Heavy playing schedules, in the wake of Tokyo, seems to be why Ellie Carpenter and Kyah Simon were withdrawn last-minute from the Matildas squad due to face Ireland next week.
Their withdrawal from the 25-player squad hints at needing to manage their playing load following a heavy schedule after Tokyo, leading to a reported quadriceps injury for Carpenter and a need for rest for Simon.
However, little insight into the exact reasoning behind why the two Matildas stalwarts were withdrawn from the squad "after consultation" was provided following Wednesday's announcement.
Prior to the withdrawal, former Canberra United player Carpenter was absent from her side's Olympique Lyonnais Division 1 game against Dijon FCO on Sunday.
Lyon fans aired their confusion on Twitter when Carpenter, a regular starting defender, was left off the side's roster on Sunday morning, before reports by Le Progrès, a regional daily newspaper based in Lyon, claimed she was carrying pain in her right quadricep and was rested.
"Pour cette 3ᵉ journée de D1, l’entraineure de l’OL devrait se passer de sa latérale Ellie Carpenter, préservée après avoir ressenti une douleur au niveau du quadriceps droit. Amandine Henry pourrait ne pas démarrer non plus, après une petite alerte au mollet" #LT (Le Progrès)— OL+ Féminin (@OL_Plus_Fem) September 12, 2021
However, Simon made her debut in the WSL in Tottenham Hotspur's historic first win against Manchester City on Monday, getting 61 minutes under her belt.
A Matildas spokesperson provided some further insight into why the pair were withdrawn, but did not go into specifics.
They said it was in the players best interest to help their heavy schedule after the Olympics.
"For this camp, Simon and Carpenter have been withdrawn as it is considered in their best interests. We anticipate it will be for this camp only but, of course, the players are always assessed and consulted with prior to each assembly," the spokesperson said.
"At the moment, it is about managing the players following a heavy load in the Olympics campaign. There is a long two-year journey to 2023 and the players will be managed to ensure their long-term best interests."
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After Tokyo, both players - along with many of the Matildas squad - will be juggling national team windows, their regular league matches and on top of that, FA Cup matches for Simon and the UEFA Champions League for Carpenter.
The pair join Caitlin Foord, who was left out of the national side due to injury, on the sidelines.
Fortuna Hjorring forward Indiah-Paige Riley and midfielder Clare Wheeler were instead called in to replace the duo ahead of Australia's friendly in Dublin on September 22.
Canberra's Karly Roestbakken is also in the Matildas' training camp with the squad as one of the players - alongside Elise Kellond-Knight before she underwent surgery this week for a neuroma in her knee - being assessed by Australia's sports science and medical team.
Roestbakken underwent surgery earlier this year to remove a piece of bone in her foot which was causing discomfort for months before her tarsal condition - where two bones were abnormally connected - was diagnosed.
The LSK Kvinner FK player made her return to the pitch at the Matildas' Dublin camp and said, in an Instagram post, she was delighted to finally be back on the pitch.
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