Matildas coach to change things up against Brazil
MATILDAS boss Alen Stajcic will ring the changes for Tuesday night's clash with Brazil, prepared to sacrifice short-term results in the pursuit of giving more players the experience to thrive at the top level.
Determined to intensify competition for places ahead of next year's Asian Cup, Stajcic will continue to shake things up as he seeks a core of 25-30 battle-hardened names to call upon at future tournaments.
Deploying what he described as "virtually a different team" to last Saturday's 2-1 defeat of the South Americans in Penrith, Stajcic said he was determined to learn lessons from last year's Olympic campaign, when injuries to key players were impossible to cover for.
Australia will bring in three new faces from the team that started on Saturday - but also will make seven positional changes.
Though Brazil coach Emily Lima is likely to follow suit, it will still provide a timely indication of Australia's flexibility and depth of personnel.
"It really hurt us at the Olympics where we had one or two injuries and not enough cover," Stajcic said.
"That was a lesson for us, and it's something we've been determined to address, even at the risk of losing some fluency.
"It's a necessary evil, in a sense, to expose as many players as possible in these games.
"So we'll bring in Chloe Logarzo, Hayley Raso and Claire Polkinghorne, but a lot of players will switch around the park so to all intents and purposes it's virtually a different team."
Stajcic said all the players would benefit from having challengers for their spots, with few able to assume they would start in any game.
"Competition for places is one of the things that will drive this group forward," he said.
"If we have 25-30 players, all determined to be in the starting XI, that's a very healthy situation for me as coach but also for them as athletes.
"For the first time in history, really, there aren't too many players who can expect to play. That will help to harden the core belief in our squad, the sort of belief we need to be among the best."
Lim confirmed she would also put out a significantly different team in Newcastle.
"We will probably change as it's part of our planning for the World Cup and Olympics qualifying," she said.
"We will use all opportunities to see people play, including the goalkeeper."