Kennedy & Raso Reflect Ahead of NZ Clash

Impetus’ Ben Gilby heard from Australia’s Manchester City stars Alanna Kennedy and Hayley Raso at their media conference at the Matildas Townsville training base today (5/4/22).

Above: The Matildas training in Townsville. Photo supplied to Impetus by: Football Australia.

Above: Alanna Kennedy captured at today’s Matildas media conference in Townsville. Photo: Football Australia.

Alanna Kennedy spoke to the media today in Townsville ahead of Australia’s friendly with New Zealand on Friday and instantly noted the different weather conditions from those she left behind in the North-West of England.

“Townsville is a bit different from Manchester! It’s nice and warm (currently 32c), so different from Manchester.”

Kennedy and her Manchester City team-mate Hayley Raso travelled to Townsville for the friendlies with New Zealand together, and had to endure a very long journey.

“It was 30 hours on four different flights, but it’s part of the job coming from Australia, we’re both just happy to be here. We flew from London to Darwin, to Sydney then Brisbane, and to Townsville. It’s important for us to be here and play in front of new crowds.

“We know the best way of managing it – looking after our bodies, nutrition, hydration. We’re here quite early ahead of Friday’s game, so hopefully, that’ll stand us in good stead. You never get used to it, but we know what to expect and how to deal with it.”

As usual with the Matildas having players spread all across the world, the beginning of international camps are hindered to an extent with players arriving in dribs and drabs over three days, a situation which Kennedy recognizes as awkward.

“It’s tough with different players coming in at different times. The whole squad are not here until tomorrow. Some are on their second session today, and some like me are here for the first day. We’ve played with each other for a long time and you adapt quickly. We are so comfortable in this environment. Experienced players coming in from overseas know their role and it’s a smooth transition.”

With these games being Australia’s first since their disappointing early exit from the Asian Cup, the Manchester City star highlighted some of the key elements that have come out of the post-tournament review.

“It was important to see what we could do better. Everyone who was there knows what we went through and how to make things better. We just need to move forward from there now and put it right.

“We need to be more composed in the final third. We had plenty of time after Korea scored their goal. We could have been better at staying composed when trying to get back in that game. There was a lot of focus on the final minutes of the final match and we were so disappointed with that as we were ready to go further and deeper into the tournament.

“In terms of looking at the aspect of depth in our team, I think that was a focus between the Olympics and the Asian Cup. Now we’re into the final few camps before the World Cup, we need to work on the continuity of players and work on the cohesion.”

Above: Hayley Raso speaking to the media in Townsville today. Photo: Football Australia.

Hayley Raso revealed that, despite the marathon journey on four flights from England, she’s feeling good.

“I actually had quite a good sleep on the way, so it’s not too bad. I feel like I’m used to it now. It’s just about recovery, sleep, and nutrition really.”

The Queenslander reflected on the disappointment of the Asian Cup and how positive she is that the team ethos will see them bounce back in style across these two matches with New Zealand.

“We’ve come into camp and when everyone gets here, we’ll get into things in more detail. It’s tough coming off the Asian Cup when we were looking to have done better. We went into it looking to win, we said that and we fell short. We’ve come back together, analyzed it, and now need to step up to take it into these games with New Zealand. We’re a group that sticks together and fights.”

Focusing specifically on the first of the two games with the Football Ferns in Townsville on Friday, Raso said: “We haven’t been here before and we need to put on a good performance for the new fans. We want to put on a show for them. We love playing in the hot weather, it’s very hot and very humid, but as Aussies, we thrive on it!”

The Manchester City winger also suggested that she feels that the return of Katrina Gorry adds even more armoury to the Matildas line-up. “I feel like we have a strong squad at the moment, a lot of depth. We’ve brought in a lot of young players, experimented, and we’re in a good place. Bringing Katrina Gorry back in is great too. Katrina is a real athlete, a workhorse in the midfield. She also provides more depth for our team. We’ve also seen some absolute banger goals she’s scored and she can add that to our squad.”

Above: All smiles on the training pitch in Townsville today. Photo provided to Impetus by: Football Australia.

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