Teresa Polias earns Matildas recall for Cup of Nations

For Teresa Polias, her ultimate dream has always been to pull on the green and gold at a World Cup.

And, after coming so close in 2015, she could finally be about to get her chance.

Polias, from Brighton-Le-Sands, has been recalled to Australia's national squad for the inaugural Cup of Nations tournament starting on Thursday.

The Matildas will take on New Zealand at Jubilee Stadium, Kogarah to open the tournament as part of a double header with Argentina and Korea Republic.

There was a time when Polias thought her international career might be over. She has spent a number of years in exile, not selected for the Matildas and looking unlikely to add to her 10 international caps.

The diminutive midfielder was part of the Matildas squad for the 2015 World Cup but didn't make it onto the pitch.

But the 28-year-old has a great chance to finally live her dream after new Matildas coach Ante Milicic included her in his first squad since taking over from Alen Stajcic.

The Cup of Nations will act as vital preparation for Australia's World Cup campaign in France in June.

And Polias, a St George Football Association junior with Carss Park and Ramsgate, told the Leader was she thrilled to be back in the national team set up.

"It was a lovely surprise," she said.

"The whole squad was notified by email and when I got an email notification on my phone I opened it up and saw the list.

"And there was my name. I had to do a double take.

"I was always hopeful to be involved in the national team again. But I didn't expect it at all. I haven't been around for a few years now. I sort of thought that time was over. I never retired from it. A few months back someone said to me they'd heard I had retired from it and I had to say no, not at all.

"It's a huge honour to be back with the Matildas. I thought that ship had sailed a little bit but it has always been my philosophy to do what I can control and always do my best for my club team. Whatever happens after that is out of my control. That's the attitude I've had."

It has been an exciting time for Polias. In a week where she became the most capped player in W-League history, Polias led Sydney FC to its third championship and first in five years on her home ground at Kogarah.

Her recall to the Matildas squad was simply the icing on the cake.

And her decision late last year to take time off from her employment - an entire term away from her full-time job as a school teacher - to concentrate on football for the first time in her career has paid off.

"It has been a huge week for me on the back of the [grand final] win," she said.

"That's how surprised I was [to get picked for Australia again]. I had already gone back to work this year in term one.

"Nothing is guaranteed with the national team. I need to work extremely hard, harder than ever before to keep my position in the squad. 

"Beyond the Cup of Nations I'm not sure of the schedule or if I'll be called back up. For me it is on a week to week basis and when I know more I'll have the chat with the powers that be at work and see what works best.

"Every meet up we have [with the Matildas] is critical for each and every player. When a new coach comes in it's a clean slate for everyone I guess and to start a tournament is a great way to do it."

And while nothing will stop her from dreaming about pulling on the green and gold in France later this year, at the forefront of her mind is the chance to represent her country in front of her family and friends at Kogarah on Thursday night.

"It would be the pinnacle of my career [to play at a World Cup]," she said.

"I didn't get on the pitch in 2015. This could be another chance to try and achieve that goal.

"[Playing for Australia at Kogarah] will be amazing. I said last week it was a fairy tale for me to play at home and win a grand final at home. It will be the same representing my country in front of all my family and friends at home as well."

Comments