From 2002 to 2012, Thea Slatyer was one of the toughest, most feared defenders in the game. Slayter was part of the solid Matildas defence through the Athens 2004 Olympics, the 2007 FIFA Women's World Cup and won silver and gold at the 2006 AFC Women's Asian Cup and 2010 AFC Women's Asian Cup, respectively.
Ann Odong

2 Jun 2016 - 3:15 PM  UPDATED 2 Jun 2016 - 3:15 PM

Slatyer is as fearless off the pitch as she was on it and retirement hasn't seen the Sydneysider taking it easy. Studying to become a mechanical engineer, Slatyer also works as a corrosion inspector on offshore oil and gas rigs and part time as an aerospace Non-destructive testing technician.

Most exciting players to watch

For me 3 of the most exciting players in this group would be De Vanna, van Egmond and Lydia Williams.

De Vanna has developed into one of the greatest in the game.  When she was young she was thrilling to watch due to her sheer speed and unpredictability and tenacity. Now as a matured and fully sculptured athlete she has so much experience and with that comes wisdom, combined with her embedded passion for the game and her presence on the field.  

To watch Lisa play with all her skill and creativity is pure entertainment. In stature I would hold her in similarity to the greats Sun Wen and Julie Murray.

Lisa De Vanna opens up about the captaincy, the Matildas’ strike and the Olympics
We can always count on Lisa de Vanna to be candid! And this interview does not disappoint...

Em is a natural born footballer, her game is clever, instinctive and she has an inherent knowledge of the game which for her age is remarkable. She is technically gifted with good balance and her game awareness and touch on the ball are both impeccable. She brings solidarity to the midfield and oozes self confidence which will only grow stronger with time and experience.

Lyds is an unfathomable presence in goals. She is the confident, solid as a rock and she is in control of the game which gives so much strength to her defenders. The alliance with the defenders and the keeper is imperative and when you have that mutual trust in each other's ability to do their job then you have great strength at the core of the team.

There are so many exciting players in this team, I feel privileged to have played alongside many of them in their formative years and now to watch them lead with maturity and strength. I look forward to seeing them develop into even greater athletes.

Lydia Williams: Queen of the 'keepers
We have seen what she can do in the W-League and on an international scale, but what is it about goalkeeper Lydia Williams that we still need to know? We sent Leah Cwikel on a mission to find out.

When it comes to the Olympics, anything can happen 

The English girls made the semi final last year in the World Cup there is no reason that we can't make it further than that. We've beaten world champions Japan recently and we can go all the way. The only thing that can challenge us is our lack of experience in finals football, we may be in unfamiliar territory and with that comes more pressure.

I think the girls can handle it. And once that environment of being in semi finals and grand finals becomes more familiar it is inevitable that gold will be within reach.

My s(heroes)

My standout out players through the Sydney 2000 Olympics were Di alagich, Kele Golebiowski, Sunni Hughes and Julie Murray.

At Athens 2004, it was Joey peters, Sally Shipard, Heather Garriock, Sarah Walsh.

Athens memories

My favourite memories of the 2004 Athens Olympus was the closing ceremony, playing in Crete in the Mediterranean which was paradise, the athletes village was the quintessential Olympic experience, everything is free and it is rockstar treatment all the way, police convoys, road blocks to the competition games. As an Olympic athlete it is the one time you are treated like a true professional athlete.

And all the greats are around you, sitting next to you on the bus, eating lunch in the giant mess room. You have all the best athletes in the world living around you for two weeks and everyone Is in peak condition. And ladies remember to follow the big shot athletes to the best celebrations post competition, the infamous Sports Illustrated parties!

Earning the rings

There is nothing like being an Olympian at an Olympic Games. It will be the best time of your lives, you will never want to be a spectator again and nothing can take the experience away from you. You can be an ex Matilda but you will always be an Olympian.

I have the rings tattooed on my wrist, it is a legacy that you earn as an athlete in the games.

Make the most the Olympic moments

You only have a certain amount of time to be doing this so you may as well make the most of it while you can and enjoy every minute of it. Don't  get caught up in the small mind stuff. Rise above the tough times and don't focus on anything but improving your own game. Don't compare yourself to others and don't compete with anyone else except yourself.

Matildas "Old Girls": Alicia Ferguson-Cook, midfielder
From 1997 - 2008, Alicia Ferguson-Cook pulled on the green and gold for the Matildas through two World Cups, an Olympic Games and a silver medal at the 2006 AFC Women's Asian Cup.
Matildas "Old Girls": Sacha Wainwright, defender
In a decade in the national team, Wainwright made 65 international appearances for the Matildas, including as vice captain at the Athens 2004 Olympics. What does she think of this current crop of players?
Matildas "Old Girls": Kate McShea, defender
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.
Matildas "Old Girls": Alison Forman, midfielder and 2000 Olympic captain
From 1989-2002, retired Matildas star midfielder Alison Forman was capped 77 times and captained the side at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. We think she's earned the right then to give the current Matildas squad, FIFA and the FFA some valuable advice and insight.