Tenacious striker Allira Toby has become Canberra United’s first new signing for the 2021-22 W-League season.
The two-time Brisbane Roar club Golden Boot winner will be looking to add to her 11 goals in 57 appearances after a lean year at Sydney FC, coming on as a sub in every game and failing to score at all.
Toby has also previously made 12 appearances for Adelaide United.
Brisbane has been the only W-League club where the striker has been able to score, the “Queensland girl” not quite being able to find her feet away from home. Speaking to media on Tuesday, Toby is aiming to get back to her scoring best in green.
“For me… [I want] to have a good pre-season,” Toby said.
“I know my last 12 months was really disrupted and I really didn’t have a consistent footballing year, which wasn’t good for me.
“Coming into this season and pre-season, I want to come in fit and confident… and get back to where I was.”
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With the COVID pandemic still holding a firm grip on Australian sport, the allure of returning home has been too hard to resist for some players of the W-League.
Toby confirmed that she had been in discussions with former club Brisbane Roar as well, but ultimately chose to take up a new venture at Canberra.
You couldn’t blame her either. Toby nearly didn’t make it back to Australia in the first place for the 2020-21 season, stuck in Portugal after being released early by F.C. Famalicão.
“I spoke with Brisbane… being a Queensland girl you always want to speak to your home club,” Toby said.
“At the end of the day, Canberra was the right fit. I’ll be surrounded by talented footballers and young footballers. On both a team level and a personal level we can all grow together, and hopefully have a really good season together.”
Representing Kanolu and Gangulu land
One of just three First Nations women currently playing in the W-League, Toby represents her nations and community with great pride.
She’s worked as a counsellor for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students, and is passionate about growing the pathways for Indigenous girls to reach the elite level in any sport.
Toby was watching on as Kyah Simon and Lydia Williams represented Australia at the Tokyo Olympics across July and August. She can’t praise them highly enough.
“It’s always special… Lydia and Kyah are amazing,” Toby said.
“We’re so lucky to have role models like them in the sport. It’s always so nice, and I love watching them play and do well. It was really fantastic.”
In their group stage game against New Zealand, the Matildas flew the Aboriginal flag to take a stand against racism towards First Nations people.
Captain Sam Kerr described it as an act of “unity,” while scorer Tameka Yallop said the team wanted to “stand together for the Australian culture and the Indigenous side of us.”
It was a statement that meant so much to so many on the world stage.
“I think it shows everyone that as a country, we want to be united,” Toby said.
“They see the potential with Indigenous communities and players. For us to see that and for my community to see that, it’s important.
“They can relate and be like, ‘okay, they appreciate us and they want us in the sport.’ It means a lot, and it gives more of an opportunity for the pathways in the future for younger kids.”
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