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History rewrite of Australia's 'first' women's team slammed by former skipper

MELBOURNE : Former Australia women's captain Julie Dolan has condemned a decision to recognise a 1975 side as the nation's first women's team, calling the move farcical and a mockery of selection.

The Dolan-captained team that played New Zealand in 1979 was previously recognised as Australia's first international side in women's football.

That was until Monday, however, when governing body Football Australia (FA) declared the 1975 squad that played in an Asian Ladies Football Confederation tournament in Hong Kong would now be known as the 'first Matildas', following years of lobbying by the players.

That squad, which was captained by Pat O'Connor and included a 14-year-old Dolan, wore Australia's colours and coat of arms at the Hong Kong tournament but was selected almost entirely from one Sydney club, St George Budapest.

FA had acknowledged the 1975 squad as "historically significant" two years ago while saying they fell short of criteria to be categorised as a senior national team.

"I want to stress that there were no trials and women from interstate clubs, or any club for that matter, were not invited to try out for this tournament," Dolan, 63, said in a statement.

"To hear that FA are now recognising this club team as the 'first Matildas' makes a mockery of the selection process for a national team and is nothing short of farcical."

The 1975 team captured the national spotlight last year when some of their players engaged in an ambush marketing campaign by sports apparel giant Puma in the lead-up to the 2023 Women's World Cup in Australia.

FA said on Monday that the team's recognition came after a comprehensive review, which had consulted historians and external experts.

"This recognition is long overdue and a testament to