(Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images)

We are halfway through the Westfield W-League season and Brisbane Roar are still very much alive for finals contention. Beyond 90 had the chance to speak to their star midfielder Tameka Yallop ahead of a must-win clash with 2nd placed Western Sydney Wanderers this Sunday.

Before her return to the Den for another season, Yallop was polishing her craft at Norwegian club Klepp Il in the Toppserien. Klepp Il finished 3rd in the top tier and narrowly missed out on a place in next seasons UEFA Women’s Champions League competition. Yallop started 21 out of a possible 22 games and scored 10 goals.

 

“It’s not really just a top four. They [Toppserien] have some really competitive teams and it’s a good environment to play in – definitely hard to get that Champions League spot,” Yallop said. 

She came home to Brisbane shortly after and signed on with Roar for a second stint after spending the W-League 2018-19 season with Melbourne City FC. 

“It’s good to be back in my home colours. I enjoyed my stint with Melbourne City but it’s always nice to be playing in front of your home crowd and your family”.

Yallop reflected on teammate and well established Matilda Clare Polkinghorne’s new assistant coach role for the season.

“It’s a little more responsibility for her off the field, I think. In terms of her performance [on-field] and how she helps the team as captain, I don’t think that’s changed. She’s always been a strong leader and just doing what she always does”.

Yallop also touched on how NPLW QLD duo Rylee Baisden and Claire Farrington are settling into the side after making the jump to the top division in Australia. 

“They are doing well, everyone that’s come in and around training from the start of the season and pre-season up until now. It’s good and it’s competitive at training so it’s good to have them.”

 

Yallop believes that Sunday’s clash against WSW is the biggest test of the season for Brisbane. 

“They [WSW] beat us in the match before so we will obviously be out to rectify that. And of course chase down those 3 points which we need and hopefully set a course for the rest of the season to make that top four.”

Switching focus to the Westfield Matildas, Yallop believes there is room for improvement in the squad after defeating Chile in the two match series last November. 

“We were fairly happy but we’ve got a few learning moments from those two matches that we will be taking forward and correct going into Olympic Qualifiers. We are all pretty focused on that and looking forward to it,” she shared. 

The Matildas kickoff their qualifying journey for Tokyo 2020 next month with their first match against Chinese Taipei on February 3rd. 

“I think in any Olympics or FIFA World Cup, to any player that makes that squad and gets on that field is definitely a dream come true.” 

Watch Yallop and the Roar this Sunday play Western Sydney Wanderers at Club Marconi, 4pm kick off. Broadcast on ABC, My Football Live App, Kayo and Fox Sports.