Cortnee Vine has already had the biggest year of her life – and it’s only March.
The 24-year-old Sydney FC star’s talents were on full display during the Cup of Nations tournament, but the transition back to the A-League Women before the World Cup in August has been hard on the young Matilda.
“I am absolutely exhausted,” she told AAP.
“Three games in seven days, coming straight from club-land, that’s still something I’m getting used to but the girls that have been in it for a while are accustomed to it. Like Sam (Kerr), who just scored fresh off a flight from Europe – that’s insane, I don’t know how she does it.”
While Vine has her sights set firmly on World Cup selection, luckily for Sydney FC, she hasn’t forgotten about her ALW side.
The second-ranked Sky Blues will host ladder-leading Western United on Sunday in what is set to be a spirited clash.
Sydney sit six points behind their opponents, but have two games in hand, and are desperate not to the let the gap widen.
United will come in firing after a historic 6-0 win against Newcastle last weekend and knowing they won the only meeting between the two sides 2-0 back in early January.
Memories of a certain rivalry with United’s TJ Vlajnic are also sure to keep Vine focused on the task at hand.
“I hope she marks me, she’s such a great player and we do have some history but it’s a bit laughable,” Vine said.
“The last time we played she was up front though so our paths didn’t cross.”
Vlajnic was sent off during the 2021-2022 semi-final for bringing the Matilda down in the second half and Vine went on to score two goals.
For Vine, playing in the A-League and versing a top side like Western United provides perfect World Cup training.
“Match fitness is massive, especially getting 90 minutes under my belt, versing a team that we lost against last time, being in a league where sometimes I get double-teamed and having to figure out how to get ouf of that, it’s all crucial,” she said.
“I’m only in the Matildas because of the A-League.”
While many of the 24-year-old’s Matildas teammates, including Sam Kerr and Caitlin Foord, play in world-class European competitions, Vine believes the A-League is where she needs to be.
“I am definitely someone that needs to be around my support network,” she said.
“Each individual has their own thing they want to do with their career, and at the moment, I’m stoked that I’m here and get to do it here.”
With only five games left before the A-League Women final, the next challenge for the winger will be staying fit to remain a strong World Cup contender.
“I’ve been working pretty closely with the strength and conditioning coach for Matilda,” she said.
“I’m going to do whatever they tell me to do to be there.”