As a veteran of the Wanderers Westfield W-League side, Erica Halloway has seen the dark days at the club – the struggles, the losses, the wooden spoons.
Wanderers members and Kids under 16 go free to this Sunday’s clash against Brisbane Roar at Marconi Stadium. General Public can get tickets here.
But, she has continued to back up, season after season, never losing faith, never losing belief and always trusting that things can only get better.
Now in her fifth season at the Red & Black and with 50 games under her belt at the club, the Wanderers captain can finally see some light at the end of the tunnel.
The Women’s side have arrived on the Westfield W-League stage and are now a major force to be reckoned with as they not only chase a historic spot in the Finals for the first time but also the prestigious tag of Premiers.
They have had an unbeaten six-game start to the season as well as recording a stunning 1-0 win over China, the 15th ranked team in the world, in a friendly recently.
“Every year we say ‘we are going to do it this year, this year, this year’ and after all the hype at the start of the season, with the new facilities, the player signings, the new coaching staff, it is good to finally be able to have said we are going to do it this year and actually be doing it,” said Halloway.
“To get a derby win (5-0 over Sydney FC earlier in the season) and as convincingly as we did was definitely a highlight, but going way and playing against a national team (China) with a win was something else.
“We utilized the whole squad (against China) and not just the starting XI and you wouldn’t have been able to tell who was a starter and who wasn’t.
“Everyone was fit, everyone was just as good as the person next to them. To know we have an entire squad that can do a job is great.”
Still, Halloway, who celebrated her 50th game for the Red & Black in the win against Sydney, has many years of experience behind her as a professional footballer and understands the fickleness of the sport.
That is why she is not about to get carried away.
“The job is not done yet,” said Halloway.
“We have had some great wins and are sitting in second on the table with a game in hand but it means nothing if we don’t continue.
“If we don’t continue to win, if we don’t keep going, the competition is too short and the points are too close for us to drop any points.
“Yes, we have done well but we can’t stop there and sit on our haunches.”
The 35-year-old midfielder has been impressed with the balance of the Wanderers squad – a mix of experience and youth. Head coach Dean Heffernan and his assistant coaches Michael Beauchamp and Catherine Cannuli, scouted far and wide and brought in some quality players, especially from overseas.
The likes of US internationals Lynn Williams and Kristen Hamilton, fellow Americans Sam Staab and Abby Smith and Republic of Ireland star Denise Williams have added considerable depth along with Matilda Amy Harrison and rising Australian star Kyra Cooney-Cross.
“I think we have managed to hit every component with this group of people,” said Halloway.
“We have the quality internationals, good youth, experienced players and Matildas as well.
“We have a great balance on the field and keep saying we have the right attitude.
“We don’t have the egos that come with the higher exposure people where the heads start to expand.
“That is fantastic and that is the key that will help us continue in the second half of the season because the attitude of the girls is that the job isn’t done yet.”