Football Fern Paige Satchell is preparing for four weeks of dressing room banter as she awaits the chance to play against Australia’s Matildas in next month’s two-match series.
The 23-year-old speedster plays in the women’s A-League for league leaders Sydney FC and Monday’s news of the trans-Tasman series has already sparked an air of anticipation within the club.
With the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup due to take place in New Zealand and Australia in little more than 500 days, the two host country squads will benefit from a head-to-head set of games in early April.
Main photo and portrait: Paige Satchell. Images courtesy of Shane Wenzlick / Phototek.
Satchell: ‘… at the end of the day we are all good mates’
“There are a few girls in the Matildas that I play with at Sydney FC,” Satchell told myfootball.com.au.
“The focus at the moment has been on finishing off the season with Sydney winning the premiership and the grand final, but I’m sure as the games draw closer between the Ferns and the Matildas there will no doubt be some banter being thrown around.
“But at the end of the day we are all good mates and we have that respect for both sides which is important.”
Satchell was in the last Ferns side to play Australia, losing 2-1 to the Matildas at the Tokyo Olympics last year.
“I think playing Australia at the Tokyo Olympics was my favourite moment playing against the Matildas to date,” Satchell said.
“Even though we came out of the game with a loss, it was such a close game from start to finish, and some really quality football was played.
“I think it was pretty cool to draw Australia who we do have that great rivalry with, at such a pinnacle sporting event and really put it all out on the field.
“I know that myself and the Ferns team are super excited to be co-hosting the World Cup soon.
Siemsen: ‘There is great rivalry and respect for our neighbours across the ditch’
Satchell’s clubmate and Matilda’s striker Remy Siemsen told myfootball.com.au:
“Paige and I are good mates at Sydney but when it comes to national duty we are game ready and will do our all to compete and win.
“Playing on home soil for your country is the ultimate for me – playing in front of family, friends and fans is beyond exciting and the pinnacle experience of any athlete. I absolutely love playing at home with all that support.
“There is a great rivalry and respect for our neighbours across the ditch. There is a sense of pride and purpose every time we wear the green and gold – even though we are great mates, we are great adversaries when we compete..
“There are some great New Zealand players in the ALW this season and it is great to have the Phoenix also join us this year. There is always healthy banter on and off the pitch.”
What the coach says
Ferns head coach Jitka Klimková told NZ Football’s website:
“The quick turnaround from the SheBelieves Cup gives us a great opportunity to put what we learned in the USA into practice. And how better to continue our preparations for the world cup at home than to take on our co-hosts?
“It’s important we keep developing our player pool, decision-making on the field and upping our mentality to compete for 90 minutes and more. I’m looking forward to the challenges Australia offers, and competing against our neighbouring rival.”
The trans-Tasman series
Game 1: Friday April 8 (k/o to be confirmed)
Australian venue to be confirmed
Game 2: Tuesday April 12 (7.45pm NZT)
GIO Stadium, Canberra
Satchell learned her football at Ngongotaha AFC, Rotorua United and spent four seasons at Auckland’s Three Kings United before heading overseas for spells with SC Scand (Germany), Canberra United and now Sydney.
She’s played 23 times for the Ferns, scoring twice — one of them a cracking goal against Korea Republic last year.