Holly McNamara.
Holly McNamara has received a Matildas recall after an impressive start to the ALW season. Image by Will Murray/AAP PHOTOS
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Red-hot ALW star McNamara earns Matildas recall

Anna Harrington November 18, 2023

Holly McNamara’s red-hot start to the A-League Women season has earned the Melbourne City gun a Matildas recall for upcoming friendlies against Canada.

Coach Tony Gustavsson has made limited changes to the star-studded squad that cruised through early Olympic qualifiers in Perth.

McNamara and Aivi Luik replace Cortnee Vine (hamstring) and Alex Chidiac (omitted), while train-on player Charlize Rule has been upgraded to a full squad member.

McNamara, 20, has three caps since debuting in 2022 and playing at that year’s Asian Cup before tearing her ACL.

The attacker returned in style and now leads the ALW golden boot with four goals and scored a perfect hat-trick against Western Sydney.

“I selected her all the way back in April. But she wasn’t really ready at that time to be in the senior Matildas environment for different reasons – she needed more time to get back from the ACL and play continuously,” Gustavsson said.

“And so we said ‘let’s not stress her – let her have her time’ – which was important. I actually honestly think she might have been a contender for the World Cup roster otherwise.

“… But once she did get that time to ease her way back into playing time, she once again proved (herself) now in the A-League, look at the stats.

“(McNamara is) once again off the charts when it comes to goal scoring but also creating goal-scoring chances, line-breaking actions, one-v-one stats, pressing actions.

“She really fits the bill of how we want to play and she can play in all four attacking spots for us.

“So I’m really, really happy to bring her back into our environment.”

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Australia take on Tokyo gold medal winners and world No.10 Canada at Starlight Stadium in Victoria on December 2 (AEDT), then at BC Place in Vancouver on December 6 (AEDT).

Speaking for the first time since Chelsea boss Emma Hayes was appointed as US coach, a role he was also linked to, Gustavsson reiterated his commitment to the Matildas.

“You’ve heard me say the same thing over and over again: I love working with this team and I have unfinished business and a lot of players feel the same way,” Gustavsson said.

“But I’ve said it from day one – and it’s a part of this job that there’s always going to be speculations.

“What I really want to be clear on here though, so there’s no misinterpretation on this one, is that I think everyone that has worked closely to me and seen me working with his team over these three years, know how passionate I am working with this team and how much I love this team.”


Goalkeepers: Mackenzie Arnold, Teagan Micah, Lydia Williams

Defenders: Ellie Carpenter, Steph Catley, Charlotte Grant, Clare Hunt, Alanna Kennedy, Courtney Nevin, Clare Polkinghorne, Charlize Rule

Midfielders: Kyra Cooney-Cross, Katrina Gorry, Emily van Egmond, Amy Sayer, Aivi Luik, Clare Wheeler, Tameka Yallop

Forwards: Caitlin Foord, Mary Fowler, Sam Kerr, Holly McNamara, Hayley Raso.