Remy Siemsen and Kyah Simon are at two very different stages of their Matildas careers but both are eager to make an impact at the Asian Cup in India.
Siemsen made her debut against the U.S.A this year and the Sydney FC striker is thrilled to be named in the 21 player squad.
“It’s my first major tournament with this squad,” said Siemsen to the media.
“It’s a complete honour for me. I’m just going to be going over and embracing the whole experience…and fulfill coming top of our group and also coming home with the silverware.”
Siemsen’s selection is the reward for her consistency and ability in the A-League Women. She has been the spearhead of a Sydney FC side that went undefeated in the first month of the season.
The Matildas have a star-studded attack and Siemsen is looking forward to being in the national team environment.
“It’s been quite a while since my last tournament, my last campaign was with the under 20’s national team so I’m very much looking forward to being back in a tournament setting.
“Obviously, tournament settings are quite different from friendlies and international friendlies. The turnaround is going to be quite quick.
“I hope that we have the depth that can come in and make an impact in every single game that we play. Every game is so crucial
“For me, I just want to go in and make an impact in any way that I can and develop my game in this environment. Hopefully, we can continue performing at our best and be lifting that silverware at the end of that tournament.”
“It’s been a long time between wickets for us”
Fellow striker Kyah Simon is a Matildas legend. She has scored at two World Cups and played in the last successful Asian Cup final. When the Matildas last won in 2010 they became the first Australian team to win an Asian Cup and Simon was the matchwinner.
At the age of 18, she stepped up to take the decisive penalty in the final. Even after 12 years, the excitement of a call-up remains.
“As a footballer in our region, the big three tournaments are the Asian cup, the World Cup, and the Olympic games.
“For me, it’s always an honour to represent our country and wear the green and gold no matter if it’s a friendly or a tournament and especially getting the opportunity to represent our country on the world stage with the girls and hopefully have the opportunity to win the Asian cup.
“It’s been a long time between wickets for us. Hopefully, we can repeat history and go over to India and be successful and bring home some silverware.”
As an experienced campaigner, Simon knows what it takes to be successful in tournament football.
“Hopefully we can get off to a good start, I know previous tournaments when we have done that, we build our confidence, and we get more confident as we go deeper into the tournament.
“So, I think that’s going to be crucial for us in the group stage.
“The first game is just as important as the last game, so for us, it’s maintaining that consistency throughout.
“If Tony rotates the squad we know we’ve got the players, whoever comes in we can keep the quality and maintain that standard And consistency throughout so that when it does come to the money end of the tournament we can still be fit and firing and hopefully playing our best football.”
Australia has come close since that famous win. They have made the final in the last two editions, losing to Japan both times in 2014 and 2018.
As somebody who has both won and lost at the highest level, Simon says success is all about the small details.
“I think when we’re in those high-pressure games it’s split decisions that can make a difference. In previous World Cups, it’s been a corner against us that cost us and we’ve lost 1-0.
“I think for us it’s the mentality that we can go on and win it. we have done it in the past so I think we can draw on confidence from that.
“But I think it’s also staying switched on and staying focused throughout each minute of every game…and not allowing complacency to creep in.
“We’ve definitely had our fair share of successful results but failures as well and we’ll be wanting to come out on the right side of this one.”
“That’s the point of the A-League Women’s”
Both players will miss games at club level. Simon has been given time off over Christmas by Tottenham Hotspur to refresh. Siemsen has been in the thick of the action with Sydney FC and is grateful to the club for supporting her Matildas dream.
“It’s definitely been a busy week balancing between Sydney FC and now being in the national team. Thankfully I have such supportive coaches and a team that has all been really excited for me that I get to make the trip over to the Asian cup.
“That’s the whole point of the A-League Women’s is for that exposure and those opportunities.
“Thankfully my club has given me the blessing to go over and play with the national team. Obviously ill be missing my Sydney FC teammates and I know that they’ll be capable of hopefully continuing an undefeated run in the A-League Women’s
“I’ll be cheering them on all the way from India. I just hope that I can focus now on the national team and put my best foot forward in that environment.”
Reflecting on her recent elevation to the senior squad, Siemsen is intent on making the most of every moment.
“It’s been a wild couple of months, I got a late call up for the Ireland camp then I made my debut on home soil, it’s all been a dream come true for me personally.
“I’m always wanting to represent my country at the highest level.
“To be able to do it with the players that I’m surrounded with, it’s very surreal for me. I was very honoured and privileged to be within this group and continuously to be selected has been a confidence boost for me.
“I just hope that I can come in and continue to grow as a footballer both on and off the pitch and learn as much as I can off the players who have been there for a number of years. For me, they’re some of the best players in the world so I consider myself very privileged to be in and around this environment and learning from the best week in and week out.”
Kyah Simon is one of those players. The 2010 champion was also the scorer of the historical win over Brazil in the 2015 World Cup. Her right foot has changed the course of Australian football on at least two occasions.
As somebody who has been there before, she is more than eager to step up again should the moment arrive.
“I never say no,” she says of the possibility of taking another penalty.
“I’ll be ready. I’m ready for any number in the order so wherever TG puts me.
“I’m happy to step up to the spot. I enjoy the pressure and I enjoy taking P.K’s, anywhere in the order, I’m happy to play my part.
“This only comes around every four years or so, I definitely know as a group we won’t be letting this slip by. Hopefully, we can go there and play some of our best football.”