Westfield Matildas squad: Defenders

The Westfield Matildas' Tournament of Nations title defence is almost upon us and coach Alen Stajcic has finalised his 20-player squad with six quality defenders.

Much of the team's success over the last couple of years has been built on the solid foundations from the back, and the Australian boss will have plenty of options at his disposal in the USA.

Here’s a look at the defenders picked in the Westfield Matildas squad for the Tournament of Nations.


Age: 18

Caps: 21

Debut: Olympic qualification match v Vietnam on 2 March 2016 in Osaka

Clubs played for: Western Sydney Wanderers, Canberra United, Portland Thorns

Her 2018 so far:

Since bursting onto the Westfield W-League scene as a 15-year-old in 2015, Ellie Carpenter’s rise has been one of the success stories of Australian football.

2018 was no different for the Nowra-born local. Carpenter won the NAB Young Footballer of the Year after a superb campaign for Canberra United, despite the club missing out on a Finals Series spot. The teenager also claimed the team’s Player of the Season award.

Ellie Carpenter Westfield W-League highlights

A powerful fullback, Carpenter signed for reigning NWSL Premiers Portland Thorns in February, and became the youngest ever player to feature in the American top tier when she made her debut at just 18 years and 11 days old.

She’s featured nine times for the sixth-placed Thorns so far, primarily in a more attack role in the front third and scored her debut goal – a winner against Washington Spirit - 22 days after her 18th birthday.

A defender with pace to burn and attacking instincts to match, Carpenter is sure to be a hit at this year’s Tournament of Nations.



Age: 23

Caps: 69

Debut: Friendly v New Zealand on 24 June 2012 in Wollongong

Clubs played for: Sydney FC, Newcastle Jets, Western Sydney Wanderers, Perth Glory, Western New York Flash, Orlando Pride, Melbourne City

Her 2018 so far:

Kennedy might only be 23 but the defender has accumulated an impressive trophy cabinet since her professional debut eight years ago.

It was a similar story in 2018, when Kennedy helped Melbourne City win the 2017/18 Westfield W-League Championship – her third Championship in total.

The former Sydney FC and Perth Glory title winner played all 14 matches for Patrick Kisnorbo’s side last campaign, and was a typically formidable presence in defence.

She’s now back with NWSL club Orlando Pride and has been an ever-present for the title-chasing outfit in a holding midfield role.

Kennedy has scored two goals so far this season, illustrating her danger from set-pieces, and could prove to be a valuable weapon for Alen Stajcic’s side as they defend their Tournament of Nations crown.

Alanna Kennedy Westfield W-League highlights


Age: 29

Caps: 105

Debut: Friendly v China on 19 June 2006 in Shanghai

Clubs played for: Brisbane Toro, Queensland Lions, Queensland Academy of Sport, Brisbane Roar, INAC Kobe Leonessa, Portland Thorns, Houston Dash

Her 2018 so far:

A veteran among the Westfield Matildas' set up, Polkinghorne claimed a third Premiership with Brisbane Roar after leading the side to glory in 2017/18 season.

The 29-year-old club captain was in vintage form for Roar, netting two goals and helping the side establish the strongest defensive record in the competition.

In June, Polkinghorne signed for Houston Dash - her second stint in the NWSL after previously appearing for Portland Thorns.

She's only featured two times for the Dash this season with the side currently sitting in seventh position.

Clare Polkinghorne Westfield W-League highlights


Age: 24

Caps: 67

Debut: Friendly v New Zealand on 24 June 2012 in Wollongong

Clubs played for: Melbourne Victory, Portland Thorns, Melbourne City, Orlando Pride, Seattle Reign

Her 2018 so far:

Catley has been an integral part of Melbourne City's Westfield W-League dominance in recent seasons, and the 24-year-old was once again at the heart of everything good about City in 2017/18.

The fullback was an absolute menace going forward for Patrick Kisnorbo's side and her ability to create opportunities for teammates through her purposeful attacking play saw Catley among the top performers in the competition.

Catley guided City to the 2017/18 Championship - her second consecutive with Melbourne and third overall - to cap off what was another sensational year in the Westfield W-League.

Having traded Orlando Pride for Seattle Reign at the start of the year, Catley has continued her stellar form in the NWSL, where her deadly left foot has registered three assists.

She's made nine appearances in total for Premiership contenders, who are currently the best defensive side in the NWSL.

Steph Catley's superb crossing ability could come to the fore again at the Tournament of Nations.


Age: 27

Caps: 95

Debut: Olympic Games qualifier v Hong Kong on 4 August 2007 in Hong Kong

Clubs played for: Brisbane Roar, Fortuna Hjorring, Iga FC Kunoichi, FFC Turbine Potsdam, Hammarby

Her 2018 so far:

While several teammates showcase their skills in the United States, Kellond-Knight is at present plying her trade at Swedish outfit Hammarby.

The situation fits the profile of a player who has long been the quiet achiever of the Westfield Matildas.

A move to the NWSL had appeared likely until a unique ruling made her look elsewhere after leaving Turbine Potsdam at the end of last year.

Instead, the two-time FIFA Women's World Cup All Star player made the move to Sweden and has kept the wheels spinning with eight appearances.

She continues to be heavily involved for Australia, racking up nine starts this year alone.

And the versatile 27-year-old can expect to retain an important role in the lead-up to next year's FIFA Women's World Cup where she can operate at left back or in a central midfield role.

Elise Kellond-Knight
Elise Kellond-Knight


Age: 22

Caps: 20

Debut: Cyprus Cup v Netherlands on 4 March 2015

Clubs played for: Sydney FC, Brisbane Roar, Melbourne City, Seattle Reign FC

Her 2018 so far:

Crummer spent another Westfield W-League season with Melbourne City as the club made it a hat-trick of titles.

While the she didn’t feature in the Finals Series, Crummer made eight appearances during the campaign for Patrick Kisnorbo’s side, finishing with three goals.

While predominantly earning her stripes as a centre-forward, the former Westfield W-League golden boot emerged as an option at right-back for Alen Stajcic’s side.

She played there in a friendly against Thailand in Perth prior to the AFC Asian Cup and has since appeared in the heart of defence for the Westfield Young Matildas, where she captained the side to second place at the AFF Women’s Championships in Indonesia earlier this month.

Larissa Crummer Westfield W-League highlights