Roestbakken returns to reclaim Glory

Canberra's Karly Roestbakken has returned from international duties for round one. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong
Canberra's Karly Roestbakken has returned from international duties for round one. Picture: Sitthixay Ditthavong

The memory of making her Matildas debut still leaves Karly Roestbakken lost for words, but the Canberra United star hopes to capitalise on her international experience to bring W-League glory back to her hometown.

United will push towards a finals return under the leadership of Roestbakken and Nikola Orgill, with coach Heather Garriock naming the pair as co-captains for the 2019-20 season.

Roestbakken enters her fourth season with United and is the longest serving player in Garriock's squad despite being just 18-years-old.

The teenage defender was a late addition for the Matildas' World Cup squad earlier this year and made her international debut off the bench in the miracle of Montpellier.

Her rise to the international stage has paid divot ends for Canberra's new-look squad, with Roestbakken ready to lead the club back to the finals for the first time in three years.

"I've had a pretty big year and it's quite exciting for me so I'm ready to step up for this club," Roestbakken said.

"I learned a lot from the older players at the World Cup and I've gained a lot more experience, but there's still a long way to go in that field.

"I definitely think I can bring some aspects of that back into Canberra United. I'm very excited to get out there and give my all to help my team achieve what we want to achieve this season."

The teenage defender returned to the capital on Wednesday, having spent the pre-season wearing the captain's armband for the Young Matildas at the under-19s AFC Championship in Thailand.

Roestbakken led Leah Blayney's side to the tournament's semi-finals but fell narrowly short of qualifying for next year's under-20s World Cup.

The 18-year-old fullback provides international experience to her leadership role at Canberra, while Orgill brings the wisdom from her career as an emerging lawyer.

"To be a co-captain in my hometown in the W-League is a great feeling and something I hold close to my heart," Roestbakken said.

"It's such a special feeling to captain with Nikola Orgill, who is one of my good friends. She's a great player and person.

"Being captain of the Young Matildas has given me a bit of experience in being a leader but I still have a long way to go in my football career and with captaincy. I can learn a lot from Nikola."

The duo will have their first chance to lead United as co-captains when Canberra host Perth Glory in their season-opener at McKellar Park on Sunday.

It will be Bobby Despotovski's first chance to test his new-look side without star striker Sam Kerr, who signed a multi-million contract with English powerhouse Chelsea earlier this week.

"They have a lot of other quality players and they'll be a tough team to play regardless," Orgill said.

"It will change the way they play, especially not having that one out-and-out forward which they tend to look to a lot going forward.

"They still have a lot of quality around the park and are a team who you can't write off or take lightly.

"That's the great thing about the W-League, every team is like that so every week you have to bring your A game otherwise you'll lose results."

Canberra United has partnered with the Salvation Army for their season opener and will accept donations for the bushfire disaster appeal to help those affected by the Queensland and NSW fires.

This story Roestbakken returns to reclaim Glory first appeared on The Canberra Times.