After missing out on games for this year’s FIFA Women’s World Cup, Newcastle will host the Matildas for the Cup of Nations instead.
Word the four-team tournament was on its way to Newcastle may have been Football Australia’s worst kept secret after an online leak by ticketing agency Ticketek last week, but it is still welcome news for fans who will have the chance to see the Matildas in action against Jamaica at McDonald Jones Stadium on February 22.
The six-match Cup of Nations competition will kick-off at Central Coast Stadium in Gosford on February 16 with Spain playing Jamaica followed by the Matildas versus the Czech Republic.
Three days later, the tournament will shift to Sydney as Jamaica and the Czech Republic go head-to-head at CommBank Stadium, followed by a clash between the Matildas and Spain on February 19.
The winner will be crowned in Newcastle three days later following the final games between the Czech Republic and Spain, followed by the Matildas and Jamaica. The highest-placed nation at the completion of all three match days will be crowned the Cup of Nations champion.
It will not be the first time the Australian women’s national team have played in Newcastle, the last game in 2021 attracted more than 21,000 fans and Matildas Assistant Coach Melissa Andreatta is sure the region will turn out in huge numbers again.
“Novocastrians love their sport and they love their national team. I have no doubt the people of Newcastle will come out and get behind the Matildas again like we’ve seen before,” she said.
Sarah Walsh, the Head of Women’s Football and WWC 2023 Legacy at Football Australia said it was exciting to be back.
“We’ve had a long standing history and engagement with Newcastle and always get great fans at McDonald Jones Stadium,” she said.
“We are very deliberate in where we bring the Matildas throughout the window as there’s very little opportunity for them to play before the Women’s World Cup… but we have had a lot of success in packing out stadiums particularly in regional towns.”
Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter Taylor Martin MLC said Newcastle is increasingly becoming a destination for big events with the Rocketman himself recently staging two packed out concerts at the stadium.
“We’ve seen this in Newcastle lately with the success of Elton John and we hope to see the same thing happen with the Cup of Nations,” Mr Martin said.
“This is a great opportunity for locals to get behind the Matildas but also for regional tourism and small businesses across the Hunter who are really going to make the most of it.”
Tickets for all matches will go on general sale at 12.00pm on January 17.