Vidmar’s trial by fire leaves her full of ‘belief’

Mikayla Vidmar made her first start for Canberra United in a 6-0 loss to Sydney FC. (Photo: Canberra United/Twitter)

On A-League Women debut for Canberra United, young defender Mikayla Vidmar battled for 74 minutes in the worst of circumstances.

Coming up one of the best attacking ends in the league in Sydney FC, Vidmar watched four goals hit the back of the net before she took to the bench.

Though the table leaders were down two of their best in Cortnee Vine and Remy Siemsen, it was clear that they bat deep.

The Sky Blues found their scores instead through the likes of Cote Rojas, Princess Ibini, and even defender Ally Green in the 6-0 victory. Green is starting to make a habit of scoring against the girls in green.

But it was a valuable lesson for 20-year-old Vidmar, soaking in everything she can at the level.

“It was a bit daunting at the beginning, but I did believe in myself,” Vidmar told media on Tuesday.

“[I also] had the belief from the girls. I back our squad every day of the week as well. It was really just going out there and playing our game as well, and knowing that we can compete against them.

“I’ve actually played against Cote [Rojas] in the NPL SA before, so it was familiar to me playing against her.”

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It’s been a hard year to be a first year player in any sport across Australia, with the A-League Women one of many facing constant game postponements.

Every Canberra player and staff member that travelled to Sydney is currently in isolation, while Emma Ilijoski and Grace Maher missed due to health and safety protocols.

Canberra has certainly copped the brunt of it, having played just five games across a month and a half so far.

But it hasn’t discouraged Vidmar one bit, taking on the challenge accordingly. With one appearance under her belt, she wants to make it many more to come.

“It’s been a really good step, I’ve learned so much,” she said.

“Not only from the coaches, but also the players. There’s so much experience in this squad and so many talented players that I’ve really been learning every session and applying it to my game.”

In a Canberra defensive group missing Karly Roestbakken and Ilijoski, it was always going to be a challenge for coach VIcki Linton to adapt against the potency of Sydney.

Vidmar was one of the new additions to the group as Linton opted for a back four, a change from the recent switch to a back three. She was named as a centre back alongside Ally Haran, while Hayley Taylor-Young took up a post as a fullback.

A lot has been asked of Taylor-Young this season, and she’s taken it on accordingly.

She’s played in nearly every wide role possible, first as a winger, then a wing-back, and now a fullback. This week, she was rewarded accordingly, named the Player of the Match.

Also speaking to media today, veteran midfielder Ash Sykes spoke on her young teammate’s year.

“I was super proud of Hayley, she got my Player’s Player votes as well,” Sykes said.

“You’re being thrown in out of position, somewhere she’s trained a little bit with us, so she’s not out of depth. But still, in a national competition, playing out of position… she did herself proud.

“She was a real positive for us over that game. I think she take a lot of positives out of it herself, and it’s great to see a young player succeed.”

Canberra United’s game against Melbourne Victory this weekend has been postponed, meaning the club next plays Newcastle on Sunday, January 30 as per current fixturing.

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About Alex Catalano 341 Articles
Alex is a studying journalist from Melbourne with an obsession for all things Aussie rules, and a commitment to providing equal coverage and recognition to women's sport. A sport all-rounder, Alex reports on Aussie rules, football, basketball, netball, cricket and esports.

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