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Burke's rapid rise takes her by surprise

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Fleta Page

Trudy Burke at training.

Trudy Burke at training. Photo: Orlando Chiodo

The last six months have been a whirlwind for goalkeeper Trudy Burke, who will make her W-League debut when Canberra United take on the Western Sydney Wanderers on Sunday, stepping in for an injured Mackenzie Arnold.

Burke's rise from the NSW Institute of Sport's train-on squad and playing for the Macarthur Rams in the NSW Premier League happened when she met Paul Jones, the goalkeeper coach for United and the Matildas.

Before that, the 21-year-old from Shellharbour never imagined she would be the starting goalkeeper with the W-League defending champions in a matter of months, a progression she agrees is like hitting the jackpot.

''Oh god yes, coming to a club like Canberra has been amazing,'' Burke said.

''I was only talking to Jonesy a couple of days ago about it … I met him only about six months ago in April and what's happened since then, basically it's just come along really, really quickly.''

Burke is set to hold the starting goalkeeper spot for at least three weeks, with Arnold reporting for Matildas duties next week, leaving Burke to cover her absence against Melbourne and Japan for the World Club Challenge.

On the bench for United will be Aroon Clansey, last year's back-up to Lydia Williams who signed with United this week. Clansey had been training with the team while working with the club doing match analysis and statistics.

Burke's first W-League game will have plenty of familiar elements to it though, with a number of the Wanderers having also played in the NSW league. ''I've played against a lot of the girls in the Western Sydney team through the Sydney competition, so that I guess gives me some idea of how some of the players might play.

''Familiar faces will definitely make it a bit easier,'' she said.

But there will be at least one unfamiliar face in the Wanderers line-up, with the club signing Swedish international midfielder Louisa Fors during the week. United coach Jitka Klimkova admits she represents just one unknown about the team they will face. ''I saw all of three games they played already, every time they change players on the field, so we know their style, but who they play, that will be the question mark for [today], because every game was a little bit different,'' she said.

The Wanderers are coming off their first victory, a 2-0 home win over Perth, and Klimkova is not underestimating the home ground advantage, saying Campbelltown Stadium will be an extra opponent for Canberra's passing game.

''It has a lot of spots without grass actually, so I think that will be good for [Western] Sydney because we want to play on the ground.''

SUNDAY

W-League: Western Sydney Wanderers v Canberra United at Cambelltown Stadium, 2pm.

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