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After being jointly named Young Player of the Year in the 2009 Westfield W-League competition, versatile Brisbane Roar midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight has conceded she won’t be able to run around anonymously this season.
Her solid performance last year will not go unnoticed by opposition players determined to cross her path but the 20-year-old said she’s not backing away from the new challenge.
“Not having that unknown [quality] batting for you, people know how you play and they will figure out ways to work against you,” Kellond-Knight said.
“That is going to be a challenge for me this year.”
Brisbane Roar Women coach Jeff Hopkins believes the added attention is part and parcel with making the push for national selection.
“They start to look at your game a little bit more and analyse you, so that is going to be a challenge for her this year, to keep improving her game,” Hopkins said.
“I’ve got no doubt that she will thrive on that little, extra bit of competition.”
According to Hopkins, Kellond-Knight’s versatility as a player could ease the strain on shaking a tag, while giving opposition players a headache.
“She can do as good a job as a left back as she can through the centre of the midfield,” he said.
“She can also beat people one on one, so she gives us a lot of options and she also as a coach gives me that little bit of versatility and a little bit of surprise for the opposition coach.”
Kellond-Knight is confident heading into the Sydney FC clash this Saturday at Ballymore, eager to face the team that took the premiership from their hands in last year’s grand final defeat.
“The preparations leading into the W-League have been good and playing the first game of the season against one of the best teams will definitely give an indication of how we are going to go this year,” she said.
“There is still a sour taste in our mouth after last season.
“It is always good to get revenge and I am sure everyone is going to be up for the game.”
Kellond-Knight says she sees the standard of football in the Westfield W-League increase each year and expects nothing different this season.
“This is my third season coming into it,” she said.
“We were runaway winners the first season but in the second season, we had the title grabbed out from underneath us.
“I think this season is going to be an even bigger challenge and there will be a [number of] teams of high quality.”
Kellond-Knight has collected a range of accolades in her short football career, yet she is not becoming complacent.
Her eyes are firmly set on being selected for the Westfield Matildas squad to compete at next year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup and one day representing Australia at an Olympic meet.
“I got into football at a young age and persisted with it because I love playing it,” she said.
“I am just lucky enough that I have developed to a stage where I can represent Australia.... It’s the pure enjoyment.
“Being able to turn up to training and know that you are going to have a good time. It is just that love for it that has kept me going.
“I haven’t been to a World Cup yet and I haven’t been to an Olympics and I think they are the two main things I want to tick off.”
The Queenslander’s efforts are no longer flying under the radar and coach Hopkins has high hopes for the young player.
“I would say she was our best player last year,” Hopkins said.
“Someone of her age who has the consistency that she has, her performance last year was amazing really.
“She is a really smart footballer, she is very good technically and her physical attributes are great as well.
“She has got strength and pace, so I think she is going to be a really important player for us this year and for the Matildas ongoing.”
Brisbane Roar’s first Westfield W- League game against Sydney FC kicks off at 2pm on Saturday 6 November at Ballymore Stadium, Clyde Road, Herston.