The Westfield Matildas came to Newcastle to play against one of the world’s best teams, Brazil, on a roll after their success at the Tournament of Nations.
With the state gripped with Matildas fever in the lead up to the game, children had the opportunity to meet the Matildas with a meet and greet session at the Rooftop at Westfield Kotara on Sunday 17th September.
Children got the chance to meet Casey Dumont, Amy Harrison and Caitlin Cooper while getting photos and autographs with their heroines.
Northern NSW Football (NNSWF) ALDI MiniRoos Development Officer Tom Oldaker attended the day and took along the ALDI inflatable shooting target. Children had the chance to win a family pass to the Matildas v Brazil game by taking turns on the target.
The day was great and well received by the Newcastle locals.
“Giving children the opportunity to meet their idols was a great initiative by Westfield and the FFA.” Oldaker said.
The night before the game saw the Matildas hold an open training session and gave children and parents the chance to watch their idols train. The evening was attended by around 500 supporters and even saw an all-girls team make the journey from Mullumbimby on the Far North Coast.
The evening of the game saw over 800 girls, most of them ALDI MiniRoos players, take part in a pre-game march past around McDonald Jones Stadium, where the girls got to parade around the field with banners showing their support for the Matildas.
“Seeing the excitement on the girls faces is what giving players these sorts of opportunities is all about,” Oldaker said.
The involvement of our ALDI MiniRoos didn’t stop at the march past as girls from Kotara South Junior Football Club assisted as player mascots. Clubs who had achieved Level 1 National Club Accreditation or above were selected to participate in half time games; these clubs included players from Cooks Hill United FC, Garden Suburb SC, Lochinvar Rovers FC, Mayfield United JSFC, New Lambton FC and Warners Bay FC who all got the opportunity to play on the field at half time.
The supporters turned out for the game in their masses with a record crowd of 16,829 attending the match. The Matildas didn’t let the supporters down either with a well-deserved 3-2 win.
“The past 10 days have been a fantastic showcase of women’s football across Northern NSW. We held the inaugural NNSWF Women’s State Cup on the weekend of the 22nd – 24th September and the Matildas came to Newcastle and put on an incredible performance on the 19th,” NNSWF Female Participation Officer Nyssa Suchanow said
“Women’s Football is going from strength to strength, with MiniRoos participation growing year on year for females,” Suchanow continued.
“The Matildas are on a high and more fans are engaging with them than ever before; we will work hard to capitalise on this moment in time to ensure we are providing more opportunities for female grassroots players to engage with the world game,” Suchanow concluded.