BETH Kennedy returns to the Victorian colours on Friday night for the inaugural women’s state of origin soccer clash.
It has been more than 10 years since the former outstanding junior was part of the Victorian Institute of Sport and junior state teams.
But after two knee reconstructions and two children she returned to the game at the start of last year and jumped at the chance to be part of the showcase to raise money for the Good Friday Royal Children’s Hospital appeal.
Kennedy, sister of Socceroo Josh, will captain the team and describes herself as fiercely Victorian.
“It’s a great honour to play in this game and especially given the charity involved,” she said.
“I had my daughter at the Royal Children’s in the past month for some dental work and as a parent you just realise how lucky we are to have largely healthy kids and such a great hospital to look after them when they need care.
“I’d put my hand up to play every time.”
Kennedy was injured in the last game of the state league season at 17.
“It was just a tackle but it meant surgery on the knee and a long time out of the game,” she said.
“I’d been through the academy stuff here on the Border and then was part of the Vic teams as a 16 and 17-year-old but I came back here two years ago and went back to playing with Boomers.
“I’m just really enjoying playing at the moment.
“I scored a couple on Sunday but these days I like setting them up as much as scoring goals.”
Victorian squad coach Tony Cigana admits his squad faces a major challenge in the “star-studded” NSW line-up.
“Having Beth as captain is a real positive and anything that promotes the women’s game is healthy for soccer,” he said.
“NSW has an outstanding squad but we have a quality line-up too and will put on a good show.”
The women’s state of origin game starts at 5pm at the La Trobe University Ground and will be the curtain raiser to the men’s match at 7pm.