W-League aspirations brings Kiwi to Rays

HIGH BAR: Illawarra Stingrays player Emma Rolston is hoping to catch the eye of W-League clubs. Picture: Robert Peet

HIGH BAR: Illawarra Stingrays player Emma Rolston is hoping to catch the eye of W-League clubs. Picture: Robert Peet

She’s found the net five times already in her debut season, but new Stingrays addition Emma Rolston came to the NSW NPL with another goal in mind as well.  

The 20-year-old has been a standout in six appearances for Illawarra since moving from New Zealand to play for the club at the beginning of the season.

Originally from Wellington, Rolston said she moved to Australia wanting ‘a change’ from playing in her home country and now holds high hopes for her football future in this country.

“I wanted a shot at playing in the W-League,” Rolston explains.

“I thought the best way to do that would be to come over here and play in the league to try and get some trials.

“That’s what motivated the decision to come over here and play.”

Before Rolston arrived at the Stingrays, she had already represented New Zealand at youth level.

The talented attacker played for the New Zealand Under 20’s team, known as the Junior Football Ferns, at the Under 20 World Cup last year in Papua New Guinea.

The Junior Football Ferns were knocked out in the Group stage at the tournament, where Rolston picked up an injury that she has since recovered from.

Six months later in the first week April, Rolston moved to Australia to live in Lake Heights while playing with the Stingrays for season 2017.

“I am really enjoying it. It is a good club to come into,” Rolston said of the move.

“Everyone is super nice and everyone is really committed to it. Brett [Wallin] is a great coach as well.

“There is a lot of work still to do to get where I want to be but it has been a good start. 

“With the team I am with, it just helps me so much more playing with such good players.

“It enhances my performances getting to play with that sort of player.”

Rolston will more than likely line-up alongside veteran striker Michelle Carney in the attacking third this weekend when the Rays meet the Emerging Jets at JJ Kelly Park.

The pair have combined for half of Illawarra’s goals through the opening six rounds and will be looking to keep the last-placed Jets win-less at the bottom of the competition on Sunday.

It will be Rolston’s first meeting with the league’s only Hunter-based club, but it’s a challenge she was welcoming.

“I don’t really know what to expect from the teams we versus which is kind of refreshing,” she said. 

“You have to go in there with a mindset that you have to get the job done.

“It is good to have so many W-League players around the league too.

“It really enhances the league and makes it a challenge for everyone.”

Illawarra are two points outside of the top-four heading into the match with the Jets after falling 2-1 to ladder-leaders Macarthur Rams last weekend.

  • ROUND 7

Illawarra Stingrays vs Emerging Jets

Sunday (3pm)

JJ Kelly Park

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