'We weren’t honest.' The Matildas' manager on keeping Sam Kerr's injury a secret for 24 hours.

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As Australia took to the field for their opening game in the Women's World Cup last night, there was one player noticeably missing.

An hour before kick-off, news broke that Matildas captain and all-time leading goalscorer, Sam Kerr, would not be joining her teammates in taking on Ireland, after suffering a calf injury in Wednesday's final training session. 

"Unfortunately I sustained a calf injury yesterday in training. I wanted to share this with everyone so there is no distraction from us doing what we came here to achieve," Kerr wrote in a social media post as thousands poured into Stadium Australia in Sydney.

"I wanted to share this with everyone so there is no distraction from us doing what we came here to achieve. 

"Of course, I would have loved to have been out there tonight but I can't wait to be a part of this amazing journey, which starts now."


Up until Thursday night, Kerr's injury had successfully been kept a secret from the public, press and the opposition. 

The latter of which had only found out just prior, when the team sheet was signed off, according to The Australian. 

Matildas manager Tony Gustavsson also chose not to broadcast Kerr's injury in a pre-match press conference held on Wednesday.

He has since shared the reason behind the secrecy.

Speaking to Channel Seven after the game, Gustavsson said he hoped the media "understand the position not to say". 

"Some people might wonder why we weren’t honest in the press conference," he told the broadcaster. 

"We didn’t have all the information either. We were waiting for the scans at that moment too."

"A lot of it is tactics and you don’t want to give away anything. Sam is a massive part of our game plan and Ireland’s game plan. We wanted to protect Sam and the team emotionally not to have to answer all the questions."

He added that while it was a "tough 24 hours mentally for the team", they dealt with it "magnificently". 

"The way Sam led the team speech in the locker room and today as well, she means a lot for the team, even though she is not on the park."


In the end, the Matildas ended up claiming victory after fill-in captain Steph Catley scored the team's only goal, beating out Ireland 1-0. 

However, Kerr's injury will see the 29-year-old miss out on the Matildas' second group B game against Nigeria on July 27. 

According to Football Australia, Kerr will be assessed before their final group match with Canada.

In the meantime, the question of whether Kerr will play remains a mystery. 

Feature Image: Cameron Spencer/Getty.

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