Matildas veteran excited by 2023 WC chance

Matildas defender Clare Polkinghorne, 31, is in no rush to hang up her boots, especially with the prospect of a home World Cup in 2023 to look forward to.

CLARE POLKINGHORNE of the Roar.
CLARE POLKINGHORNE of the Roar. Picture: Albert Perez/Getty Images

In a swipe to those who believe the Tokyo Olympics will be her international swansong, Matildas stalwart Clare Polkinghorne says she is looking forward to playing at a home World Cup in 2023.

The 31-year-old has been a part of Australia's setup since 2006, making 125 appearances for the national side and featuring in the squad for the last four World Cups.

Some had speculated next year's Olympics would be her final outing in a gold jersey.

Polkinghorne however insists that has never been on her mind and she is eyeing off a fifth World Cup - especially after Australia and New Zealand's bid won the race to host the 2023 tournament.

"I'm still enjoying the game and still learning a lot. I still feel like I have a lot to offer," the Brisbane Roar captain told AAP.

"I'm only 31, I'm not near the end of my career at the moment.

"It's going to be exciting what happens the next few years. As long as I'm enjoying myself and I'm fit and healthy and contributing, then I definitely want to be playing at the highest level."

Polkinghorne is set to become one of several Matildas playing in Europe having agreed a deal with Norwegian club Avaldsnes, whose season kicks-off next month after a COVID-19 delay.

The defender will join four other Australians in the Toppserien, including her Roar and Matildas teammate Katrina Gorry.

While both will be back to play for the Roar in next summer's W-League, the same cannot be said for several other Matildas to leave for Europe in recent months.

Superstar Sam Kerr, midfielder Chloe Logarzo, winger Hayley Raso and striker Caitlin Foord have all moved to English clubs while Ellie Carpenter, Emma Checker and teenager Mary Fowler will be in France.

Despite the exodus, Polkinghorne hopes the successful World Cup bid can ensure the W-League's position as a breeding ground for the national team.

"I hope so because it's an extremely important part of women's football in this country and if we have a strong W-League season then that sort of feeds through to the Matildas," she said.

"We've had a number of players who have been identified through the W-League to go on and play for the Matildas and represent this country.

"It's so important that we do have that platform there, and that foundation for players to play consistent football."


AAP