However, that his players overcame so many potential distractions to comfortably beat Chile at home gave the coach plenty of confidence in his team’s mentality heading into the upcoming Olympic Games qualifiers in January.
“There are a lot of things going on around the group with the CBA [collective bargaining agreement], with the record crowd, playing at this stadium, Sammy about to announce her next move,” Milicic said. “When you look at that you have to be pleased and overall I think with such a beautiful occasion and a great week for us, it’s fitting we got the result I think we thoroughly deserve.”
The greatest positive to emerge from the match may not have been the brace for Sam Kerr but the unearthing of a potential gem that could solve Australia’s defensive issues. Jenna McCormick made her debut in the heart of the backline and, to the untrained eye, looked more like a seasoned international veteran than somebody playing their first international.
The former AFLW player was comfortable in possession, stoic in defence and intelligent with her positioning. According to Milicic, there is no reason why she can’t progress to become a regular international and be one of the 18 players on the plane to Tokyo for the Olympics, should they qualify.
“She was dominant, she brought a lot of that physical aspect that we needed from a centre-back,” Milicic said. “What we ask of our centre-backs with the ball you need to be brave and it’s a new way of playing for her at this level and she’s been fantastic. She’s been great around the group and we were really looking at creating depth particularly in that department.”