Kerr, Foord on fire as CommBank Matildas thrash Filipinas 8-0 in Perth

CommBank Matildas star Sam Kerr praised her team's work ethic after they hammered the Philippines 8-0 in the second Olympic Qualifier at Perth's Optus Stadium.

The hometown hero scored a hat-trick to go with the goal she bagged in the 2-0 win over Iran last Thursday.

Player of the Match Caitlin Foord also got three, while Mary Fowler and Clare Wheeler got the others in front of a record home Matildas crowd of 59,155.

"It's amazing to play here at Optus in front of a packed crowd and a great performance by the girls," Kerr told Channel 10.

"We've been training at this all week ... everyone just came out and gave 100% here today and we worked our butts off today, that's for sure."

Sam Kerr gives out a roar after netting against the Philippines. Photo by Getty Images

The result means Australia are top of Group A with two wins from two as they look to advance to Round 3 of qualifying for Paris 2024. They are three points clear of the Filipinas, with Iran and Chinese Taipei on one point apiece after they played out a goalless draw following the Matildas game.

CommBank Matildas coach Tony Gustavsson said the performance included some of the best combination play that he had seen during his tenure.

“Last time we played them it was 0-0 at half-time and it took a corner to open them up. This time we opened them up in a completely different way,” he said.

“I think it was a little bit of a crossroad moment for this team to be honest, in terms of what we want to be about now. We want to be a top team in the world, to be able to play like favourites and to be able to play parked buses. We proved today that we have taken massive steps.

“At the same time, the job is not done yet. We have one more game to go, we’re going to take pictures from this one, and then deliver in another game on Wednesday.”

One of the tactical big changes from the FIFA Women's World Cup earlier this year was the shift of Fowler to the left-hand side of attack, while Foord played centrally alongside Kerr. This has been on the back of club football where Fowler has played consistent minutes for Manchester City on the left of a front three.

“I’ve always said as a national team coach – the majority of all the development happens in clubs, and then you take into the national team, and my job is to get the right players in the right position with the right mindset,” the Swede said.

“Mary has been phenomenal out wide with City. We tested it last game and we felt that Steph [Catley] and her find similar chemistry as Caitlin and Steph did. So we said, let’s try it. I had high hopes but maybe not this high hopes. I mean, Caitlin was phenomenal.”

Gustavsson emphasised professional recovery was key to ensuring that the team could get the job done against Chinese Taipei on Wednesday, as well as preparing for the types of turnarounds that could become apparent if the team qualifies for Paris 2024.

Australia sit top of Group A after their 8-0 win over the Philippines in front of almost 60,000 at Optus Stadium

“If you want to go all the way to the Olympics, this is how tight the games will be in the Olympics – only 48 hours to recover and then another game comes up,” he said.

“So we need to be extremely professional. Physical and mental recovery is key now, and then I’m probably going to have some really in-depth and tough discussions with my tech staff about how we line up the team on Wednesday because there’s a lot of players that deserve to start that game.”

Gustavsson provided an update on Cortnee Vine, saying that it was too early to make a call on her injury, but that it looked like a soft tissue hamstring complaint that would likely rule her out for Wednesday’s match.

He also took the time to praise Amy Sayer, commenting that the senior CommBank Matildas squad could no longer be used for development and that the U23 program, led by his assistant Mel Andreatta, had done a fantastic job at bridging the gap for players like Sayer.

Foord Kerr
Caitlin Foord and Sam Kerr, who both scored hat-tricks, embrace during the 8-0 demolition of the Philippines. Photo by Getty Images

Foord, meanwhile, said the performance was "huge" or the team. “We knew goals were important today,” she said.

This was a third international hat-trick for Foord, who debuted for the team in 2011. She said the chemistry with her teammates is a big factor in her performance.

“Me and Sam have played together for years and the likes of Em van Egmond coming on as well, we’ve played just as long together so yeah, I guess it’s just natural for us,” she said.

“Before Tony came in, we said to him where we think we struggled as a team, and that was against playing against lower rank teams,. We just felt like we couldn’t step up.

“His message was relaying that and reminding us about that. Today was an opportunity to change the mindset of the team. We went out there and we did want to prove that and show that and we kind of have set a benchmark and a level of what Australia expects us to play at, and we have to live up to that now.”

Attention now turns to the next match against Chinese Taipei at HBF Park on Wednesday evening, 7pm WST. A win will guarantee CommBank Matildas passage into the final stage of Olympic qualification.