Sam Kerr stands peerless atop of Australia's goal-scoring mountain

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Chelsea's Sam Kerr takes on ESPN's 'You Have To Answer' (1:26)

Back flip or front flip? Spurs or Arsenal? Chelsea and Australia striker Sam Kerr takes on ESPN FC's latest "You Have To Answer." (1:26)

After scoring five goals in the Matildas' 18-0 demolition of Indonesia on Friday, Sam Kerr now stands peerless atop of Australia's goal-scoring mountain. There are no caveats and there is no gender marking, just 54 goals in total for her country, more than any other Australian footballer.

For Kerr, this record had been dangling in front of her since the Brazil friendlies in 2021 when she took her tally to 49. But in a way, the fact that she broke the record in India, at the Asian Cup, she did was all the more symbolic.

The location of the tournament carried significance with Kerr having Indian heritage; her grandparents migrating from the subcontinent to Fremantle in Western Australia.

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"I definitely thought about that before the game how special it would be for my family that I'm in India," Kerr admitted post-match.

"It's my first time being here so even just seeing the culture and when we drive here looking outside and seeing the people everyone here has been so welcoming and I know that there's a lot of Indian fans out there that follow me.

"So it's special for me to break the record but it's a bit more special doing it here on Indian soil and in the Asian Cup which is a really important tournament to me."

An important tournament indeed. After all, it was back in 2010 when a baby-faced 16-year-old Kerr scored her first goal for the Matildas against South Korea at the Asian Cup. She didn't know much about goal number one with the ball ricocheting off her from close range. She pulled out her now famous backflip celebration but tripped in excitement after the landing.

The five-goal haul against Indonesia took her four clear of Socceroo Tim Cahill, who had held the top-scorer title since 2017.

"He's a legend in Australia, so to be in the same conversation as him that's an amazing honour," Kerr said.

"But anytime I score for my country, it's an amazing honour. I didn't have many so I don't take any goal for granted. And I said after the game there's no team I'd rather do it with. It's an honour to wear the jersey for the Matildas and an even bigger honour to score every game, hopefully.

"To break the record is amazing and something I'll remember forever."

Of Kerr's quintet in the Indonesia win, three of them were set up by Emily van Egmond, who was deployed by coach Tony Gustavsson in a more attacking role. This was due in part to the faith and trust shown by the Matildas boss in Clare Wheeler.

Following her brilliant cameo against the United States in Newcastle, Wheeler made her starting debut on Friday as Australia's defensive midfielder. And, with Wheeler's cover behind, Van Egmond was allowed to push forward do what she does best.

"What's impressive with her is her understanding of the game," Gustavsson said of the No. 10 after the match.

"She knows exactly where to be, when to be there and connect the team like linking. She's like the heartbeat and the tempo controller of the team and she impressed me in that sense today."

Van Egmond ended the match with four assists and three goals of her own, one of which was set up by Kerr.

The pair showed off the same understanding, connection, and goal-scoring prowess that they did throughout the 2020 Olympic qualifiers. During those matches, it was Van Egmond who was the top-scorer and assister with five and six respectively. Kerr scored four and assisted three.

An attacking Van Egmond creates a focal point with an entirely different skillset to Kerr. This match showed that having both of those outlets working in tandem and individually is ideal for the Matildas.

Yet while there was excitement at Australia's attack, the circumstances of the match do need to be taken into consideration. The disparity between the two teams in every sense cannot be ignored. Whether it be age, experience, or FIFA ranking, Australia had a huge advantage over the Garuda Pertiwi. There are systemic and structural disparities between the two national team setups which Indonesian head coach Rudy Eka Priyambada touched on post-game.

"I think the gap is like the quality of the player because lots players in Australia, they play in Europe and then they have their own league," he said. "And then we just started the league two years ago, and then because this pandemic happened, and then we don't have a league. I think we have to develop women's football in Indonesia much better for our future."

While the gap explains the score-line, Australia's ruthlessness also deserves some credit. It was a statement of intent that each team the Matildas face would be taken as seriously as the next.

This was also the logic behind some of Gustavsson's selections and substitutions. Putting out what could easily be seen as the Matildas strongest XI against the 94th ranked team in the world seemed like a wasted opportunity. The 9-0 lead at the break was a chance for newer players to be blooded in the second stanza, according to fans and pundits. Gustavsson, however, used the game as an opportunity to give some minutes to players who were coming off winter breaks.

Whether or not that decision pays off will become more evident as the tournament progresses.

Awaiting the Matildas in the next group game is a date with the Philippines and former head coach Alen Stajcic. With the Malditas earning a 1-0 win over Thailand, Australian fans will be hoping for much of the same clinical finishing on Monday night.