AFTER failing to make the Newcastle Jets W-League roster 18 months ago, Rhali Dobson vowed to prove the doubters wrong and take a fearless approach again to her football.
Today, Dobson will leave a Matildas training camp with hopes of playing for Australia at May’s Asian Cup, which doubles as World Cup 2015 qualifiers.
The 21-year-old striker is part of a four-day, 22-woman camp at the Australian Institute of Sport, which finishes this afternoon.
Jets teammates Gema Simon and Hannah Brewer are also at the camp, which excludes players from W-League grand finalists Melbourne Victory and Brisbane and is part of preparations for the Asian Cup and a 12-nation lead-in tournament, the Cyprus Cup.
An Australian team will be picked on Monday to leave for the Cyprus Cup.
Selection for the initial camp caps a meteoric rise for Dobson, who won the golden boot in the Newcastle Herald Women’s Premier League last season to help reclaim her spot in the Jets squad after missing a place in 2012-13.
The speedster, a foundation Jet in 2008, was one of Newcastle’s best in a tough season in which they came last with one competition point.
Dobson made the most of her opportunities to gain the attention of national selectors after last being in the green and gold as a 14-year-old in the under-17 team.
However, the selection took the University of Newcastle student, who is in the last year of an occupational therapy degree, by surprise.
‘‘It was something that I had taken off the cards,’’ Dobson said of her national team ambitions. ‘‘I was more set on getting through the next three months of uni.
‘‘Then I got the phone call. I had to ask the team manager to repeat what he said because I was in a fair bit of shock. It’s amazing.’’
Dobson said the turnaround had followed a change in philosophy after ‘‘a couple of years where I really didn’t play well’’.
‘‘I came out in this W-League season and knew I had to go out and play like the player I used to be when I was a lot younger, which was just don’t care, attack, run, score goals and set other people up.
‘‘Basically I just took on the advice my dad’s been trying to give me for about six years. I just went out there not caring about making mistakes and just giving it all I could.’’
She said missing the Jets squad had been a blessing in disguise.
‘‘I felt I’d been done wrong in not making the squad,’’ she said. ‘‘I thought I’ll just prove them wrong and come back better and stronger, and I did in winning the golden boot in the WPL.
‘‘Then I thought I’ve got to keep going and carry that on into the W-League season.’’
Regardless of what happens next, Dobson was enjoying the shock elevation to the Matildas set-up.
‘‘This is a bit like Christmas for me,’’ she said.
‘‘I just want to take it all as a big learning experience and take it one day at a time.
‘‘If I get to go overseas and play for Australia and at the Asia Cup, then good on me. I’ve obviously done the work for it. I’m just so thrilled to be here.’’