The Wander Women’s next clash against the Newcastle Jets will be a special one for Cushla Rue, as she will play her first professional game in her hometown of Bathurst.
The 20-year-old wing back, who has become a key cog in the lineup under coach Robbie Hooker, began her career in the Central West, where she says she followed her brother who was already playing the sport.
“I’m from Bathurst, and I played football there when I was younger, I played since I was six years old. My brother played so I just followed in his footsteps.
“I started playing in Sydney when I was 15, and since then, I just love the game, the people I meet through it, and I just enjoy it a lot and the opportunities it brings.”
The Central West of New South Wales has a habit of producing Matildas, with current stars and former Wanderers players Ellie Carpenter and Clare Hunt both hailing from the area and making the gruelling trips to the big city to advance their career.
This is something Rue knows well, and she is grateful of the support she received from her family as they helped her fulfil her dreams.
“I know, growing up playing in Sydney – I still lived in Bathurst – so there was a lot of commuting and driving, and I wouldn’t have been able to do that without my parents and my family. So I’m very grateful.”
Family is an important part of Rue’s life, and something she does miss at times living away from home, but they still do her best to support her no matter where she is playing.
“Family for me is massive, especially living away from home now. I’ve realised how much I do miss my family, I’m a bit of a homebody, so I miss them a lot.
“But I do get to see them, mum and dad will make the effort to come to all my games and my grandma, my pop and my auntie and everything like that, they will really support you. Everytime I step out on that pitch, I want to do them proud.”
Rue is relishing the prospect of playing in her backyard for the first time in years, and knows she will be the best supported player at Carrington Park on Friday night.
“It’ll be the first time I’ve played there for a long time, so I’m really excited.
“All my family and friends will be there – which would be really nice – and I think even just other people in the community are excited for such a big event to be played at home. So I think lots of people [will] be there to support us.”
It will be support the Wanderers will look to harness to full effect as they look to snap a two game losing run and climb back into the finals places ahead of a difficult game against the Melbourne Victory and a Sydney Derby at the start of next month.
In their first match against the Jets this season, the Wanderers were forced to share the points after Newcastle scored a stoppage time equaliser to earn a 1-1 draw at McDonald Jones Stadium.