Q & A with Cheryl Salisbury

1-on-1 with Westfield Matildas captain and W-League star Cheryl Salisbury.

– How do you enjoy the dual role of player/Assistant Coach?

The dual role has been a bit tough this past week with Gary (Head Coach Gary Phillips) being away, working full time, and training is tough enough but trying to coach as well, hasn-t left me with much free time. Co-ordinating 20 players and their movements for training is like a dog chasing its tail. But onece I-m actually at the training session I am enjoying the challenge and the girls are great and not making it to tough on me.

– How do you think the team will perform in their first year?
It-s difficult to tell how we will do, until we get into the season, as you don-t know exactly what to expect from most teams. But unfortunately we don-t have a long season so we need to make sure we hit the park on fire come the 1st game. The players have been working hard, and there haven-t been too many complaints with all the fitness work. I-m not a huge fan of running without the ball for fitness work, so being the stand in head coach while Gary is away means, our fitness work is all generally small sided games with a bit of iron man cross training last weekend at the beach.

– A few of the younger players will be away early in the season for rep duties, do you think the wealth of experience from players like yourself will cover for their absence?

I think it is one thing that I have learnt over time is that ‘a team- wins you games, not individuals, knowing from the beginning that we will lose a few of our key young players has mean that we have already taken that into account when selecting the team and mentally preparing for those times. And it-s not like we will be the only team loosing players.

– How will playing for Australia be different to playing for your home town?

You have had so many milestones in your Australian career, is this opportunity to now represent Newcastle/your home town an equally exciting new challenge?
I think one of the beauty-s of team sports is purely for the reason we play…we love the team environment. Whatever the colour on your back you immediately want to win and work hard for your team, your colour. I think the difference in playing for your country and playing for your home town is that extra little bit of effort you can find when all seems lost or too difficult. They are the moments that you remember down the track. Like scoring the goal against Canada at the World Cup to get us into the Quarter Finals.

– What players have caught your eye on the team as being real assets to both;
o 1) the clubs future (younger players)
o 2) this inaugural year? (more experienced, mature players)

Gary and I are still in the process of selecting the final squad. So there are still 6-7 spots being contested. There are a few great young players I think are definitely players to watch for the future and for the Jets, but we have only seen them at training, which is a much different environment to W-League games and playing for Australia. Hopefully we can get a few trial games before the season starts, to show us what they can do, and to prepare them a bit more for the real thing.