‘We’ve been building towards this’: Catley buzzing for Cup of Nations

Defender Steph Catley says she is finally playing pain-free and declared the Westfield Matildas are “buzzing” ahead of the Cup of Nations.

Catley had a late start to the Westfield W-League season with Melbourne City after undergoing minor knee surgery for a problem she had been carrying for some time.

“My knee got to the point where I wasn’t moving right and I couldn’t play without sharp pain,” Catley said.

“I got it done for this reason. It definitely worked and I’m feeling so much better.

“I’ve got to do a couple of things to keep it strong and make sure the rest of my body is strong.

“The part of the W-League season that I did play I felt great. I’m just trying to keep that momentum going.”

After spending a few days in a training camp in Brisbane, the Westfield Matildas have arrived in Sydney ahead of Thursday’s opening match against New Zealand at Leichhardt Oval.

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It’s the start of a big week for Ante Milicic’s squad, with further games against Argentina and Korea Republic as Australia ramp-up their preparations for June’s FIFA Women’s World Cup.

“We’ve been building towards this [the World Cup] for a long time,” Catley said.

“I think we’ve been considered a young team and one that’s been up-and-coming for a long time but now we’re at the stage where we’re all a bit older and have a lot more experience.

Westfield Matildas training

“We have a couple of World Cups under our belt, an Olympics, lots of major tournaments so we’re going into the tournament thinking we’re a strong contender.”

Asked about her impressions of new boss Milicic, Catley said: “He’s been brilliant.

“He’s come in with a lot of fresh ideas and brings a real intensity to training. Every session has been quite short and sharp but we’re getting everything we need to in.

“Everyone is learning a lot and seems to be buzzing for this tournament.”