The Matildas were dealt a blow on the eve of their departure for the AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers with forward Larissa Crummer ruled out due to a knee injury.
The 20 year old suffered the injury in Australia’s final practice match against an Illawarra Stingrays Select side last Friday night in Wollongong.
It was the only dampener on a night that saw a strong 2,000 plus crowd on hand to see the Matildas in action before they depart for Japan.
“Larissa (Crummer) suffered a knock to her knee going for a header during the first half of our training game last night,” said head coach Alen Stajcic of the incident.
“After scans this morning and consultation with the medical staff, unfortunately she won’t be available for the qualifying tournament.”
“It’s really disappointing news for Larissa because she had a great W-League season and has been looking really good at training leading up to this tournament.”
Crummer will be replaced by in form Canberra United striker Ashleigh Sykes.
Sykes, who was a member of the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup team, was one of the top players in the W-League 2015/16 season, leading Canberra with 7 goals.
The pacy forward had initially ruled herself out of selection contention four month ago but the Crummer injury has seen a reversal in the decision.
“Ash Sykes will now come into the squad and with the great form she showed in the W-League, we’re confident she will add another dimension to our attack.”
Sykes joins a Matildas team who finished off their AFC Women’s Olympic Qualifiers campaign with a 6 – 1 over the Illawarra Stingrays Select side.
The match saw Stajcic rotate his squad for one final run experimenting with different combinations and players in different positions with many of the side in great form.
Standouts on the night included key midfielder Katrina Gorry, Tameka Butt, while defenders Caitlin Cooper, Alanna Kennedy and Steph Catley also had strong matches.
These same players also proved popular post match as they interacted with fans and signed autographs.
The Matildas depart on Monday for a week long training camp in Nara with the local community already set for their arrival.
Australia commences their Olympic Qualifiers campaign on Monday, 29 February against 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup finalists and tournament hosts Japan.