Senior midfielder Alison Baker has renewed her commitment with Box Hill United ladies, and said the team is improving its ‘intensity and cohesion’ ahead of the 2019 NPLW season.
Baker, originally from Canada’s Calgary, first played for Box Hill in 2011, and re-signed with us in 2018. In the interim, she stayed four seasons at South Melbourne FC, and briefly at Bulleen Lions and Alamein FC.
A utility player in the middle of the park who is always looking to make an impact with her well-rounded playing style, Baker took stock of the pre-season phase under 2018 NPLW Coach of the Year Brian Roberts, saying, “We are making good progress. We have been out here [in training] since November, probably earlier than a lot of teams were.
“We are focusing on intensity and cohesion when we are playing and the style that we want to have going into the season. So, we are getting a [good] chance to know a new squad and figure out our style of play.”
Box Hill’s line-up will have a fresh outlook this time around, with a balanced squad including both young and experienced faces. Baker, of Canadian-Australian descent, spoke of the challenge ahead, “There are teams that have kept a substantial [number] of their players, having established a playing style and structure already, and have gone to know each other play.
“So, we are at a little bit of disadvantage in that way but the preparations that we are doing now will help us in discipline [and] defence, and we are intense and consistent.”
The 37-year-old highlighted a right mindset as one of the cornerstones of success in the NPLW, saying, “It’s a really long season and it is hard for any team to maintain that high level of consistency.
“It’s something that you come into every session and create through a culture – it’s something that unfolds each minute. As soon as you lose sight of what you are doing, that’s when you have dips in the season, because you are going to play how you train.”
Baker, currently based in Melbourne’s Footscray, is keen to lend her experiences to teammates, and added, “I am a very vocal player and after over 25 years of playing, I have a good read on the game. As you get older, you seek to be smarter and sharper with your decision-making.
“I see my role as to how I can encourage other players, younger players, to drive for themselves, but also to learn the game technically and strategically.”