Photo: Getty Images
By Anita Antunovich
Number 10 for the Jets is the tenacious strike weapon, Rhali Dobson. Hailing from Wauchope in NSW’s Mid North region, Rhali began playing football for her local team at the age of five.
Her hometown and local club remains one of her greatest supporters. “The ongoing support from Wauchope is very special to me and on the tough days and games it keeps me going.”
“They have backed me from the get go,” explained Rhali.
Rhali proved a natural to the game and by the age of 14 was selected for the Australian under-17 team and at just 16 years of age Rhali earned her first Westfield W-League contract with the Newcastle Jets in 2008. Despite bearing a niggling injury, Rhali went on to play an entire season with the Jets.
“In all honestly, I should have never played that season. I was not ready physically – I was recovering from a fractured tibia!” explained Rhali.
But in true Rhali fashion, she “was determined to not let a leg fracture get in my way of playing at a high level and doing Wauchope and myself proud”.
Rhali spent the next two years commuting to Newcastle to play for the Jets as she continued to complete her high school studies in Wauchope.
Following the completion of her HSC, Rhali relocated to Newcastle in 2011 to pursue a degree in Occupational Therapy, of which she graduated from last year. It was not long after moving to Newcastle that opportunity to play football presented itself within the Herald Women’s Premier League (WPL).
After a strong 2013 off season with the WPL, becoming acknowledged as the competition’s leading scorer, had helped propel her back into the Jets squad for the 6th consecutive year and a dream call-up to the Matildas in 2014.
“My overall [career] highlight would be in 2014 – my senior debut with the Matildas against Brazil and winning.”
“I would have never have achieved this without the help of my former coach, Pete McGuiness.”
“I got my Australian Matildas Cap and played some of the best soccer of my Jets career between 2013.14 and 2014.15,” Rhali stated.
Her time at the Jets has seen her become a mentor to many of the younger players that have come through the ranks, “because I know what it felt like to be young” and away from home, “a child at that age should not live away from home at such an impressionable and vulnerable time,” Rhali explained.
She continued, “I love playing for the Jets because of the supporters and the local community,
“I would not be at this club if it was not for them adopting me as one of their own and continuously supporting me as one of their primary players”.
Coach Craig Deans said he and Rhali “spoke at the end of last year and this year about her performance, Rhali was keen to do better and I was eager to find ways of improving her play”.
“Last year she started well, but got injured. Although there are limited spots in attack this season, Rhali has come back strong and proved this by getting a goal – which will be good for her confidence.”
ON THE FIELD
Rhali is known for her lightning quick speed and relentless attack. She often seen coming out of nowhere and swooping in on the opposing teams defence, pressuring their play until she gains possession.
Rhali has started the last two games for Newcastle Jets Women and has shown her dominance in those two games.
Winning the Newcastle Jets Women’s Gold Boot in 2014, Rhali is no stranger when it comes to scoring, and her hope for the season is to “score lots of goals” and to also work her “way back into the Aussie squad”.
OFF THE FIELD
When Rhali isn’t playing football, or training for the Jets she is working in her chosen field as an occupational therapist! However, when Rhali does have a spare five minutes in her very busy schedule, she enjoys a bit of down time, which includes reading books and spending quality time with her long-term partner.