Polkinghorne: Cup of Nations integral to FIFA Women's World Cup preparation
Clare Polkinghorne is excited for the Westfield Matildas to visit her hometown Brisbane but it's France which looms largest in the defender's thinking.
The 30-year-old Queenslander and her international team-mates take to Suncorp Stadium for a Cup of Nations clash with Korea Republic on March 3, albeit not before next Thursday's tournament opener against New Zealand at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium in Sydney.
Another fixture follows against Argentina in Melbourne and for Polkinghorne, a 112-cap veteran, the games represent an extended part of the FIFA Women's World Cup™ campaign which begins in June.
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"It's obviously very important for us leading into a World Cup that's only [four] months away now, so it's a really important time to get together and play some international matches," Polkinghorne said.
"These are the last matches on home soil before everyone heads off to their different clubs, so any time we spend together now is going to be really important.
"It's not often we get to play at home and to play in Brisbane is extra special for me, I'm very excited to be able to represent my country in my home city."
The three Cup of Nations encounters also serve as Ante Milicic's first matches in charge.
Polkinghorne has been initially impressed by the new head coach, saying her early encounters with him have been "really positive".
"You can see his professionalism, his determination and how focused he is on what we want to achieve as a group," she said.
"I'm sure that will be transferred over to the playing group."
Each of Australia's three opponents over the next fortnight are likewise bound for France 2019 and the Brisbane Roar captain expects strong challenges for the world's sixth-ranked nation.
"All of them have their own qualities that will be good to test ourselves against," said Polkinghorne, a three-time FIFA Women's World Cup™ participant.
"New Zealand have their new coach - Tom Sermanni was our former coach so there's a little more incentive there.
"South Korea we're playing in Brisbane and we haven't played Argentina before I don't believe, so all three games are going to be very exciting."