Kicking goals – how one Western graduate is helping The Matildas achieve world football domination

When The Matildas began their AFC Women’s Asian Cup, a Western Sydney University PhD student had a keener interest....

When The Matildas began their AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign by hammering 18 goals past Indonesia on the first day, one Western Sydney University PhD student had a keener – and closer – interest than most.



Tim Massard, a Bachelor of Health Science (Sport and Exercise Science) graduate and current PhD student, is the Strength and Conditioning Assistant for the Matildas. Having played football from the age of five, Tim’s love for sport, combined with his interest in science, led him to pursue a Bachelor of Health Science, with a major in Sport and Exercise Science at Western. “It seemed like the natural merge of those two interests,” said Tim who truly relishes his role with the Matildas, further adding, “and it just seemed like a good career to try and work in.”

But Tim’s academic success wasn’t instantaneous. “In high school you have someone constantly demanding work from you,” said Tim, “but then as soon as you’re at university it’s a bit more self-driven and it takes some time to get used to that, you really have to be on top of your own work you don’t really have anyone to chase you up. That was probably the trickiest transition for me.”

The Bachelor of Health Sciences degree starts with core subjects, before students choose a Major and branch off to more specialised learning. On being asked if the core subjects have been relevant to his career, he said, “Looking back on my degree, the way that this profession works, it’s so multidisciplinary and being able to have a better understanding of the fundamentals of other health professions, at least having a grounding in it, is super important.”

Alongside working with the Matildas, Tim is also employed as a strength and conditioning coach at the Westfield Sports High School, a public school at Fairfield in NSW that is a centre for excellence in sport. “My PhD was a placed scholarship at Westfield Sports High,” Tim said. “I was placed there for two years as part of my PhD, and in 2021 I was employed by the School.” Tim has been impressed by the School’s professionalism. “The level of quality at Westfield Sports High is really, really high,” he told us. “The facilities – especially the gym facilities, would be the envy of professional sporting teams.”

It was through Westfield Sports High that Tim’s opportunity with The Matildas presented itself. Westfield’s Head of Physical Performance, Tony Wignell, is also the Head of Strength and Conditioning for The Matildas. “I developed a good working relationship with Tony,” said Tim, “and he would ask for my opinion, we would work away at stuff or he would have certain data and he would talk to me about how best to visualise it or present that. We did that informally for a couple of years, and then The Matildas said they wanted him to hire an assistant and he told them, ‘I have pretty much already got one’!”

Although Tim seems to be a natural for both his current roles, his path wasn’t immediately laid out after he finished his Bachelor’s degree. “I connected with Associate Professor Ric Lovell at Western, and I ended up doing postgraduate degrees with him as my main supervisor,” said Tim. “I was unsure which pathway would be the one that I wanted to pursue, but Ric’s advice was that if I did a masters by research I would get academic experience, but if I was clever about what research question I focused on and how I set up my research it would give me practical experience as well.”

It was a strategy that paid off for Tim. “I worked with state league football teams as their sports scientist, and then when I finished that I was still on the fence about which way I wanted to go, henceforth, I extended the experience and did a PhD program with Western and Westfield Sports High School, so I’m continuing to get experience in both the professional and academic realms.”

Tim was part of the Matildas’ support team for the Tokyo Olympics, an experience that was unforgettable. “It was disappointing to know we could have won a medal; we were so close but at the same time it was one of the first times we’ve really shown in a global tournament that we’re contenders,” said Tim. “In the past Australian footballers have been stereotyped as being really hard working but not being tactically very good. It’s much harder to teach work ethic, and I think now we’re starting to lift the technical and tactical side, and matching it to the level of physical prowess that we have.” Tim believes this bodes well for the Matildas’ chances in the coming years. “The fact that we’re constantly improving technically and tactically and we’ve already had a history of high physical capacity, it’s all starting to combine into hopefully peaking in the 2023 World Cup.”

The Matilda’s began their AFC Women’s Asian Cup campaign on Friday, 21nd January at 9.00 p.m. AEDT. Click here to have a look at their remaining fixtures. All games will be broadcast in Australia live and free via Network Ten and 10 Play.

Editor’s note: The Matildas’ journey in the AFC concluded with a quarter-final finish after a 0-1 loss to Korea Republic on 30 January, 2021.


INSIGHT: “Take Me Out” comes in hot as WSU’s new cheeky dating show

Are you looking for love? WSU's new dating show has got you covered!...

Here to fill the “single” void in your quarantine.

WSU’s Campus Life and WSSBS “Take Me Out”. Source: https://www.facebook.com/WSSBS1/

Brought to you by Western Sydney Sports Business Society, the cheeky event “Take Me Out”, based off the hit dating TV show will be coming to WSU students in Spring Semester 2020.


There are many opportunities for dating at WSU; especially with females outnumberingmale students. There is a wide variety of events and student clubs for the socialites, allowing students to be as involved as much as they like – and if that’s not your scene, there’s plenty of local social hideouts for everything you could want. However, if worse comes to worst, “Take Me Out” is accepting EOIs for the show to commence after the exam period.


WSSBS organised the successful Black-Tie Ball event in collaboration with the SRC and WBSOS last September, so it’s no surprise that they are among the hosts of the most popular activities for students at WSU.


“The students demanded it so we will deliver a fun and cheeky date show whereby the contestants can have a great laugh that will provide WSU with some quality entertainment and most importantly, set some sparks amongst couples,” says President of WSSBS Nikodin Matic.


This demand has resulted in an astonishing 32 expressions of interest in less than 24 hours since the initial post went up along with over 80 Facebook comments. WSU students have been encouraged to keep tagging their friends who are single and are ready to mingle, and we encourage expressions from all walks of life, including straight, bisexual and gay individuals. Ideally, the show is seeking a pool of 100 students which will ensure there are enough contestants to host fortnightly events with 3-4 individual contestants.


A couple of Universities have hosted a dating show based on “Take Me Out” throughout Europe, and the events have always sold out. Matic has no doubt that if WSU students give this event a go, they will be back for more and this will be a regular feature of our events calendar.


What is ‘Take Me Out’ about?


A host will guide the format to allow plenty of banter and fun. The original show only has 30 females, and one guy at a time. The WSU version will rotate it fortnightly so that it switches to 30 guys and one girl presenting at a time. Matic explains how the rounds will progress throughout the show as follows;


Round 1

The man enters the stage while busting some moves to a song of his choice where he meets the 30 girls (flirty 30) and says his name and where he is from. The girls can then turn off their lights if they aren’t impressed. “No likey, no lighty!”


Round 2

A pre-recorded video is presented of the man describing his personality and interests in a comedic way. At any point during the video, the girls can turn off their lights once again. “If he is not Mr Right, turn off your light.”

Round 3

The man can then either show a skill, talent or party trick live or a pre-recorded video of his friends or family describing him more. Sometimes the family and friends throw him under the bus for a laugh and a stitch-up while other times they help him out with the ladies.

Round 4

The power is given to the man this round as he gets to turn the lights off the remaining girls until just two are left lit. Alternatively, if only one or two girls are remaining from round 3, then round 4 is skipped entirely.

Round 5 

The host then reveals an interesting fact about one of those two girls, but doesn’t disclose which girl the fact is about The man then turns one light off and takes the girl whose light he left on, out.



The audience will then get an update on how their date went a few weeks later to see if it was a success.


INSIGHT: Take Me Out – Damion Merry: the most embarrassing moment EVER!! (4.2.12)

WSSBS is currently in negotiation with a couple of fabulous restaurants and activity providers to sponsor the event and provide a free date for the lucky couples.

The show will be recorded on zoom and edited and shared to the student cohort if the even has to take place online. Once COVID-19 restrictions ease, the event can take place on campus where WSSBS will organise someone to record and then edit and share the footage online.


If you’re looking for some isolation love, have run out of swipes on Tinder or are just looking for someone to bring to family functions, so relatives stop asking about your love life – it’s a sign you should apply and see what happens. Register your interest to be part of ‘Take Me Out’ here.