Newcastle defender Hannah Brewer was aiming to use the excitement of a Matildas squad recall to help gain a place at the Algarve Cup.
Brewer, 24, and Newcastle captain Emily van Egmond were on Wednesday announced in a 25-woman preliminary squad for a four-day training camp in Sydney starting Saturday. The squad will be cut to 22 for the Algarve Cup in Portugal, which starts February 28. If selected, Brewer will return to the Matildas for the first time since 2014, when she gained one cap at the Cyprus Cup.
“I couldn’t believe it,” Brewer said of the call-up.
“I was super excited and now I just have to turn the nerves into a bit of a drive and excitement while I’m in there and not get carried away with that.”
Brewer, a foundation Jets W-League player, returned to Newcastle this year and helped the club make the finals for the first time in nine seasons. She was given a first-halfred card in the 3-2 extra-time semi-final loss to Sydney last Saturday for a challenge on Lisa De Vanna.
It was a tough finish to an otherwise solid season for Brewer, who scored goal of the round – her first in the W-League – in the 3-1 win over Melbourne Victory.
She said the drive to get back into the Matildas “has always been there”.
“Obviously it’s just taken me a few years to better my football and get to that level,” she said. “I went away from Newcastle and developed my game, I gained more confidence being away and to now come back to Newcastle and play at my best, create success for not only myself but for the club and the town is something I wanted to do.”
She said the support of Jets coach Craig Deans had been vital.
“He instilled a lot of confidence in me and without a coach like that I obviously wouldn’t have been playing the football that I have been lately,” she said.
“You also do it for the fans, your teammates and for yourself, and that’s been my drive this season. Doing it for the supporters and the club, and it’s got me to the level I’m at now, and I’m starting to see some rewards for hard work, which is awesome.”