Matildas teammates rally around Sam Kerr as 'concerning' Olympics reality exposed

The Matildas were severely lacking in attack in two recent friendlies against Canada.

Sam Kerr, pictured here with Matildas teammate Mary Fowler.
Sam Kerr's Matildas teammates are rallying around her. Image: Getty

Some of Sam Kerr's Matildas teammates have sent messages of support after the captain suffered a devastating ACL injury that will rule her out for the majority of 2024. Kerr's club team Chelsea announced the heartbreaking news on Sunday night that she'd ruptured her anterior cruciate ligament during a training camp in Morocco.

An ACL injury typically results in a player missing between eight and 12 months of action, meaning Kerr is little hope of playing at the Paris Olympics in July. And that's if the Matildas qualify in the first place.

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Tony Gustavvson's side will have to beat Uzbekistan in a two-leg playoff in February to punch their ticket to the Olympics, but the equation has become much harder with Kerr going down. The Matildas didn't miss a beat without their inspirational skipper at the World Cup last year, before she returned midway through the campaign after a calf injury.

But it was a very different story in two friendlies against Canada in December, in which the Matildas offered little in attack. Australia thrashed Canada 4-0 at the World Cup, but were walloped 5-0 and 1-0 this time around.

Gustavsson highlighted the Matildas' lack of speed up front without superstar striker Kerr. Cortnee Vine (hamstring) and Holly McNamara (ACL) were also missing, limiting Australia's speedy options to just wingers Caitlin Foord and Hayley Raso.

"What concerns me a little bit now is the lack of pacy options up front in the four front positions - No.7, No.11, No.9 and No.10," Gustavsson said after the back-to-back losses to Canada. "With McNamara getting injured again and then Vine being out and Sam out, that's something we need to look into how to handle that going forward. Because we had a very clear idea of how to do that in the World Cup and we managed to play without Sam in a very, very good way to win at the World Cup which I'm impressed that the team handled well."

Sam Kerr, pictured here in action for the Matildas.
Sam Kerr will miss the Paris Olympics if the Matildas qualify. (Photo by Amy Halpin/ DeFodi Images via Getty Images)

Matildas teammates send well-wishes to Sam Kerr

The issue of whether the Matildas can thrive without Kerr will once again become a talking point in the matches against Uzbekistan. Even if they can get past their lower-ranked opponents, the fact Kerr won't be playing will make them huge underdogs in Paris.

"Considering how hard Sam has worked over the past six months to return to play, this news is a devastating blow for everyone," Gustavsson said on Monday. "With her ability to lead by example, Sam's guidance and influence on the team is significant and, as a result, this will be an incredible loss for the national team. Our focus now is on ensuring she has all the support she wants and needs to navigate recovery and rehab.

Matildas players were quick to rally around Kerr and send their support on social media. "Absolutely gutted for you my friend," wrote Foord. Emily van Egmond commented: "With you every step of the way, always," while vice-captain Steph Catley added: "No words, here with you every single step."

Katrina Gorry wrote on Instagram: "Thinking of you Sammy. We are with you every step of the way." Charlotte Grant also commented: "We're with you every step of the way." While Ellie Carpenter, who also suffered an ACL tear in recent years, wrote: "With you Sammy".

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