Matildas' Courtnee Vine admits ALW future remains uncertain

With a second-consecutive A-League Women title secured and overseas clubs looming, Matildas and Sydney FC attacker Cortnee Vine admits she is uncertain of her future. Melbourne City, meanwhile, is resigned to teenage sensation Daniela Galic moving overseas eventually but is hopeful it will come after at least one more season in Australia.

Vine, 26, lifted her second consecutive A-League Women with Sydney FC on Saturday evening, with the Harboursiders triumphing 1-0 thanks to a 69th-minute Shae Connors strike.

- Subscribe to ESPN's Women's Football Podcast: The Far Post

Providing a defining image of the Matildas' home Women's World Cup campaign, she had been positioned as the face of the league heading into 2023-24 after she resisted the urge to join the majority of Tony Gustavsson's squad that ply their trade in Europe.

But with another season in the books and a potential Olympics on the horizon - Vine is planning to feature in the All-Stars game and, she hopes, the Matildas' two pre-Olympics friendlies against China before then - the Sky Blue flyer isn't sure if she'll return for what would be a tenth season in the Australian top flight.

"No idea yet," she said. "I feel like it's one of those ones that hasn't been at the forefront of my mind, just with the grand final, with everything coming up, it hasn't been at the forefront.

"Obviously with the league at the moment, it's getting better and better but there's still a long way to go. So I'm hoping to see what comes to be honest."

In her prime and with two championships and three premierships under her belt, a move overseas for Vine would feel like a natural next step. Following the decider, Ante Jurić floated that she and keeper Jada Whyman were the two players he could potentially lose from an otherwise stable squad.

However, the Shepparton-born winger says it's not a decision that only exists in a footballing context.

"There's a few clubs interested overseas," she said. "But I have to weigh it all up. It's not just going over and playing for a team like Arsenal [which she subsequently made clear was just an example] or anything like that.

"It's weighing up my life here. It's not just as easy as 'I'm going to go play for a big team. I have a whole life here, that I love. I love Australia. It's a big weigh-up for me. So it's not a very easy decision."

Meanwhile, fresh from being named the A-League Women's Young Player of the Year, City are hopeful that Saturday's defeat won't be the last time that Galic - who turns 18 next month - pulls on a City shirt.

Declaring that she 'took control' on the league's biggest stage, Dario Vidošić heaped praise on the youngster following the decider.

"If she stays with us, I'm sure she'll be pushing to be the best player in the league next season, he said. "She probably needs a good offseason. She's developed a lot, which is natural at her age - 17 years old - she's put on size, she's grown. She's learning her body.

"We'll try to focus in on her a little bit in the strength and power and really develop because technically she is unbelievable.

"[The grand final] shows that you know she's ready for the next level as well. So we're very pleased and we hope that she's wearing our colours again next season."

The City boss did, however, say with certainty that the Young Matilda wouldn't make a lateral A-League Women move anytime soon.

"I highly doubt she'd go to any other A-League club," said Vidošić. "Unless she wants to sit in a block and run and transition, then maybe. But I think she thinks she enjoys the football that we play.

"She's great. She's not for other A-League clubs. She's for overseas. A talent like that doesn't go from A-League to A-League. She goes to the NWSL or the WSL. I don't imagine we'll see her in any way or any other colours in Australia."

One player that will be back for City next season, is skipper Rebekah Stott, who will also make herself available for the All Star game before representing New Zealand at the Paris Olympics.

"I'm pretty happy here," she said. "I have another year in my contract.

"I want to make it to the 2027 World Cup. So there's still another three years there."