SYDNEY: Record goal-scorer Kate Gill was a shock omission on Tuesday as Australia unveiled a new-look squad for the upcoming Women’s World Cup in Canada.
Gill, 30, has 40 goals in 83 games for the Matildas, and on Monday collected the golden boot for her 12 strikes for Perth Glory in last season’s domestic W-League.
But just hours after Gill won her award late on Monday, national coach Alen Stajcic dropped a bombshell by leaving her out of his 23-player squad for Canada.
“I don’t think it’s the equivalent to Tim Cahill at all, they’re separate teams,” said Stajcic, referring to Australia’s record men’s scorer who has 39 goals.
“The Socceroos don’t get a four-month preparation time and we did and players were picked on form during that period.
“She’s performed really well. The problem is the other players have as well.”
Stajcic told Australian media: “When you look at our strike force, you’ve got people like Sam Kerr, Caitlin Foord and Lisa De Vanna, Michelle Heyman and Kyah Simon.
“You can only pick so many and we had to make a decision on who was going to be more effective for us at the World Cup.
“Kate missed out by a small inch but they’re the decisions that have to be made at this level. It’s very hard. It’s heartbreaking for those players. It’s the end of their dream.”
Asian player of the year Katrina Gorry is one of the leading lights in a group which heads to Canada just a year after Australia were runners-up at the Women’s Asian Cup.
Goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, 35, is set for her fourth World Cup after Stajcic also swung the axe and discarded regular custodian Brianna Davey.
Barbieri is the senior player in a squad including 10 World Cup first-timers, plus 18 survivors from the Asian Cup. Football-cum-cricket international Ellyse Perry missed out through injury.
The Matildas will have their work cut out at the June 5-July 5 tournament after being drawn alongside Olympic champions the United States, Sweden and African title-holders Nigeria.
Goalkeepers: Lydia Williams, Melissa Barbieri, Mackenzie Arnold
Defenders: Clare Polkinghorne, Laura Alleway, Servet Uzunlar, Steph Catley, Elise Kellond-Knight
Midfielders: Ashleigh Sykes, Emily van Egmond, Leena Khamis, Tameka Butt, Alanna Kennedy, Teresa Polias, Hayley Raso, Katrina Gorry, Nicola Bolger
Forwards: Larissa Crummer, Caitlin Foord, Lisa De Vanna, Kyah Simon, Samantha Kerr, Michelle Heyman