• Kate McShea taking on China in the 2004 Australia Cup (Getty Images)Source: Getty Images
For many of the current Queensland Matildas, defender Kate McShea was a source of wisdom and guidance. Capped 73 times from 1999 to 2009, McShea was at the heart of Australia's defence for a decade through several World Cup and Olympic campaigns.
By
Danielle Warby

Source:
Zela
5 May 2016 - 4:00 PM  UPDATED 5 May 2016 - 4:00 PM

As with any good Matildas defender, Kate McShea started her football career further up the park (as a defensive midfielder) before finding her eventual home in the backline. 

McShea's sound reading of the game and timely tackles were key to Australia's rise in the mid-2000s and the 33 year old formed a formidable combination alongside some of Australia's great defenders including Cheryl Salisbury and Dianne Alagich.  

After captaining the Brisbane Roar (then Queensland Roar) to the first ever W-League Premiership and Championship in 2009, McShea retired to the life of an operator at a coal mine in Singleton.  

The most exciting players in the current Matildas squad

I think the most valuable players at the moment are Elise Kellond-Knight and Emily Van Egmond. They both are such classy players under pressure and I think they do a lot of the work that goes unnoticed.

Although Emily did score a fantastic goal against China, I think they both just do the simple things really well, great touches and keep possession and Elise is always there covering in defence when we need her but also starts a lot of our attacks.

Pressure or no pressure - the Matildas are medal ready

I think looking at their present performances there is no doubt they can come home from Rio with a medal. We have finally learn how to grind out wins and take the few chances that we get which is what they did against North Korea. That's something Australian teams have lack in previous years.

I don't think there is too much pressure on this team, I think they have the talent and self-belief to handle the pressure.  They seem ready for the challenge.

Other advice for today's Matildas

The only advice I would give to the current team is keep the self-belief going, keep the confidence rolling but also keep challenging each other and making sure they are all on the same page and all putting the team first. Don't become complacent.

The Olympic Dream and inspirations

We didn't perform that well at the Sydney Olympics and I was only 17 and it was my first major tournament so I learn a lot as a player about preparing for big games and not getting too caught up in all the hype.

Di Alagich would be the player I most looked up to in the Sydney 2000 team. She was such a strong and determined player that would play through all sorts of injuries and do anything for the team. It was never about the accolades, she always put the team first and I have never seen anyone train as hard as she did.

Two fondest Olympic memories

My fondest memory would have to be from the opening ceremony, obviously we were the last athletes to enter the stadium. 

Just walking through the tunnel before we entered the stadium, with all the other Australian athletes and there was just a buzz and hype in the air.  When we got to the end of the tunnel and walked onto the athletics track and there was this almighty cheer like I have never heard before. It's a feeling I will never forget and I don't think ever experience again.

Her advice to FIFA and the FFA

I think women's football will keep growing and growing if the team keeps being successful. I think FFA needs to keep promoting the game and getting it out there to the regional areas and getting as many strong competitions running as they can.

Getting the girls images out there and giving young players the opportunity to see how far they can go if they want to in this game in this country. 

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