International-style matches were played by Australian women prior to 1979, usually consisting of ‘All Stars’ squads selected from the national championships.
Games were held in Australia as well as tours to Hong Kong in 1975 and Taipei in 1978. However, 1979 marks the first official International with the arrival on Australian shores of the New Zealand team for the inaugural three Test Trans-Tasman Trophy with matches played in Sydney and Brisbane.
Throughout the next decade the Australian team played over twenty A internationals in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, China, and New Caledonia, including three Oceania Cups (1983, 1986, 1989) and were variously coached by at least half a dozen coaches including Trixie Tagg, Jim Selby, Fred Robins, John Doyle, and Steve Darby.
Fred Robins (Coach)
Clubs: Acacia Ridge, Mount Gravatt
English-born Fred Robins devoted most of his soccer life to coaching. After playing in the UK civil service competition and with various navy teams, he passed the English FA Senior Award course in 1968. Shortly after he emigrated to Australia, settling in Queensland. Following his involvement with clubs teams, Robins became Queensland Coaching Association president from 1977 to 1985. He completed the Australian Senior Award in 1972 and the FIFA Advanced Course in 1998. He was head coach of the Australian women’s national team during the second half of the decade, and also state and youth teams, winning national and overseas honours. He was acknowledged as a hard taskmaster who instilled knowledge and fitness in his players. From 1970 to 1993 he took part in coaching courses and clinics. He was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame in 2002.
Julie Dolan (Captain)
Born: 5 January 1961, Sydney
Clubs: St George, Marconi, Ballina, Sutherland, Grange Thistle, Arncliffe Scots
A commanding central midfielder from Northern New South Wales, Julie Dolan played 34 matches for Australia in a ten-year career. She played the first of her 18 A internationals against New Zealand in 1979 as Australia’s captain. A highly strategic and intelligent captain, she dominated the game in this era. Her attacking nature saw her score four international goals at the highest level. She was Australia’s captain on six occasions and played in the World Invitational Tournament twice, the first Oceania Cup in 1983 and the pilot World Cup in China in 1988. That same year the Australian Women’s Soccer Association created the ‘Julie Dolan Medal’ for best player of the year and in 1999 she was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame.
Born: 1963, Wales
Clubs: Dandenong, Waverley, Berwick, Cranbourne Comets
Goalkeeper Theresa Deas from Victoria debuted for Australia during the 1980 Test series against New Zealand, holding her place in the Australian goal for almost ten years. Solid and reliable in goal, she was an outstanding communicator on the field. In all she played ten A internationals, including the 1983 and 1986 Oceania Cups, the 1987 World Invitational Tournament in Taiwan, and the 1988 pilot World Cup in China where she played an integral part in Australia’s 1-0 victory over Brazil. She was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame in 2003
Born: 27 December 1963, Toowoomba
Clubs: Mt Gravatt, Salisbury, Annerley, Grange Thistle, Eastern Suburbs (Qld)
Queensland striker Leanne Priestly made her international debut against New Zealand in 1981 in New Zealand. A tall forward, she was consistently strong on the ball. She possessed great positional sense and often played with her back to the goal, ready to turn and shoot. She scored twice for Australia in their 6-0 defeat of Hong Kong during the 1987 fourth World Invitational Tournament in Taiwan. In all she represented Australia on 20 occasions including in two Oceania Cups in 1986 and 1989, playing matches in New Zealand, Taiwan, China and Australia.
Born: 27 June 1962, Nottingham, England
Clubs: Girrawheen, Inglewood, Kiev, Olympic Kingsway, Leeming Strikers
Sandra Brentnall holds the distinction of scoring Australia’s first international goal during her debut in the first Test match against New Zealand in Sydney in 1979. A compact striker from Western Australia, Brentnall was a versatile, highly mobile and hungry forward who had the ability to elude the defence. She also scored four goals in the return Test series in New Zealand in 1980, including a hat-trick in the third match in Christchurch which Australia won 3-2. She played in the first Oceania Cup in 1983 scoring in the final. She represented Australia in 19 international matches, scoring nine goals.
Born: 6 February 1963
Northern New South Wales striker Renaye Iserief made her international debut in the first Oceania Cup in 1983 held in New Caledonia where she scored a hat-trick in Australia’s 13-0 defeat of Fiji. A formidable, imposing, yet highly mobile forward, her height contributed to her strength in the air. She also represented Australia in the second Oceania Cup in 1986, scoring a goal in Australia’s 1-0 defeat of New Zealand, and two goals against Hong Kong in the fourth World Invitational Tournament in Taiwan, finishing with a career tally of 9 goals between 1983 and 1987, and playing 30 internationals.
Born: 26 July 1959, Brisbane
Clubs:Newmarket, Southside Eagles, Eastern Suburbs, University of Queensland
Linking the midfield with the forward line, attacking Queenslander Sue Monteath debuted at A international level against New Zealand in 1979. A busy, productive and attacking player who could also always be relied upon in a defensive situation, she represented Australia for over 10 years, captaining the side from 1984 to 1987. In all, she represented Australia 46 times, including 23 at A international level. She played in the first Oceania Cup in 1983, scoring a hat-trick in Australia’s 13-0 defeat of Fiji. She captained Australia on the tour of China in 1984, again in the second Oceania Cup in New Zealand in 1986 and in 1987 in the World Invitational Tournament, scoring in Australia’s 6-0 defeat of Hong Kong bringing her career goal tally to four. She was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame in 2004.
Born: 9 April 1961, Sydney
Clubs: St George, Marconi
Attacking midfielder and striker Cindy Heydon from New South Wales was a prolific scorer throughout her career. She possessed the match-winning ability to change a game, and displayed a combination and level of skill and knowledge rarely equalled. She made her A international debut against New Zealand in 1979, and calmly scored Australia’s penalty to force a draw with New Zealand in 1980. She captained Australia for the 1981 tour of New Zealand. She played in the first Oceania Cup in 1983 in New Caledonia, scoring a hat-trick in Australia’s 13-0 defeat of Fiji and a goal in Australia’s 5-0 defeat of New Caledonia. She played in Australia’s 1984 tour of China, completing 23 internationals with five goals. She was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame in 2002.
Born: 1959, Victoria
Centre back Andrea Martin from Victoria was a tall, imposing defender who ruled the defensive line. Often called upon for set play kicks, corners and penalties, she debuted at A international level for Australia in the second Oceania Cup in 1986 played in New Zealand. She scored a goal in the final in Australia’s 1-4 loss to Taiwan. In total she played ten international matches for Australia.
Born: 18 August 1961, Brisbane
Clubs: Eastern Suburbs (Qld)
Sweeper Joanne Millman from Queensland was one of the mainstays of the Australian defensive line for over 13 years. She made her international debut in the 1983 tour to Hawaii prior to the first Oceania Cup. Tenacious, reliable and ever-present in defence, Joanne Millman played in 39 internationals including all three Oceania Cups (1983, 1986 and 1989), the 1984 tour to China, the 1987 World Invitational Tournament in Taiwan and the 1988 pilot World Cup in China where Australia scored a surprise 1-0 win against Brazil. She was inducted into the FFA Hall of Fame in 2002.
Born: 25 October 1960
Queensland defender Michelle Sawyers was always a highly effective and reliable player in Australia’s backline. Twice named Australian player of the tour following competitions in Taiwan (1987) and Japan (1989), Sawyer’s defensive skills were essential to the success of the team and she enjoyed the freedom to work constructively on the pitch with Australia’s midfield, making attacking runs. She played in the 1987 World Invitational Tournament in Taiwan, the 1989 third Oceania Cup, and the 1989 tour of Japan, and her football career extended to the 1991 World Cup qualifiers. She played 25 internationals for Australia.
Rose van Bruinessen
Born: 1962, New South Wales
Defender Rose van Bruinessen from New South Wales debuted in the inaugural Test series against New Zealand in 1979. In the backline she exhibited class and poise, and had outstanding composure on the ball. She enjoyed the true defender’s ability to read the play and possessed great anticipation. She also played in the return series in New Zealand in 1980 scoring a goal to level the match. She played New Zealand again in 1981 and captained Australia in the first Oceania Cup in 1983 in New Caledonia, followed by a tour to China and Taiwan in 1984. She played 25 internationals for Australia.