Riley credits Roar Matildas for young footballer nomination

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Brisbane Roar striker Indiah-Paige Riley was named the side’s breakthrough player of the year last season, and it appears the rest of the W-League is starting to take notice.

The 18-year old secured the December nomination for young footballer of the year after starting all four games for the Roar last month, a run which included scoring the opening goal in Brisbane’s 3-2 win over Adelaide United in round five.

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“It’s actually pretty exciting, it’s not something I was really expecting but it’s a great honour to be nominated,” Riley said of the award.

The club secured three wins and a draw in December and Riley credited her run of form to the influence of the Matildas representatives in the squad, including captain Clare Polkinghorne and top scorer Hayley Raso.

“I think it really shows that being surrounded by Matildas makes you want to lift your game to try and get to their level,” she said.

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“Having the support and leadership of the Matildas in our team that we have has really lifted my game.”

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Six Roar players have again been named in the Matildas squad for the upcoming AFC 2020 Olympic Qualifiers in China in February and Riley said the selections had lifted the whole team.

“It’s really exciting, we’re all really happy for them and proud of them,” she said.

“Their performances this season so far have got them where they are so they’re completely deserving of (selection).

“I just love the way that they work, they never give up and they’re always putting their heart into it.

“It’s something I really admire and it’s something I want to bring into my game more.”

After a call up to the Young Matildas squad for the AFC U-19 Championship last year, Riley said she was determined to break into the senior squad in the future.

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“It’s something that I’ve wanted to achieve ever since I’ve started playing, so it’s definitely a dream of mine and hopefully one day it’ll happen,” she said.

For now, however, the focus for Riley remains on helping the Roar to return to their winning ways after a 2-0 loss against Melbourne City last week that dropped them out of the top four.

The fifth-placed Roar face a tough task to remain in contention for the finals and will begin a stretch of three away games against the undefeated Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday.

The Wanderers took full advantage of their bye round last week, defeating the Chinese national team 1-0 in a friendly on the Gold Coast.

Riley described the in-form Wanderers as “dangerous”, but said the Roar have what it takes to inflict the Wanderer’s first defeat of the season and move back into the top four.

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“(Western Sydney) have got a few strong players, they’re all pretty fast…that’s something we need to be careful of, their pace up front, but I think we’ll be fine,” she said.

“Obviously at the end of the season we want to be lifting that trophy and to get there we need to be in good form and in the top four, which is something that we all want to work towards.”

Capitalising on goal scoring opportunities remains a key challenge to overcome this season for the Roar according to Riley and the striker is determined to add to her tally of two goals.

“We just need to score really, to put away our chances that we create because we create a lot,” she said.

“That’s how you win games.

“Our defence has been good, we haven’t been conceding, so it’s just finishing it off now with a goal.”

Feature image credit: Brisbane Roar FC

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Mathew Perry
Former snowmaker, TomTom salesman and subpar barista giving sports journalism a whirl. QUT Journalism student covering Brisbane Roar FC in the A-League and W-League.