Checker: A mixture of youth and experience is key


City’s W-League team will again be led by defender Emma Checker, the Matildas defender signing on to remain a Melbourne City player until the end of season 2022/23. 

With over a century of W-League appearances to her name, the 25-year-old now calls Melbourne home and will return after her stint with Icelandic club Selfoss. 

“My favourite time of year has always been the W-League,” Checker said. 

“It’s really special and important to me, particularly now with my family in Melbourne.” 

Checker has spent the last two seasons at City for a total of 23 appearances, and said it was an easy decision to commit to the Club for the next two years after previously signing one-year deals. 

“I’ve loved my time at City so far and feel like there’s a lot more I can bring and contribute in the seasons to come,” she said. 

“We’ve experienced some highs and some lows, but that’s football and it’s all in the way we bounce back this season. 

“It’s been an amazing journey so far and I’m excited by the direction the Club is heading in.” 

It was a tough start to Checker’s first season as captain, as she returned to Melbourne with a stress fracture in her fibula after a stint in France. 

The injury would keep her out for a little longer than expected and saw her miss the first three matches of the season, a far from ideal result for a team that was now rolling out an almost completely different squad from the season before. 

“For any team in the world, and it doesn’t matter who you are, you lose that many players and it’s always going to be a big change,” Checker said. 

“Not everything is going to go to plan and a lot has to come together for things to stay at such a high level.” 

After picking up just a single point in those first three games, City would go on to finish with four wins, but ultimately, struggled to recover from its slow start.  

“The results were a bit disappointing, but I don’t think that’s a poor reflection on any one person,” Checker said. 

“There definitely were a lot of positives that still came from it and a lot of young girls gained some valuable experience. 

“Moving into the new season, we’ve built a better base for what’s to come and I think that we are heading in the right direction and the next phase for the team and Club. It’s definitely an exciting one and I think we’ll be back up there again this season.” 

Once again taking the armband for season 2021/22, Checker is ready for a new challenge and said the squad is coming together nicely. She even provided a few hints for City fans about what to expect with the new signings, citing a mix of ‘youth and experience’ as one of the most important balances to have within a team. 

“You can’t lead the young girls without the experience, but you also can’t just have a full team of experience without the youth, so it works both ways,” Checker said. 

“The experienced players still learn from the youth, and we all bring different qualities, strengths, and weaknesses to the table.

“I think the new girls will fit in well and we’ve done a smart job of picking the right people for this Club and team.” 

There’s no doubt Checker and her teammates will be looking to climb up the ladder this season, but the skipper is under no illusion of the challenge that lies ahead. 

Despite that, she believes the team is well placed to put in the work required to get back to the end of the ladder that the Club has become so familiar with since entering the W-League. 

“Being at a Club like this, there are expectations. Whether people like it or not, that’s part of being at a successful club and being ambitious,” Checker said. 

“It’s never going to be easy; it’s going to be hard work and every day you’re going to be challenged. The bar has to be set high because that’s how we succeed. 

“It does take some people out of their comfort zone, but I believe that’s a strength of a Club like this, staying comfortable isn’t what’s going to change things. 

“For me, my expectation is that we are okay with feeling uncomfortable and we are okay with challenging for more.” 

The 2021/22 W-League season will kick off on November 13 but before then, a number of new signings and re-signings will be announced in the coming weeks! Head to citymembership.com.au to become a Member and stay tuned to our website and socials channels for all the latest news.