New recruit Isabel Hodgson insists the message this season from Head Coach Ivan Karlovic has been simple: “to respect them, don’t fear them” regardless of the opposition.
Boasting Matildas star striker and Women’s Ballon d’Or nominee Sam Kerr leading the Westfield W-League’s most potent attack, the high flying Perth Glory face the Reds at Marden Sports Complex on Thursday night.
Despite the Glory’s embarrassment of attacking riches, Hodgson says the Reds are heading into the game with confidence owning the best defensive record in the league to date.
“Perth play similar to us,” she said.
“We are going into the game feeling confident, but also wary of what kind of game they will bring.
“Obviously they’ve got the likes of Sam Kerr and other Matildas, but they still play as a unit and don’t rely on those star players.
“We’ve also been one of those teams who prove that you don’t need to be packed with Matildas to be successful.”
United has made an impressive start to the season, the best in Club history, but Hodgson says the job is far from over if the girls hope to make a Westfield W-League Finals appearance.
“Our first and foremost goal is to get into the Westfield W-League Finals and place as high as we can.
“We’ve shown already that we’re undefeated after four games which has never happened so I think we’re off to a great start, but there’s still a lot of work to do.
“We can definitely play better than we have been, so we have that extra gear we need to go to so we can get into Finals.”
Recently returned to South Australia following her US college campaign with Eastern Tennessee State University, Hodgson was thrust into the squad earlier than expected in the Reds last gasp 1-1 draw with Melbourne City.
Despite having spent little over a week back in her home city of Adelaide, Hodgson was utilised off the bench as a second half substitute, much to her surprise.
“I was expecting to have a bit more time to settle back into the side and trainings, we’ve unfortunately had a few injuries so I got the call up – but of course I was happy to play,” she said.
“I felt prepared, the only thing was getting used to the girls and the way they play, but it’s better to get that first game out of the way sooner rather than later.
“I knew a lot of the girls from playing with them before in Adelaide, but getting to know the new international girls has been great, they’ve been so welcoming and made sure to introduce themselves to me straight away.
“They are definite leaders and bring a lot of direction and communication on the field.”
The 1-1 draw against Melbourne City provided one of the season’s most thrilling finishes as Georgia Campagnale equalised in the 97th minute with a powerful low drive into the bottom left corner.
Taking to the field in the 60th minute, Hodgson said she was impressed at her team’s ability to attack until the dying moments of the game, and in the way they have proved themselves as strong competitors this season.
“During the last 10-15 minutes of the game we had a lot of shots on goal, and you could sense that something was going to happen,” she said.
“Michelle hit the crossbar with a header, and we had a lot of other close shots, so when Georgia hit that goal it was such an amazing celebration.
“We felt like we deserved that point, and it showed that even after 97 minutes we were the kind of team that would fight to the end.”
Adelaide United host Perth Glory in Round 6 of the Westfield W-League 2018/19 season on Thursday, 6 December at Marden Sports Complex. Kick-off is at 7.00pm ACDT. Gates open at 6.00pm.