In the absence of Sam Kerr, a couple of Illawarra Stingrays have been leading the line for the Matildas at the FIFA Women's World Cup.
They could have been forgiven for not being up to the lofty standards set by Kerr. But this is certainly not the case. Rather, they have been the shining light of the Matildas' campaign so far.
This columnist wrote back in October following consecutive friendly losses against Canada on how crucial Caitlin Foord and Mary Fowler would be for the Matildas at the Cup.
It's easy to forget but around that time there was a vastly different attitude around the Matildas chances at the World Cup on home soil.
At the time, coach Tony Gustavsson was given a grilling following a poor second half showing against the reigning Olympic champions Canada in Sydney with the side losing the match after Fowler had opened the scoring.
He pleaded with the press to trust the process. Now - less than a year later - they have smashed the same opponent on the world stage and have real dreams of winning the Cup for the first time ever for Australia in the female or male game.
When Fowler played her killer pass through the Danish defence to set up Foord for her first goal at this year's World Cup - proof was in the pudding that the pair were key to a potential hoisting of the trophy come August 20.
As the Matildas prepare to take on either France or Morocco in the quarter finals, Matildas coach Gustavsson will have the added headache of adding Kerr to the mix.
It's a headache he would like to have. But the form of Foord and Fowler in the round of 16 makes them undroppable.
Former Stingray and Warilla junior Foord said following the match on Monday that her partnership with Fowler was something special.
"I think Mary's been class this whole tournament," she said.
"When she's on the ball she's going to create, get a shot off or score a goal. It makes my job easier. I know if I find her in the box then nine times out of 10 it's going in the back of the net. She's an unbelievable talent and we're extremely lucky to have her.
"It did feel like a long time [on the way to scoring the opener]. I just put my head down and wanted to get on the end of it. Quality pass from Mary. She couldn't have set me up better so all credit to her for that assist."
Fowler was a constant threat not only against Denmark, but in the other three games the Matildas have played at the tournament.
She said that the first goal of the game was a great bit of link-up work between the strike pair.
"To be honest I think it was a little bit of instinct," Fowler said.
"Sometimes those moments work, sometimes they don't. You've just got to try them. Caitlin made a good run and I was able to get the pass off and it was a great finish from her. We were able to get that goal and it changed things for us."
Despite the great run of form, Fowler said the team would welcome the potential of seeing much more of their captain Kerr as they go deeper into the tournament.
"Sam's an amazing player. She's loved by everyone in the team and by this country. So it's massive for us."
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