Kennedy: Travel is not a problem after long haul flight from Europe

With the Matildas poised to take on New Zealand at QCB Stadium on Friday 8 April, Australian centre back Alanna Kennedy spoke in-depth about the extensive travel needed to get to game day.

This is a relatively new problem for the Matildas it was only four years ago that national team squads were made-up almost exclusively of players based in Australia and competing in the domestic A-League Women's competition.

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It speaks volumes of the evolution of women’s football around the world that now only two of the current 23 player squad feature players tied to clubs in Australia.

With 19 players in the squad coming from a European club, it is no surprise that the sheer volume of travel hours has begun to stack-up for the Matildas. Kennedy herself had no less than four flights and 30 hours to get to Townsville.

Travelling with Manchester City teammate, Hayley Raso, Kennedy flew from London to Darwin, Darwin to Sydney, Sydney to Brisbane, and then Brisbane to Townsville.

While claiming that you never get used to long-haul travel before games, Kennedy explained that her and the entire Matildas squad have now done it so much they know how to best prepare for it.

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“We know what to expect and we know the best ways to deal with it,” said Kennedy.

“The first step is taking care of our nutrition, our recovery, and looking after our body's hydration. We also make sure we get in nice and early to give us a few days to settle in.”

While that may seem simple in principle, the logistics are quite difficult with players coming from different parts of the world – and getting released from their clubs at different times.

“Preparation is tough with people coming in at different times. For example, this afternoon’s training session will be a start-up session for some of us while for others it will be a second session, and some people are still not here yet.

“So it's a little bit tough until we got the whole squad here. But in the meantime, it’s just about getting the legs moving and then when everyone arrives training will focus on Friday's game in particular: how we can win and perform better than we did throughout the Asian Cup.”

Alanna Kennedy in camp, April 2022

Regardless of the tough circumstances, Kennedy made it clear that there are no excuses because the team will be ready for the match on Friday.

“We've played with each other for a long time and all of this is just part of the profession: you go in and out of club and country and you have to be able to adapt quickly.

“We're so comfortable in this environment and we know what's expected of us. That's a credit to the set-up and the culture we that we have here and that's something that we've implemented over a long period of time.

“We've got a lot of experienced players coming in from overseas who know their roles and it'll be a smooth transition.”

Commonwealth Bank Matildas v New Zealand 
Friday, 8 April 2022  
Venue: QCB Stadium, Townsville, Queensland 
Kick Off: 7:45pm (AEST)  
Gates Open: 6:15pm (AEST)
Broadcast: Live on 10 Bold, 10 Play and Paramount+. Check your local tv guides.
Ticketing Details: Buy now

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This article was originally published on the CommBank Matildas website.
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