Sam Kerr should play for the Socceroos
SAM Kerr is building a compelling case to say she is the biggest name in Australian soccer right now - of either gender.
Tim Cahill, Aaron Mooy and Mile Jedinak may have claims, but on another night when all eyes were trained on her, the Matildas superstar delivered with two cracking goals in Australia's 3-0 friendly victory against China at AAMI Park.
Like Cahill so often does, scoring when the script-writers demand a grand performance from the protagonist, Kerr didn't let down any of the 10,904 expectant fans, only leaving her trademark backflip out of the trick bag.
Her first, in the 23rd minute, was a thing of art, rising above two Chinese defenders from a Emily Van Egmond corner.
Her second, in the 64th, was just brute force, driving in a scorching right-footed drive from well outside the penalty box, a shot which nestled neatly into the top right corner.
You'll struggle to find a more potent attacking front three in women's game anywhere in the world.
Kerr was last night partnered with Caitlin Foord, the 2016 Asian women's player of the year, and Lisa De Vanna, Australia's all-time leading scorer.
The trio is so in sync, interchanging seamlessly throughout the first half.
Foord and Kerr's partnership in particular appears so effortless, so it is no surprise that Foord says the pair are great mates.
In a year that saw her in the mix for the world player of the year award, the demand for Kerr's services off the park are extreme.
And so Foord said it is inspiring that she can still deliver where it matters most.
"The fact that she's getting so much attention and then still plays so well is the biggest thing," Foord said.
"And for us as her teammates it drives us to want to be better as well.
"It's hard when you're in that position, when everyone wants a piece of you, to concentrate and go out and play well with all that pressure, but she is and so I think it's amazing what she's doing."
Tameka Butt, in the 53rd minute, was the other goalscorer in what was a comprehensive display by the hosts.
The two sides meet again in Geelong on Sunday, but if another similar result ensues then it will be a significant psychological blow for the world No.6 ranked Matildas ahead of April's Asian Cup in Jordan, with world No.13 China one of the Matildas' chief rivals.
And while Kerr will earn the lion's share of plaudits, credit must also go to holding midfielder Van Egmond, who was superb last night.
The languid 24-year-old directs traffic with aplomb and has a sublime range of passing.
AUSTRALIA 3 (Samantha Kerr 23m, 64m, Tameka Butt 53m) CHINA 0 at AAMI Park.