Friends to foes: Remy Siemsen and Paige Satchell gear up for Commbank Matildas v Football Ferns clashes

The Commonwealth Bank Matildas are heading to the capital with a two-game series announced against the Football Ferns.

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The second match of this series will take place in Canberra at GIO Stadium; it will be the national team’s first trip to Canberra in nine years.

Australia and New Zealand have a long and storied history together. The Commonwealth Bank Matildas first ever ‘A’ international match was against New Zealand back in 1979. Next year, the two nations will co-host the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup which is set to be an historic event.

For Commonwealth Bank Matildas striker Remy Siemsen, another opportunity to play at home in front of an Aussie crowd is simply the best.

“Playing on home soil for your country is the ultimate for me - playing in front of family, friends and fans is beyond exciting and the pinnacle experience of any athlete. I absolutely love playing at home with all that support,” Siemsen said.

For the first time since 2013, the Commonwealth Bank will be playing in Canberra. On that occasion, it was also a two game friendly series against the Football Ferns.

While the trip to Canberra is pretty standard for Siemsen at club level, the chance for fans in the ACT to cheer on the Commonwealth Bank Matildas has been long overdue.

“It is so important for us to show our love, appreciation and respect for every square inch of Australia and regional areas have some of the biggest fans in football,” Siemsen said.

“Football is growing exponentially in regional Australia and I want every Australian regardless of where they are cheering from, to know we are out there representing every Australian.

"We have always been met with such warmth and hospitality when playing in regional centres and I know we all look forward to running onto the pitches of all Australian towns and cities.”

All the Commonwealth Bank Matildas plying their trade in the A-League Women’s this season will be even more familiar with their Kiwi counterparts than usual, with Football Ferns sprinkled across the league.

Siemsen has played alongside Football Fern Paige Satchell this season and while they will be working together to win Sydney FC some silverware, by April there will be some healthy competition.

“There is a great rivalry and respect for our NZ neighbours across the ditch. There is a sense of pride and purpose every time we wear the green and gold - even though we are great mates, we are great adversaries when we compete," Siemsen said.

“There are some great NZ players in the ALW this season and it is great to have the Phoenix also join us this year. There is always healthy banter on and off the pitch.

"Paige and I are good mates at Sydney but when it comes to national duty we are game ready and will do our all to compete and win.”

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For Satchell, the feeling is mutual.

“There are a few girls in the Matildas that I play with at Sydney FC. The focus at the moment has been on finishing off the season with Sydney winning the premiership and the grand final, but I’m sure as the games draw closer between the Ferns and the Matildas there will no doubt be some banter being thrown around," she said.

"But at the end of the day we are all good mates and we have that respect for both sides which is important."

Satchell was on the park the last time the Commonwealth Bank Matildas and Football Ferns faced off at Tokyo 2020; Australia won 2-1 on that day.

“I think playing Australia at the Tokyo Olympics was my favourite moment playing against the Matildas to date,” Satchell explained.

“Even though we came out of the game with a loss, it was such a close game from start to finish, and some really quality football was played. I think it was pretty cool to draw Australia who we do have that great rivalry with, at such a pinnacle sporting event and really put it all out on the field.”

With the FIFA Women’s World Cup just over 500 days away, this match is important for both sides’ preparation. Although they will be on opposite sides, Siemsen and Satchell are both excited about hosting the impending World Cup together.

“I know that myself and the Ferns team are super excited to be co-hosting the World Cup soon," Satchell said. 

"To be able to play in front of a home crowd with friends family there to cheer you on is so special and will be an experience to hold onto forever. It has been a very long time since we played at home, so hopefully we can get a lot of support behind the team and we can put on some really quality performances to show for it.

“I am beyond excited for the World Cup it has been a dream of mine to compete in this tournament for many years," Siemsen concurred.

"I know Australia and New Zealand will be the best hosts and that our respective fans will come out in force to support us on the world stage.

"It is the ultimate stage for every footballer and I will do everything in my being to work hard, prepare and focus on being in that squad in 500 days."

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This article was originally published on the CommBank Matildas website.