The emotional moments in the Matildas doco Trailblazers that have everyone in tears.

I think I'll remember the moment forever.

It was August 12, 2023, and the Matildas were on a hot streak at the FIFA Women's World Cup. The girls in green and gold were in a ferocious match-up against France vying for a spot in the semi-finals.

After 120 minutes of hustle and grunt, the teams could not be separated.

What unfolded was one of the most intense, nail-biting showdowns in sporting history, with a penalty shoot-out for the ages.

And then, there she stood. Cortnee Vine eyed the ball. I held my breath. My daughter was asleep in the other room. The weight of everything this would mean to the young girl inside me and the future for my daughter formed a hard chunk in my throat.

Cortnee drew back and then... BOOM. The ball hit the back of the net and victory was ours.

Tears streamed down my face. And to this day I get emotional thinking about how groundbreaking that moment was. Sure, I could list you off a million and one other moments from the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup that cemented the Matildas in our hearts, but there's something about that penalty shoot-out that is the clincher.

I've recently been brought back to that tidal wave of emotion I felt back in 2023 after I watched the new Stan Original Documentary Trailblazers

This mini documentary sets out to detail the history of the women's national football team and shed light on just how far the Tillies have come. And I must say, watching Trailblazers was a real eye-opener for me, because I'd be lying if I said I had followed them before the 2023 FIFA Women's World Cup.


I jumped on the bandwagon when they were at the height of their glory, but after watching this doco I now understand just how deep this legacy runs. To get to the dizzying heights of making it to the semi-finals of the biggest competition in the world, these players had to claw and fight to be recognised.

We're taken back to 1971, when a worldwide ban on women playing football was lifted. Yep, you read that right — for 50 years females weren't allowed to play football. Players like Julie Dolan AM were part of the first iteration of the Matildas and they had to risk their jobs in order to represent their country. 

They often had to do it out of their own pocket too.

Julie Dolan. Image source: Stan.


Over the years that followed, they came up against all kinds of misogyny and a stark lack of pay parity compared to their male counterparts — but they never gave up. They never gave up fighting for the game they loved and for the right to be taken seriously. That tenacity came to a boil in 2015 when the Matildas staged a strike during which they demanded pay security, insurance and the opportunity to be paid the same as the men's side, the Socceroos.

Their campaign was once again met with the same sexist barbs they'd been copping throughout their careers, but they held strong and a deal was met. It was a deal that changed the face of women's sports in Australia and spoke to the fighting nature of these incredible pioneers.

Watching all of this unfold in retrospect hit me like a ton of bricks. And when it got to the present day in the doco, and it was announced that the Matildas had qualified for the 2024 Paris Olympics, the flood of tears came.

Sam Kerr, Trailblazers. Image: Stan


This is what all of those players (many of them now retired) were fighting for all along. Though they won't get to step on the pitch come July, they'll know deep down that they are part of the rich tapestry that propelled this team towards the glory days they're experiencing now.

And isn't that just the way of womanhood? We push the plight of equality just to raise everyone else up even if we don't get the flowers at the end of the day. That's the legacy of the Matildas and the emotion of that realisation rang so true in this documentary.

When I started talking to others who'd seen Trailblazers, it quickly became clear I wasn't the only one overcome with emotion while watching the doco.

For some, it was the conversation around fighting for pay parity that got them feeling emotional.


"The scenes and story of the strike that the Matildas went on over equal pay in 2015 was really impactful for me," said Morgan. "Seeing so many of the familiar faces from the current team who I didn't realise were a part of the strike and coming to understand how brave they were was an emotional realisation. 

"For so many of them, they were really young and hadn't had much play time with the national team, [so] choosing to strike was possibly risking their opportunities for future play — but they chose to make the stand regardless."

A colleague told me seeing what the original Matildas had to go through is what brought her to tears.

"I got emotional because I was watching it with my 13-year-old daughter, who was shocked at what the Matildas had to do back in the '70s and '80s when they were interviewing some of the older players," said Frankie.

Nicole was overcome with emotion when she saw on screen the diversity of the team is, and how they represent so many minorities. "They're so iconic," she said. "Mums, women, Indigenous, queer."

Other viewers didn't have one particular moment that made them emotional but found themselves fighting tears the whole way through.


"Just finished watching it, bought tears to my eyes again. All amazing women and amazing role models," wrote an Instagram user.

It's hard to pinpoint just one moment in Trailblazers that stands out as being the most emotional. Because the truth is, the Matildas journey is going to mean something different for everyone. And therein lies the universal appeal of this team that goes way beyond just sports: They hold a truly special place in the history books, now and for the next generation.

If you're looking to feel inspired or even just to learn a bit more about the legacy of the Matildas, Trailblazers is a must watch. Just have some tissues on hand — you're gonna need them.

You can now stream Stan Original Documentary Trailblazers, only on Stan.

Feature Image: Getty.

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