Cortnee Vine: Building confidence & hitting the heights

Prior to the international window, ImpetusBen Gilby had the opportunity to put questions 1:1 to Sydney FC’s Australian international Cortnee Vine (24/2/23).

Above: Cortnee Vine in action for Australia against South Africa last October. Photo: Justine Burch for Impetus.

Whether it be dancing her way up the flank, supplying pinpoint crosses, or deadly finishes, Cortnee Vine is at the peak of her powers. One of the few domestically based players in the Australian national squad, Vine is making her mark on the international stage, evidenced by a sensational strike against Spain last weekend.

Yet, not so long ago, the Sydney FC star tore her medial collateral ligament which was a challenging experience. However, she returned to have a sensational A-League Women campaign with the Harbour City side which led to her first senior international call-up. Vine reflected on the impact of her injury and how her love of her club got her back on the saddle.

Above: Cortnee Vine driving towards goal for Sydney FC against Melbourne City this season. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

“Going through any injury is always tough,” Vine told Impetus. “You have ups and downs during rehab and motivation comes and goes as well. My motivation came from wanting to get back out there with the Sydney FC girls that I love and enjoy playing with. It’s honestly such an enjoyable environment, it motivated me to be back so much.”

That support network and resulting motivation drove Vine to be the dominant player over the first half of the last A-League Women campaign. She revealed how she benefitted from that saying, “It was really pleasing to look back and realise how big of a season and year it was.

“I had and have so much support around me that fuels me because I know my teammates, family, and friends back me no matter what and I think that started to show last season. As a team, we did so well and have for the last few years. It’s always so nice to win silverware.

Last season netted Sydney FC another Premiers Plate and Grand Final place, but although the club have now suffered three straight Grand Final losses, the 24-year-old doesn’t believe that they need to change much to pick up the trophy this time round.

Above: Saluting another goal for Sydney FC this season. Photo: Sydney FC.

“As a team, we always strive for the Premiers plate and cherish that the same if not more than the grand final. The final series is a whole different game, I think if we get the opportunity again, we just need to keep doing what we are doing and what we’ve done for the last few years, and give it our all if we get the opportunity again.”

Through 2022 the attacker became a regular in the Matildas camp, something that she feels has caused her to consider her impact on the domestic club competition.

“I think it has actually brought pressure to perform in the A-League now that I’m being seen at an international level. Having said that, I think it has helped with my mental side of the game and my confidence.”

Vine has benefitted from having two very experienced coaches in Ante Juric at club level and Tony Gustavsson for country. She made it clear to me that the amount of confidence that both have in her is a major contributing factor to her producing her best football.

“I love Ante. He is one of my favourite coaches I’ve ever had. He is a big reason I am where I am, right now. He’s backed me ever since I joined Sydney FC and has been the reason Sydney FC has been so successful. Tony is (also) great, he’s very nice and welcoming, he backs me and gives me confidence at club land and on the international stage

Above: Cortnee Vine has become a regular for the Australian national side over the past 12 months. Photo: Kris Goman for Impetus.

Sydney FC have been so successful for so long – making six of the last seven Grand Finals. One of the keys behind this is an ability to retain the core of their players at the end of each season, and for Vine, it’s the team ethos that ensures this happens.

“We all just get along so well. We are best mates off the field and do a lot away from the field together. It makes training so enjoyable when you get to train with your best mates!”

As the A-League Women heads into its final six weeks of regular season matches, the Sydney FC attacker is happy with how things are going, with Finals football almost certain to be attained once more. However, the Australian international believes that the competition has yet to see the team at their best.

“I think we are still growing as a team each and every game. We have a young squad that is still learning and improving. We have been playing some great football that has been so enjoyable to be a part of!”

Artwork: Charlotte Stacey, founder of On Her Side.

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