Matildas clearing decks to usher in new era
Veteran striker Kyah Simon will be a second notable absentee from the Matildas squad to face Chile next month as coach Ante Milicic takes a sentiment-free approach to his Olympics qualifying plans.
Simon's hopes of playing in February's qualifying tournament for the Tokyo Games seem to have taken a significant blow after she joined record goalscorer Lisa De Vanna in being omitted from the squad to be named next week for a double header with Chile in November.
It's understood that Simon is still carrying an injury picked up in a training camp held by Milicic earlier this month.
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The Melbourne City striker fell heartbreakingly short in a desperate race to be fit for the World Cup in June, after months of intensive rehab in the wake of ankle surgery, but has spoken of her desire to keep playing after 87 caps for her country.
Both she and De Vanna - who with 150 caps is one behind all-time record holder Cheryl Salisbury - are absent from the draft squad distributed to players and clubs this week for the Chile games, but which includes a number of players with scant playing time in recent months.
Emily van Egmond is named after having ankle surgery in August, while Elise Kellond Knight is expected to be included despite a hamstring injury that has ruled her out since August.
Young star Mary Fowler hasn't been included as she is currently with the Young Matildas at the U23 AFC Championships - but Karly Roestbakken, captain of the Young Matildas, is expected to join up with the senior squad once the U23 Championship is over.
The two games with Chile - at Bankwest Stadium on November 9, and in Adelaide three days later - are Milicic's only chance to work with his squad, before he names the Olympic qualifying group in January.
Last month he promised that the squad to face Chile would be "the strongest possible", meaning De Vanna and Simon face an apparently uphill battle to force their way back into Milicic's Olympic plans - though it's understood both are on an extended list of 50 players that has already ready been submitted to the AFC.