Clare Polkinghorne: "the focus is on ourselves"

Ahead of the Commonwealth Bank Matildas second match at the AFC Women's Asian Cup, defender Clare Polkinghorne is hoping the team brings much of the same intensity they did against Indonesia.

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The 18-0 result has created a positive vibe around the group and was the best way to dispel any opening game nerves. 

"We managed to control those [nerves] and got a good result out of the first game," Polkinghorne said.

"I think the performance was exactly what we needed for the group. Everyone's really looking forward to going out there tomorrow and putting on another good performance."

The Philippines present a tough opponent who will also be feeling very positive following their 1-0 win over Thailand on matchday one. 

"They're coming off a good win. They'll be really up for this game. And for us, the focus is on ourselves and making sure that we improve the areas that we want to improve on and continue to perform the way we have in the tournament."

Tournament football means tight turnarounds and a need for good squad depth.

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Polkinghorne believes the squad assembled in India has the right amount of youth and experience to navigate the tricky schedule. 

"Obviously, it's a bit of a challenge to back up game after game and that's something that we've had a lot of experience at.

"I think the key for us is the depth of our squad. We've got a lot of players who can step in and do a job, no matter what position or what game.

"I think that's going to be key for us, everyone being ready when they're called upon and people are ready to do that."

Depth not only plays a key role in tournament but allows the players to be met where they're at. For Polkinghorne, that meant she was able to play 45 minutes as she works her way back from an injury. 

"It was good to get my first game under my belt for a couple of months. It's going to be important to keep increasing that game time and getting that connection back with the players on the field," she said. 

Commonwealth Bank Matildas Matches | AFC Women’s Asian Cup India 2022™ | Group Stage

Philippines v Commonwealth Bank Matildas
Date: Monday, 24 January 2022
Venue: Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai
Kick-off:  3.30pm (local), 9pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and Exclusive on Network 10 and 10 Play

Commonwealth Bank Matildas v Thailand
Date: Thursday, 27 January 2022 / Friday, 28 January 2022
Venue: Mumbai Football Arena, Mumbai
Kick-off: 7.30pm (local), 01:00am (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and Exclusive on Network 10 and 10 Play

For more information on the AFC Women’s Asian Cup, please visit here.

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This article was originally published on the CommBank Matildas website.