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Quiet achiever Burgess says farewell

Saturday, 22 February 2014 3:00 PM
 
 

Quiet achiever Burgess says farewell

All journeys must eventually come to an end. For Brisbane Roar wide midfielder Joanne Burgess that odyssey has lasted 15 years and included numerous highlights capped by 40 matches for Australia, a FIFA Women’s World Cup appearance and of course countless memories.

Sunday’s Westfield W-League Grand Final will be the final outing at the top level for the 34-year-old Burgess whose career spans three decades, all the way back to the 1999/2000 National Women’s League season.

Now with "the body catching up with me, and a full time job" the Sydney born-and-bred Burgess has, just a little reluctantly, decided to hang up the boots.

"It’s exciting and sad at the same time," said Burgess. "I will miss it, the little things."

Now 34, Burgess is one of the veterans in Belinda Wilson’s Roar squad and has played for the club since joining in 2009 featuring in three Grand Finals, after spending the inaugural Westfield W-League season with Sydney FC.

A pacy flanker with close dribbling skills and an ability to run at players, Burgess was often a quiet achiever but nevertheless a popular squad member.

And what major highlights stand out? "My debut against the US in 2005," is Burgess’ immediate response. "I was just so excited that I was even going on the field.

"I actually never ever thought I would play for Australia. I perhaps wasn’t as serious as I could have been as a young player. It wasn’t until (Sydney FC coach) Alen Stajcic made me pull my finger out that I sorted myself out."

Burgess was a permanent member of the Westfield Matildas squad for four years, during the period in which the team made a breakthrough on the world stage capped by winning through to the quarter-finals of the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2007.

"The highlight was playing against Brazil in the quarter-finals on my 28th birthday.... that was pretty cool.

"It was an honour to have been involved in that team. We were so tight knit, we were one big family and everyone got along. I think that is why played so well. But I really miss that.

And the worst on-field experience? "Losing to North Korea and missing out on the (2007) Olympics...I never thought a game of soccer could hurt so much.

For now though one last remaining chapter remains to be written as Brisbane Roar hunt an unprecedented third Westfield W-League crown at Melbourne’s Lakeside stadium.

It could have been a truly storybook ending with Sydney FC’s defeat last weekend ending the possibility of the Grand Final being played at Burgess’ local ground; Campbelltown Stadium in south-west Sydney.

"I can’t wait to step out onto that pitch. Either way I’m just happy to go out in a Grand Final."

 
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