Mary Fowler having fun becoming a better player
Mary Fowler is still only 18. However, the attacker has more than cemented herself into the Commonwealth Bank Matildas fold.
Now with 23 caps under her belt, Fowler has evolved from solely an impact player to someone who can't be ignored in the starting lineup.
It is recognition that means a lot to Fowler.
"It's amazing to be able to have that support and belief from the coaching staff and from the players to be able to get more of a role in the team and getting more game time. So that's been awesome. And I'm grateful for that," she said.
"Obviously, the more time you get, the more comfortable you get. So I'm really thankful that the girls have supported me the whole way, and that I can be here and feel completely confident going out there on the field."
That confidence also extends to multiple positions in the attacking third, with Fowler able to play as a striker and a creator.
"Wherever the coach wants to play me, I feel completely comfortable going out there and playing it because he obviously believes and trusts that I can do that. So no matter where I play, I know the job that I need to do and I just want to go out there and help the team win."
The team has been vital in Fowler's development as a player at the international level.
"I love being around the girls and I love that they push me to be better, and I can push them to be better."
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"It's such a comfortable space that allows me to try new things and take risks so that I'm able to push myself into areas and do things that I haven't done before, which obviously makes me a better player.
"I think I'm just having fun in being able to get better, they [the team] make it so easy for me to be myself."
While the group is united and pushing each other to get better, they are also collectively focused on the job at hand.
"I think that everyone really wants to win this tournament. We've qualified for the World Cup so the focus is really on just winning this as a tournament. And we all want to do that."
"So I think having [topping the group] ticked off, we're on the right path and everyone's excited for this quarterfinal because we just want to win so much.
"Obviously, at the Olympics we were so close, but we didn't get there and now it's like, this is the stepping stone for the World Cup and we want to set the tone here."
But before the team can think about the final, the Commonwealth Bank Matildas' focus is on South Korea.
For Fowler, the positive performances in the group stage provided excellent preparation for this game.
"I don't think we do need to change our focus, we've just had three good wins.
“Obviously, South Korea is a good team and we've got to go on there knowing that it's going to be a tough game.
"But we know what we need to do and we're confident in our game plan and that as a team, we'll be able to get the win."
Commonwealth Bank Matildas v South Korea
Date: Sunday, 30 January 2022
Venue: Shiv Chhatrapati Sports Complex, Pune
Kick-off: 1.30pm (local), 7:00pm (AEDT)
Broadcast: Live and Exclusive on 10 Bold and 10 Play