Sally Shipard may have played her last match for Canberra. Photo: Getty Images
Sally Shipard will undergo another knee operation on Thursday, but despite having her ambitions of playing overseas again ruled out by the "chronic" problem, the Matildas star is keen to play on.
Shipard, the reigning Australian female Footballer of the Year, had arthroscopic surgery on both knees before the W-League season, but was re-injured in Canberra United's home loss to Melbourne Victory and ruled out for the rest of the season.
But while she is committed to returning to football, Shipard stopped short of guaranteeing a return to Canberra United if her knees recover. "My first priority over the next six months is my health, so I'm going to put as much effort as I can into strengthening my body and alleviating the pain I feel through my knees - which I was on the verge of during the season, but just came back too soon," Shipard said.
"If in six months' time my knees are still carrying on the way they were, then I'll reconsider my commitment to football or my involvement at such a high level.
"But the first thing I really want to do is get as strong as I can and get back into my football and give myself the best chance to stay involved with the national team [and] therefore the national league obviously."
But with the midfielder about to relocate to Brisbane, she's making no guarantees of which team she would play for in the national league.
"I think it's just a matter of taking it as it comes really … my focus is the next six months and I'll make a decision after that, but for the moment I would consider myself a Canberra girl," she said.
"I could be anywhere in six months' time. If it meant for me that I would get the best out of myself as a player and be able to contribute to Canberra, then that's who I'd choose to play for.''
The 25-year-old said her rehabilitation would be motivated by her desire to keep her place in the Matildas side, with new coach Hesterine de Reus due to take over the national team this month.
"I think that's one huge thing that's really appealing - everyone's got that fresh start, so that's a big challenge for me to prove myself in the eyes of the new coach.
''Hopefully it comes together and I've still got a couple of years in me at that level, with the Matildas."