Matildas captain Sam Kerr says it was a dream come true scoring a hat-trick in front of her home fans, but concedes the days of her trademark backflip somersault could be over.
Both Kerr and Arsenal star Caitlin Foord scored hat-tricks in Australia’s 8-0 thumping of the Philippines in Perth on Sunday.
The result has all but guaranteed Australia passage into the final round of Olympic qualifying in February, when the Matildas will face an Asian Confederation team in a two-legged play-off.
They will round out the current stage with a match against Taiwan at HBF Park on Wednesday night.
Kerr tore the Philippines to shreds on Sunday, scoring twice in the first half and then notching her hat-trick just 24 seconds after the break.
The 30-year-old also scored a goal in last week’s 2-0 win over Iran.
The matches marked Kerr’s first Matildas appearances in Perth since 2018.
But her trademark backflip somersault goal celebrations were noticeably absent each time she found the back of the net.
Kerr strained both of her calves during this year’s Women’s World Cup, and it seems the star striker is doing everything within her powers to ensure there will be no repeat.
“I turned 30 a month ago. Those days are over,” Kerr replied when asked why she hasn’t been unleashing the back-flip.
Kerr, who plies her trade with English giants Chelsea, has relished the chance to play in front of family and friends again.
Her goal against Iran and hat-trick against the Philippines sent the sell-out crowds into a spin.
“It was a dream come true,” Kerr said of her hometown treble.
“Even to score one goal, even to play here was a dream come true, so I’m very happy.
“I’d love (the team) to score eight goals every game, but it doesn’t always work like that. It was an amazing performance by the girls.
“The Philippines was the big game (in our group), so we were up for that one.”
Kerr joined teammates Lydia Williams and Charlotte Grant on Monday for the announcement that CommBank is extending its partnership with Football Australia to launch the Growing Football Fund.
The fund will focus on supporting coaches and community teams across the country with the goal of attracting and retaining 50,000 female participants nationally over the next two years.
Kerr welcomed the extra investment into grassroots football, and reflected on her own journey to international stardom.
“It’s a long journey, it’s a hard journey. You’ve just got to keep at it,” Kerr said.
“Everyone has ups and downs in their career. It’s just a journey. Lots of hard work, lots of sacrifice – maybe missing a friend’s party or two on the weekend.
“You’ve got to love it. You’ve got to be in it.
“I think just getting over those hurdles for me was really important as a young kid.
“I could have given up many times, but I didn’t because I love it. We’re all here now because of the sacrifices and hard work.”
(Australian Associated Press)