• Gema Simon in action for the Matildas (Getty Images)
The Matildas are revelling in their soaring popularity ahead of a highly anticipated two-match series against Brazil and defender Gema Simon says it’s about time the team gets the attention they deserve.
By
Nick Houghton

15 Sep 2017 - 1:22 PM  UPDATED 15 Sep 2017 - 1:22 PM

An incredible Tournament of Nations win in July, which included Australia’s first ever win against reigning Women's World Cup winners and four-time Olympic champions the United States, has seen support for the Matildas skyrocket.

Ahead of the Matildas sold out clash against Brazil at Penrith’s Pepper Stadium on Saturday, Simon said her team is anything but an overnight success story. 

“I think the amazing support and popularity the Matildas are receiving now has been a long time coming,” the 27-year-old said.

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“It is about time the team receives the recognition it deserves cause I feel we have been on the cusp for quite some time.

“This team has been building and developing over the years and to finally get the big result and perform so well has been incredible.” 

Currently plying her trade for Avaldsnes in the Norwegian Women's First Division alongside Matildas’ teammates Chloe Logarzo and Emily Gielnik, Simon is determined to put behind her the injury woes which have limited her to only nine Matildas caps since making her debut in 2014. 

While the former Newcastle Jets' W-League captain has yet to cement her spot as a certain starter in Alen Stajcic’s side, she says the support of cousin Kyah Simon has made her feel more at home in the national team.

“It is really awesome to be able to share the experience with someone from your family,” she said. 

“Kyah and I are second cousins on my dad's side and actually didn't meet until we both played in a school girls football tournament when we were about 15.

“Just having Kyah around the squad and knowing you have someone close you can call on made settling into the team much easier.

“Obviously she is recovering from injury at the moment and not playing but she is great to have around in the squad.”

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Against Brazil this week, the Matildas could potentially field a side consisting of just overseas-based players for the first time.

The prospect of running out in front of a packed home crowd in Sydney and Newcastle during the two-game Brazil series has Simon and her Matildas teammates brimming with excitement.

“It is unbelievable to have a women's game sold out in Australia. The thought of being so well supported on home soil is something very special,” she said.

“For me the Newcastle game is huge. It is a dream of mine to play in front of my family and friends in my home town.

“All of the girls are really looking forward to this series. I think there will be a great atmosphere with our fans making lots of noise. It is incredible and I hope it continues.”