How ‘quite shy’ Cooper is relishing Wanderers captaincy

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After leading the Western Sydney Wanderers to their first win of the season under trying circumstances, Caitlin Cooper says she is relishing the opportunity to captain the Red & Black.

The Wanderers had a hectic start to their campaign, losing 3-0 in their opening game against Sydney FC and then having to back up three days later against Newcastle Jets on either side of the New Year.

The Jets dominated the match, but a marvellous defensive effort saw the Wanderers come away with a 2-1 victory.

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The win was Cooper’s first since being appointed Wanderers captain during the pre-season, a role she is thoroughly enjoying.

“I love captaining the side,” Cooper said.

“I’m not the most boisterous person off the field and I keep to myself a lot because I’m quite shy, but when I step over the white line I like to lead by example.

“I hope a few of the younger girls look up to me just by the way I play.”

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There was no greater instance of Cooper leading by example in the Newcastle match than in the second half when she injured herself to thwart a certain Newcastle equaliser.

Jets substitute Tara Andrews had an open goal in the 65th minute after Courtney Newbon had tipped a dangerous free kick onto the crossbar, but then Cooper rushed across to head the ball out of the danger zone, copping a knee to the back and clattering into the goalpost in the process.

This evidently left Cooper in a world of pain, although she had absolutely no regrets after full-time.

“I definitely woke up a bit sore the next morning,” she said.

“I had to put my body on the line and I’m glad I did because it was a certain goal.

“It was a great team performance. We held them out after we were under the pump in the second half. Collectively as a team I thought we did amazing.”

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After playing their first two games in the space of four days, Western Sydney will now enjoy a well-deserved break before returning to action on Saturday 16 January. As a result of the COVID-effected W-League schedule, the Wander Women will be facing Sydney FC once again, this time at ANZ Stadium.

Cooper says that after being dealt a short turnaround before the Jets game, her team will soak up some downtime before looking to square the ledger against the Sky Blues.

“We have a few days off which will be nice because we’ve been training non-stop the last few weeks,” she said.

“After that we will regroup and hopefully get a bit of revenge against Sydney FC. It wasn’t our best game last time out, but now the younger girls have a bit more experience at big stadiums and the speed of play at W-League level.

“Hopefully we can turn it around and give them a good run for their money.”

Featured Image: Supplied

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Jye Campbell
Journalism student at Western Sydney. Love my football (#lazoumance) and rugby league (#pantherpride). Advocate for FIFA Career Modes. Covering Western Sydney Wanderers in both A-League and W-League for the 2020/21 season.
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