Local star makes debut for Matildas

Published 10:00am 13 April 2021

Local star makes debut for Matildas
Words by Nick Crockford

Indiah-Paige Riley, whose football career began at The Lakes FC and Moreton Bay United, has made her senior international debut for Australia.

The 19-year-old came on as a substitute for the Matildas in their 5-2 defeat by Germany in a friendly match at Wiesbaden on Monday morning.

The former Brisbane Roar player will now be hoping for a second cap when the Matildas face the Netherlands in Nijmegen tomorrow.

Remarkable rise

It is a remarkable rise for Riley who in just seven years has gone from football rookie in the Moreton Bay Region to the senior international stage.

Riley, a former Murrumba Downs State College student, told the Moreton Daily last year: “Looking back at my former clubs, they’re essentially the backbone of where I am today.

“The Lakes FC was where my love for the game started. My two seasons at Moreton Bay United were so successful, which is a credit to the coaches and teammates I had there.

Local star makes debut for Matildas
Indiah-Paige Riley, front row second from right, with her Moreton Bay United team which won the NPL Under 15 Premiership

Learning curve

“Finally, Brisbane Roar gave me an opportunity of a lifetime. I’m privileged to have started my professional career at such a successful club. Each team I’ve played in have taught me something I will bring with me for the rest of my career.”

Born in New Zealand, Indiah played rugby before trying football at The Lakes in 2013, scoring 19 goals in 12 games as her team won the Under 12 Division 3 Premiership.

When Riley signed her professional contract with Fortuna Hjorring, Damian Jenkins, her coach at The Lakes for two years, told Moreton Daily: “She has done fantastically well. I’m delighted for her.

Local star makes debut for Matildas
Indiah-Paige Riley, fourth from left, at The Lakes FC.

She's a natural

“She was great with us. One of the best players in the side. She is a natural, she has natural talent and a good football brain, but you could see she is also very determined.”

Riley moved to the state-level NPL with Moreton Bay United, scoring 31 times as the Jets won the NPL Qld Under 15 Girls’ title in 2016, losing just once in 22 games.

Riley's international debut has even made a wish come true for her coach that year Phil Hughes, who said last year: “I hope to see her play for the Matildas!

“I am proud to have helped Indiah on her journey and I wish her continued success. For her age, I thought Indiah had the fastest feet for a boy or girl.

Local star makes debut for Matildas
Indiah-Paige Riley in action for Brisbane Roar

Explosive runs

“She had great speed of thought, explosive runs over the first 5-10 metres. She had a great attitude, willingness to learn and determination to get better through hard work.

Brisbane Roar offered a path to the national level. Indiah made her W-League debut on November 4, 2018 and she scored her first W-League goal on her 17th birthday at Dolphin Stadium, Redcliffe, the following month.

Indiah made 10 W-League appearances in both 2018-19 and 2019-20 scoring three goals and was named the 2019 W-League Young Player of the Year.

“Indi’s attitude, character, mannerisms within the group and her ability to work hard give her a good foundation to continue to develop as a young person and player,” said Jake Goodship, Head Coach of Brisbane Roar’s W-League team.

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