Fowler, just 19, can work on her defence but Gustavsson said her attacking play was “phenomenal”.
Gorry agreed with that assessment.
“It is hard not to stop on the field and watch her work her magic. She can turn on a dime,” she said.
“I have loved watching her progress through the ranks the last couple of years and I can’t wait for the next few years.”