After a championship-winning undefeated run at the AFF U18 Women’s Championship, the CommBank Junior Matildas arrived home to Sydney, trophy in hand, to the cheers of family, friends and media.
Captain of the CommBank Junior Matildas and Best Player of the tournament, Shay Hollman, described the tournament as unforgettable.
“The experience was insane. I’ll never forget that moment of hearing the final whistle blow and having all the girls run together. It was absolutely incredible and I’m so proud of everyone, we did it for the country and couldn’t be happier,” she said.
After three years of international absence, the CommBank Junior Matildas collected an undefeated run of five games before lifting the trophy, with only one goal scored against them from an audacious free-kick by Myanmar in the third match.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Hollman said of how excited she and the team were to don the green and gold for the first time.
“We’d had heaps of training camps, so we were prepared, but to go away as a proper team and actually compete and put the Australian kit on, was really surreal.”
The winning mentality of the squad was evident throughout the tournament, with Head Coach Rae Dower consistently speaking about her confidence in the CommBank Junior Matildas’ ability to bring home the trophy.
This confidence was something that had also been deeply instilled in the players and was on display when Hollman was asked if the team had always believed they would be crowned champions.