Brush hits 50 not out

Ellie Brush will play her 50th Westfield W-League match for Canberra United against Perth Glory.

When Ellie Brush strides out onto the field for the midweek Westfield W-League match against Perth Glory she will make club history by appearing in the green for the 50th time in a completion match. One of a select band to have played in every season of the Westfield W-League, Brush will join Brisbane Roar stalwarts Lana Harch and Claire Polkinghorne on a half century of caps.

Her achievement is even more remarkable when you consider that the Canberra United skipper has only ever missed three matches for the club since its inception, once through injury and twice through suspension. In that time Brush has also had the honour of wearing the United captain-s armband through each of the five years, one season jointly with Lydia Williams, to become a true Canberra United legend. Here Ellie reflects on her achievement.

What does it mean to you to play 50 times for CUFC? It is one of my proudest achievements to have played 50 times for Canberra United, especially since this is my home town. We are lucky to have a great supporter base here and I guess it makes it mean a bit more having the 50th cap at home

What changes have you seen in the club since appearance one to date? We have been very lucky to be successful right from the first season however there have certainly been a few changes. The style of play has improved every year and I think now, and last year, we are playing some of the most attractive football in the country. Having Jitka come in and bring her knowledge and creativity to the foundations that Robbie [Hooker] and Ray [Junna] helped lay down has been excellent. There has also been a big step up in the professionalism at the club, and that comes down to our fantastic back room staff and sponsors allowing us to focus solely on the football and getting us the facilities to go to the next level.

What are your best memories of playing with CUFC? Without a doubt winning the league undefeated last year is at the top of the pile. It was a special achievement and to set that sort of record is a highlight for anyone. Lifting the trophy at home at McKellar was really the culmination of years and years of hard work for everyone involved. Also up there in terms of life long memories and experience, is our recent trip to Japan for the inaugural IWCC. It was fantastic to be able to get the opportunity to play against the world's best in such a prestigious tournament and know that we are able to compete with them.

Who have been the toughest opponents and why? This is a tough question, and you might have to ask me again after 100 caps with the standard lifting every season. But I would say that Brisbane probably shade out the rest. Right back to the disappointment of losing the Grand Final in the first season to them we have had a longstanding rivalry. They always have fantastic players and are a very well organised team. Outside of the 50 caps, INAC Kobe is by far and above the most difficult opponent Canberra has come up against.

Which CUFC players have made the biggest impression on you and why? There have been a few who have really stuck in my mind. Last season, playing with Tarryn Hemmings was a really fantastic opportunity and she had a big impact in lifting the standard of the club. Lydia Williams has also been one I count myself lucky to have played with for so long, she really has set the bar for Australian goalkeepers and her commitment is exemplary. Having Ari [Hingst] here this year has also made a big impression on me and the team. She is one of the most decorated international players and has done so much for the women's game. I would also say that all of the young girls who have joined us and worked so hard over the years have also left a considerable impression. As a few examples, the hunger and work rate that the Sykes twins and Jen Bisset have shown in establishing themselves in the first team makes you remember why you play the game.