More than 900 MiniRoos took to McDonald Jones Stadium on Friday ready to take part in the Matildas’ Olympic qualifier against Vietnam.
The night started with an incredible 800 kids from 23 Northern NSW Football Member Clubs participating in our Little Legends Lap. Clubs travelled from near and far with MiniRoos in tow to start the festivities. The Little Legends Lap saw the 800 kids and coaches do a lap of the field carrying signs, banners and decked to the nines in their green and gold. The Little Legends finished their lap and headed to the stands to secure a prime seat before kick-off!
From there we headed into the players’ tunnel where we spotted 22 representatives of our local 5 star accredited clubs under the National Club Development Program waiting to be our player mascots. Our player mascots would have the privilege of walking out with our Westfield Matildas and their Vietnamese counterparts. Smiles beamed on the young MiniRoos faces as they saw their heroes line up next to them ready to walk out. The stadium buzzed with excitement and anticipation as more than 14,000 dedicated fans waited for our favourite female footballers to take the field. The cheers grew as players and their MiniRoos walked hand in hand onto the field. The atmosphere was electric and the Matildas had been officially welcomed to town.
As we settled in for the first half it wasn’t long before the ball found its way off Sam Kerr’s head and into the back of the net to give Australia the early lead. With Vietnam now on the back foot and down 1-0 within 10 minutes, they’d have to work hard to get back in the game. Fortunately for the Matildas, their game play was too strong and saw Chloe Logarzo and Emily Van Egmond net goals before the break.
Now it was time for our MiniRoos to take the stage and show off their incredible football skills as part of the MiniRoos Halftime Heroes. We had 60 kids from various clubs across our region take to the field to show Newcastle what our next generation of footballers can do. There were plenty of fantastic tackles, great passes and some show-stopping goals that could challenge those scored by the Matildas in the first half. The time came for us to leave the field but there were no sad faces as we knew the Matildas would quickly be returning for a big second half.
Leading into the second half fans were anticipating more action and cheers grew as the Matildas continued to dominate. The second half would see Clare Polkinghorne score a goal from a lovely pass in from Van Egmond and Kerr convincingly put away a late penalty. The game ended 5-0 and the Matildas proved again why they deserve to be at the front of football in Australia. With the road to Tokyo well on track, we look forward to continuing to support the Matildas in their Olympic journey.
A HUGE thank you to all the clubs and volunteers involved on the night. This experience wouldn’t exist without all your hard work. To read more on the clubs please click below:
Little Legends Lap – Port Saints FC, Metford Cobras FC, Lochinvar Rovers FC, Weston Junior FC, Thornton Junior FC, Cardiff Junior FC, Kotara South FC, Raymond Terrace SC, Adamstown Rosebud Junior FC, Swansea FC, Mayfield Junior SFC, Greta Branxton FC, Belmont FC, Maitland Junior FC, Rutherford FC, Kahibah FC, South Wallsend Junior FC, Emerging Jets, Cooks Hill United FC, Macquarie SAP, Stockton Sharks FC, Edgeworth Junior SC, Gresford Vacy FC