Matildas great Cheryl Salisbury collects PFA’s Alex Tobin Medal in Newcastle

Cheryl happy to see Matildas in spotlight HONOURED: Cheryl Salisbury with her PFA Alex Tobin Medal at Merewether on Sunday night. Her dress is by Q’nique from Atelier Rose at The Junction and her earrings from Williams the Jewellers, The Junction. Picture: Local FC
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HONOURED: Cheryl Salisbury with her PFA Alex Tobin Medal at Merewether on Sunday night. Dress by Q’nique from Atelier Rose at The Junction. Earrings from Williams the Jewellers, The Junction. Picture: Local FC

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“We’ve got such a good breeding ground.Matildas who went through my era,there was myself, Bridgette Starr, Michelle Prouten, Amber Neilson, Lauren Colthorpe, Katie Gill.

“Newcastle has a big history of women’s football, so to bring it to Newcastle on the back of a sellout in Penrith, I think it’s going to be huge.”

Salisbury played in an era when female stars would get changed on the bus because there were no dressing rooms for women, and her national teammates would tape over worn boots because they had no sponsors.But she is conscious that, despite recent improvements in pay and conditions in and overseas, elite female players are still light years behind their male counterparts.

“Do I wish I was 16, 17? Absolutely. There’s a lot of challenges along the way to try and play andsupport yourself.Yes, you can work and play, but you need to find an employer willing to give youfive or six months off at the drop of a hat.”

The world No.6 Matildas beat the USA for the first time, Japan and Brazil at the Tournament of Nations.

“Everyone loves a winning team, but I think the girls have started to put those together back-to-back,” Salisbury said.

The modern Matildas had done a “great job” of carrying on the work of promoting the women’s game.

“They’ve proved at the weekend they can sell out a stadium. It just never got really tried before.

“I don’t think people put in enough effort and belief.”