Rhianna Pollicina created some great moments with the Newcastle Jets last season. Now in her first pre-season at Melbourne City, she is eager to use her skill and vision to build team success and help the next generation.
Appearing on Kick Off on Southern FM, Pollicina told Neal Symons and Michael Thompson of her ambitions for City and her new teammates.
“It’s our third week of pre-season at the moment,” said the former Jet.
“I’m really happy with the move so far (and) enjoying training.
“Pre-season just started it’s been challenging but the coaches have been managing our loads really well.
“Most of us have not been able to play for the past 6 months, it’s looking good, Rado’s (coach, Rado Vidosic) been great and I’m really happy with the move from Newcastle to Melbourne that’s for sure.”
Melbourne City struggled last season. They finished seventh in their lowest position since joining the league.
But the winning culture that made them four-time champions remains at the club and Pollicina says the hunger in the squad is evident.
“I definitely think it’s building that team culture, when you have 18 players that wanna work and want to fight for each other that’s what brings results on the field.
“At the moment it’s just working hard… pumping out those sessions to make sure we’re ready for round one in three weeks.”
After first appearing in the then W-League in 2014 with Western Sydney, she returned in 2020/21 to be crowned player of the season with Newcastle after a string of sparkling performances.
Pollicina was a tricky and inventive playmaker for The Jets and Melbourne City will be hoping that she can replicate that form.
She had been part of a total rebuild of City’s attack along with Hannah Wilkinson, Leticia Mckenna, and the prodigious Caitlin Karic.
Pollicina is bullish about the team’s ambitions but also wants to help the less experienced players in the squad reach their potential.
“One of my morals is…to not only just be a player but to guide these young players because they’re the future for the sport.
Now one of the stars of the A-League Women’s, Pollicina recalls the positive impact senior players like Caitlin Foord and Sam Kerr had on her as a youngster in training.
“When you train with high profile players you want them to back you and that’s where you get your confidence from
“Whereas is you’re getting yelled at for making mistakes you’re not going to be confident
“Me as a person is obviously encouraging these young players to try things, play your game…that’s how football in this country is going to get better.
“If you make a mistake work hard to get it back.”
As a newcomer to City, Pollicina is reveling in the company of fan-favorite and league champion Rebekah Stott. The New Zealander’s return to the game following treatment for Hodgkin’s Lymphoma has been the story of the pre-season.
“Stotty’s great, she’s absolutely amazing,” said Pollicina
“She’s definitely somebody I look up to. I’ve only known her for the past two weeks, she’s just a good person, an awesome player (and) somebody that you want on your team.
“She makes us laugh, she’s great to have around.”
With Pollicina’s help, City aims to return to trophy contention. The fleet-footed playmaker sent a reminder of her competitive edge.
“I hate losing personally and I know all the other girls do, we’re aiming high, we want to take out the league.
“We’ll start with top four position and see where it goes from there.”
Pollicina is the type of player that creates highlights and memories. She is a two-footed, tricky attacker with a precise finish rendering her a great signing for City, especially with fans returning to stadiums.
“I can’t wait to have the fans… Everyone come out and watch because the team’s definitely looking exciting and we want to meet as many fans as we can.”