Matildas' Yallop feeling pull of family

Anna HarringtonAAP
Tameka Yallop is with the Matildas in Sydney still unsure when she will see her young family again.
Camera IconTameka Yallop is with the Matildas in Sydney still unsure when she will see her young family again. Credit: AP

The Matildas are back in Australia for the first time in almost 600 days but for Tameka Yallop a family reunion remains elusive.

Yallop's wife Kirsty Yallop, the former New Zealand international, and their 14-month-old daughter Harley are based in New Zealand.

The Matildas midfielder departed for a pre-Olympics training camp in June and amid lockdowns in both Australia and New Zealand, has been unable to re-join her family since.

"They're stuck in lockdown in New Zealand at the moment, which was not the plan when I left them heading into the Olympics," Yallop told AAP.

"It's been a long five months to say the least. I'm a bit uncertain of when I get to see them next but I'm continually working to try and get to New Zealand or to get them out.

"We'll see how that goes but it's obviously been a difficult time for me off the pitch."

Yallop's ideal plan of travelling directly from the Tokyo Games to quarantine in New Zealand fell through, before further coronavirus outbreaks scuppered a back-up plan to cross the Tasman from her extended family's Queensland base.

Despite the setback, which meant moving to London to start life at West Ham alone, the no-nonsense Yallop has been a standout in England's WSL, scoring one goal and helping the Hammers to two wins and a draw in three games, hauling them to sixth on the table.

"The original intention of leaving NZ was that I would return there for a couple of weeks after the Olympics and then we'd head over to England together," Yallop said.

"But they went into lockdown halfway through the Olympics so that went belly up.

"But it's out of our control at the moment and all we can do is try to sort a solution, hopefully in the near future."

Joining Yallop in Sydney for the two friendlies against Brazil are a plethora of Matildas who haven't seen their families in months - or even more than a year, including Arsenal's Caitlin Foord, Steph Catley and Lydia Williams.

But realistically, they are unlikely to be able to even hug family members, given their tight biosecurity protocols, plus the reality of tight FIFA windows calling them back for club duties.

Younger Matildas returning to the A-League Women will be able to complete a quarantine period then head to their respective clubs in Melbourne and Sydney, as will any who are taking a break.

Despite the difficulties surrounding a return home, which should be alleviated by imminent tweaks to quarantine rules for future games, the Matildas are relishing being back in Sydney - and getting a long-missed taste of Australian coffee.

"The last time that we did play on home soil my partner Kirsty was pregnant and now I've got a daughter who's 14 months old," Yallop said.

"A lot has happened in that time frame and it's crazy to think that's how long it's been.

"All the girls are definitely stoked to be back here on home soil and with a home crowd so hopefully we get the good result, too."

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