Sam Kerr: Matildas' greatest ever goal-scorer

Matildas' captain Sam Kerr made for an even more memorable Olympic campaign, becoming the highest Australian women's international goal-scorer.

Journey 2023

We reflect on some of the memorable moments and goals from our nation's greatest ever woman goal-scorer.

The forward's first-ever international goal epitomises three aspects of what has made Kerr such a crucial member of Australia's national team, that being, big game impact, instinct, and a whole load of acrobatics.

Selected for the Matildas' successful 2010 Asian Cup squad as a 16-year-old, then-coach Tom Sermanni thrust on the teenager as Australia looked to finish off South Korea in their crucial group stage tie.

A loose ball from a corner was latched on from close range by a young Kerr, who then decided to show off her signature backflip celebration to the world for the first time. A goal in such an important match, the instinct to put herself where the ball would fall and a lot of acrobatic celebration, was the beginning of the superstar striker that the Australian public knows and loves.

Sam Kerr


For many involved with the Matildas, the heartbreak of the Rio 2016 Olympics seems like yesterday. However, for our goalscoring queen, the tournament saw only her eighth international goal, showing just how prolific the last five years have been, with Kerr rising from eight in Rio de Janeiro, to 48 by Tokyo 2020 in 2021. 

Facing Germany in their Olympic group match, once again the forward stood up in a major tournament for Australia, firing home after a brilliant individual run from her strike partner Caitlin Foord. Always unselfish, Kerr made it her mission to assist Foord later in the half, with an exquisite low cross.

For many in Australia, 2017 was the year where Kerr stamped her authority on the sporting landscape. Whether it be her ninth, 10th or 11th goal, in a hat-trick against rivals, Japan, at the Tournament of Nations, or her exquisite performances against South American giants Brazil on home soil (13th, 14th, 15th).

Iconic images from those 2017 friendlies including full stadiums, celebratory back-flips and even a taped-over Lucas Neill Socceroo jersey, altered to say Kerr #20, showed just how much the general public had jumped on their women's national team and their superstar striker.

Sam Kerr


Heading into the 2019 FIFA Women's World Cup with a weight of expectation, Sam Kerr was given the captaincy for the first time, adding to the responsibility of Australia's main player. Ever the goal poacher, Kerr's first goal of the tournament came from a loose ball, taking the lead against a stubborn Italian side.

Needing a victory in their final group match against Jamaica, captain Kerr broke another Australian record, becoming the first Matilda to score four goals in a World Cup match, producing the perfect hat-trick (left foot goal, right foot goal, header).

The Tokyo 2020 Olympics provided the latest piece of history for our famous number 20 (converted to 2 for Tokyo). Equalling the highest Olympics goal scorer (2 goals) after the opening group stage game against New Zealand, Kerr netted twice against powerhouse European outfit Sweden to take the record outright.

Not settled with her tally for the campaign, the 27-year-old once again stood up when her nation needed her most, during a quarter-final tie with Great Britain. Just like her first international goal, the forward's instinct and acrobatics, were evident once again as the ball seemed to gravitate towards the striker.

One goal to equalise in normal time and another to stretch the lead in extra time, was enough for Kerr's Matildas to reach their first-ever Olympic semi-final.

In the Bronze medal game against The United States, Australia required a response after falling behind early to the world champions.

Kerr, as she had done in her first major tournament all the way back in 2010, broke through the crowd to tap the ball home, grabbing her 48th record-breaking goal.

Sam Kerr #2 of Team Australia celebrates with team mates after scoring their side's fourth goal during the Women's Quarter Final match between Great Britain and Australia on day seven of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Kashima Stadium on July 30, 2021 in Kashima, Ibaraki, Japan. (Photo by Atsushi Tomura/Getty Images)