The Inspiring New Documentary Every Matildas Fan Needs To Watch

“I didn’t aspire to be a Matilda as I didn’t know that we had a women’s national football team.”

Nearly 50 years ago, a group of women walked onto a field and changed the face of women’s football forever. Today, their successors are chanted for and cheered on by young girls across the country who hang their posters on their walls and consider the possibility that they too could step into the boots of their heroes. They are the Matildas.

Now, a compelling new documentary film, Trailblazers (supported by MECCA’s social movement MECCA’s M-Power), aims to spotlight those women who fought tirelessly for gender equality and paved the way for the next generations of female footballers.

Sam Kerr
Sam Kerr. Image: Maggie Eudes.

Following their tumultuous journey to recognition, Australian women’s football has gone from paying to play in front of a smattering of diehard fans to selling out stadiums at the 2023 FIFA World Cup, which was watched by more than 18 million Australians.

The faces you see on the field play a crucial role in presenting the sport as both a game worth watching and a potential pathway for girls. For Kate Gill, who made her Matildas debut in 2004, any such face was absent from her childhood television screen.

The Matildas at the 2023 World Cup. Image: Getty.

“I wish I could say I had visible female role models in the generation of Matildas players that came before me,” says Gill. “However, growing up, I didn’t aspire to be a Matilda as I didn’t know that we had a women’s national football team. Instead, the people who paved the way for my success were my parents. They were the ones who supported me, drove me to every training session, gave up their weekends to be at my football matches, and provided me with the means to be a part of the representative teams I made and never once questioned my dream of being a footballer.”

The documentary’s unofficial tagline, “you can be what you can see”, is a message that strikes a chord with Gill, who says that visibility is a key driver of her passion and love of the game. “It rings true no matter what you aspire to be. Visibility fosters the belief in women and girls that they have the right to occupy and exist in all spaces, no matter who they are or how they identify,” says the former national striker.

Mary Fowler
Mary Fowler. Image: Maggie Eudes.

To understand the full weight of visibility, you need only look as far as the sold-out stadiums, packed pubs and crowded living rooms as the Matildas dominated not only the pitch but a national conversation on the power of women’s sport to ignite social change.

“This beloved team represented the best of what Australia can be, and opened the door to conversations around equality, participation and representation,” says Gill. “The Matildas at this tournament brought to life the passion and purpose that drives me and our work through the players’ association, by illustrating the power of sport as
a catalyst for social change.”

While the Matildas have had landmark wins for pay parity and representation, Moya Dodd, a lawyer, sports administrator and former Matildas vice-captain, says the conversation is far from over. “At the heart of inequality is privilege and unaccountability,” she says. “We could go on to talk about the value of diverse views, of listening to what women and girls want – rather than deciding for them or asking your wife – of looking at all decisions through a gender lens, and of championing women and letting them lead. And then we could talk about how to make everyone accountable for dismantling inequality and building inclusion.”

It’s no secret that the Matildas of today stand proudly on the shoulders of the fearless players who fought tirelessly for change over five decades. But what has long been left out of history are the women taking up space in boardrooms to create change on a systemic level.

Katrina Gorry
Katrina Gorry (with Harper). Image: Maggie Eudes.

For Dodd, who was one of the first women in FIFA’s 120-year history to join its governing body, it was no easy feat to claim her seat at the table in 2013.

“As the game grew, it became clear that women had very little input into decisions about women’s football,” says Dodd. “It’s been another whole struggle to get into boardrooms and management at all levels, so that women can have a proper say in the running of their own game. I think that really helped capture opportunities like hosting the 2023 World Cup and making the Matildas an iconic team. That’s given a commercial momentum to the sport – the dollars are flowing – so it’s gained attention from the big end of town.”

As ticket sales, merchandise and viewership continue to soar, the future of football feels secure in the hands of a nation that understands the value of investing in the game. And while change doesn’t happen overnight, generations of Matildas and football fans alike can rest easier knowing that the goalposts of the future are less likely to move.

Trailblazers will premiere as a Stan Original Documentary later this year. Visit

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