A trio of Western United Liberty A-League Women stars have been in action on international duty after the conclusion of the domestic campaign.
Immediately after the Green and Black took part in the Liberty A-League Grand Final in its inaugural season, captain Jaclyn Sawicki jetted off to Cambodia to compete in the Southeast Asian Games with the Philippines.
Sawicki’s side was drawn into Group A alongside reigning champions Vietnam, Myanmar – who the Philippines defeated in the third-place play-off in 2021 – and Malaysia.
United’s No.4 came off the bench in the opening match against Myanmar having only arrive days prior, and it ended in frustrating fashion as the Philippines went down 1-0 to a late penalty.
With more time to prepare in camp, Sawicki was brought straight back into the starting line-up for the second match against Malaysia.
The Philippines pushed all game to find a goal and did so right at the death as fellow Liberty A-League star Sarina Bolden struck deep into stoppage time to secure a 1-0 win.
That brought the team into the final match of the group stage needing to defeat Vietnam and maintain a superior goal difference to Myanmar, or for Malaysia to take points off Myanmar in order to advance to the knockout stages.
Sawicki started again and her side got the job done with a brilliant 2-1 win, but Myanmar’s 5-1 win unfortunately meant they overtook the Philippines on goal difference and took the second qualification spot alongside Vietnam.
Those two sides went on to contest the final with Vietnam taking out a ninth title, adding to the Philippines’ frustration and sense of a missed opportunity in the competition.
Alen Stajcic will still take great confidence from the performances at the tournament, with the defeat of Vietnam set to carry the side into its historic first ever appearance at the FIFA World Cup.
As well as Sawicki, young guns Alana Cerne and Kahli Johnson have been away recently for a week-long training camp in Brisbane with the Australia Under 23’s.
This was Cerne’s first taste of an international camp, taking the opportunity to impress Leah Blayney and the coaching staff ahead of future opportunities in the green and gold.
Johnson is no stranger to international duty but this was her first look-in for her at Under 23’s level, an opportunity that she will use to continue her development on the pitch.
The winger has followed that camp up by being named in another Young Matildas squad as Blayney’s team heads to Vietnam in its bid to qualify for the 2024 AFC U20 Women’s Asian Cup.
Elsewhere across the Club, Noah Botic has been named in the Olyroos squad for the Maurice Revello Tournament in June, a prestigious youth international showcase held in France each year.
This will be the first time Australia competes at this tournament and will give Botic the chance to impress in the same competition that helped introduce the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Thierry Henry to the footballing world.
Earlier this week, Western United Academy talents Michael Vonja and Campbell Dovison were selected for an upcoming camp with the Joeys.
The pair will head into a two-week camp at the end of May, hoping to earn final selection in the squad for the AFC U17 Asian Cup to be held in Thailand in June.