NEWCASTLE Jets captain and player of the year Gema Simon has expressed her relief and gratitude to Matildas management after regaining her spot in the national team training squad on Monday.
Simon and Jets vice-captain Hannah Brewer were picked on Monday in a 24-woman squad to attend a final, six-day camp starting today on the Gold Coast.
It will be the last chance for players to impress new coach Alen Stajcic ahead of selections for the May 14-25 Women’s Asian Cup in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, which will serve as a qualifier for the 2015 World Cup.
Jets striker Rhali Dobson, who debuted off the bench for Australia against Brazil three weeks ago in Brisbane, was omitted from the training camp.
Simon debuted for Australia at the Cyprus Cup early last month but made herself unavailable for the national squad for the two-game series against Brazil due to a 3-week holiday to America she had booked before her Matildas call-up.
She returned home last Wednesday and returned to training with Sydney club side Macarthur Rams before helping them to a 6-1 thumping of Northbridge on Sunday.
Simon had an understanding with Matildas coach Hesterine de Reus before leaving for America that the trip would not affect her place in the side. However, de Reus was sacked while Simon was away after a player revolt against the Dutchwoman.
Stajcic has been installed as an interim coach and Simon was grateful and excited to regain her place in the selection frame.
‘‘It’s a relief [to make the squad], especially with the change of coach,’’ Simon said.
‘‘I didn’t really know what was happening when I got back. I just waited until I got an email.
‘‘But the manager said he told Staj about where I was and what was happening, so that was really good.’’
Former Jets Melissa Barbieri, Emily van Egmond, Kate Gill, Nicola Bolger and Alanna Kennedy also made the squad.
Brewer and Simon will be on the edge of selection for the final Asian Cup team, which will be announced three days after the camp.
While she was away, Simon was named Jets W-League player of the year for the second time.
The foundation player claimed the honour in 2009-10 and said it was ‘‘a nice surprise’’ to claim a second.
‘‘It’s always nice and special to receive one of those awards that your peers vote for,’’ Simon said.