Mattildas' spirit not dampened

IT may have been a bit wet underfoot at Pacific Bay Resort yesterday after two inches of rain fell on Coffs Harbour but the conditions did nothing to dampen the spirits of the Matildas at training.

Knowing that the team really has to win on Sunday against DPR Korea at BCU International Stadium, the resolve within the Matildas squad during the intense 90-minute session showed that here is a group of girls that refuses to go down.

Even in the less than ideal conditions, coach Tom Sermanni took the Australian team through their paces, working on clean, crisp ball movement all over the park to try to create and find holes in the North Korean defence.

Recovering from a 40-hour flight in a gruelling Pyongyang-Coffs Harbour trek which finished on Wednesday, the Matildas believe they may have an advantage over their highly-ranked opponents come game time on Sunday as the team from DPR Korea will not be arriving on the Coffs Coast until today, so jetlag and tired muscles could become an issue late in the crucial clash.

The Matildas will be boosted by the return from injury of striker Caitlin Munoz and midfielder Danielle Small, with Sermanni announcing an expanded 21-strong squad for the match.

Munoz and Small are joined by Rhian Davies as additions to the 18 players which travelled to Korea.

"It is valuable to have these players in contention for Sunday's match and a sign of the excellent depth we now have across the squad," said Sermanni.

"Caitlin's return after a lengthy absence is important as she was a real presence in the forward line for us last year, adding a good focal point for the attack, and her abilities could be useful in Sunday's match," the coach added.

Australia will be without the services of key attacking fullback Heather Garriock who will be forced to sit out with a one-match suspension.

TICKETS:

Tickets for Sunday's Matildas Olympic Qualifier against DPR Korea at the BCU International Stadium are available online via www.coffsharbour.nsw.gov.au; from Coffs Harbour City Council's central ticketing system located at the Jetty Memorial Theatre; by phoning 6652 8088 between 10.00am and 4.00pm today or at the gate on match day.



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