Lamington drives, car washes, games nights and a mile of coins were some of the ways the community rallied to help players of Renaye Iserief's era fundraise to represent their country.
It was the 80s and they were known as the Australian Women's Soccer team back then - the Matildas name did not come into effect until the mid-90s after a competition was held to determine their nickname.
Records of women's football in Australia date back to the 1920s, but the first national representative team - selected from the national titles - was in 1978.
They played at the World Women's Invitational Tournament in Chinese Taipei.
In their formative years, the Matildas played mostly overseas as there was no financial backing and the expectation was for host countries to fund accommodation for visiting teams.
Iserief - Matildas cap 26 - debuted for her country in 1983 and recalls merely wishing one day players would not have to pay to play.
"In my day, some players simply could not afford to go," Iserief said.
"They were good enough but they didn't have the money to play. Some quit their jobs to go and play. Most fundraised.
"We'd have games nights, trivia nights to fundraise. We'd have a big gambling night. Raffles. We did a mile of coin. They shut the main street of Wyong and everybody came and put coins down in a mile, and there was no dollar or two-dollar coins back in the early 80s.
"That's what it was back then. It was mainly about paying to play. You paid for the privilege to play for your country. But you didn't know any different."
The Wallsend 60-year-old grew up at Budgewoi across the road from the local soccer fields, represented Northern NSW and was the Central Coast's first representative in the Australian women's soccer team.
"You'd have to play club, rep then nationals to get into the national squad," Iserief recalled.
"Training was by correspondence. My [Australian] coach was in Brisbane. He would individually post players' training programs. He'd handwrite it. It was a 5k run, shuttles, sprints ... we had to document it, keep our times and then post it back to him at the end of each week."
These days the No.20 is synonymous with Australian captain, global superstar and million-dollar player Sam Kerr. Hordes of supporters have her name and number emblazoned on the back of their shirts.
"We never had our name on our jerseys, we never picked our numbers," Iserief, who played 30 games for Australia but none at home, said.
"It was whatever shirt fitted you - small, medium, large."
Iserief's mother kept a scrapbook of newspaper articles of the time, which these days make for shocking reading but show how women's football was received then.
Captions read, "Not just pretty faces", and, "Soccer the ladies' way: Pat O'Connor shows a St George teammate the gentle art of heading", and article statements included, "Women's soccer is no longer a giggle", plus, "While the waistlines decreased, the number of players grew".
They are laughable now with the Matildas household names and a FIFA Women's World Cup poised to kick off in Australia on Thursday night.
It is something Iserief, and the trailblazers between her time and now, could never have imagined.
"You talk to any Matildas alumni, from any era, and we love what's going on now," she said.
Many of the Matildas alumni will be part of a once unthinkable sell-out crowd at Stadium Australia to watch Australia launch their quest for World Cup glory against Republic of Ireland on Thursday night.
Most of them have stories of sacrifices made to help pave the way.
"In the early days, there was no funding because women playing soccer wasn't a thing," Iserief said.
"You either played netball or vigoro. Soccer was not something that a women's team did or did well."
Women's football slowly did start to be taken seriously and a pilot World Cup in 1988 proved pivotal to progress.
An appearance at the 1995 FIFA Women's World Cup followed, and at every one after that.
A breakthrough came in 2007, when the Matildas were unbeaten in the group phase to book a maiden quarter-final appearance at a World Cup.
Joey Peters was there, and at the forefront of some of the biggest moments in Matildas' history.
The former Australian vice-captain and attacking midfielder scored in a famous 1-1 draw with world superpowers United States at the 2004 Athens Olympics, where the Matildas made their first ever quarter-final appearance at a major tournament.
Three years later in China, Peters was part of the "Never Say Die" team who secured Australia's first win at a Women's World Cup and the quarter-final showing.
Now, the 110-time-capped Matilda, cannot wait to be "a big screaming fan" at another historic occasion on Thursday night.
Australia have never made it past the quarter-finals at a World Cup and will carry the weight of a nation this campaign as they target a best-ever showing.
For Peters, it will be a pivotal moment for football in Australia, regardless of the outcome.
"It's basically off that first game; if we can get over that first game I think we'll be good," Peters said.
"And, yes, we hope the Matildas do good, but it's so much more than just the Matildas' result this time, which is what usually a World Cup is - how well will the Matildas do.
"It's like we're bringing the world literally, all of these amazing women and promoting women in our country in just such an exciting time."
The Belmont-based 44-year-old and foundation player of the Newcastle Jets, who retired in 2009 and now works as a painter, was among the first Australian women to play overseas with seasons in the United States, Brazil and Sweden.
"I'm just so immensely proud of every woman and young girl who's had to face challenges of the male-dominated world and can now be proud and celebrate the equality and inclusivity we're bringing through football," Peters said.
The sport has come a long way for women and girls since she fell in love with it at age five after filling in for her brother's team.
Peters played grassroots football for Leeton United, in the Riverina region, as the only girl in boys' teams.
"It was kind of lonely in that environment," Peters said.
"I was young enough to still be friends with the boys when I was younger but then when you started to get into high school I copped a fair bit of bullying for being a 'tomboy'.
"It was funny how it went from everyone liking me for being one of their best players to everyone hating me for being one of their best players. That was a really hard time."
By her teenage years, Peters was living in Sydney and playing in a women's competition alongside some of the country's best players. She was also training at the NSW Soccer Federation academy under coach David Lee with Harry Kewell and Brett Emerton.
While Kewell's talents earned him lucrative contracts and stardom abroad, Peters worked as a cleaner to support her dream of becoming a professional footballer.
While it felt unfair, that was just how it was.
"In my last year of school, when I made the Matildas and was thinking what am I going to do after school, I do remember thinking I really want to try to be a professional player," Peters said.
"There was a league in Japan that Sunni Hughes and Cheryl Salisbury were playing in. Alison Forman was in Denmark ... but even when I say I was going to be a professional player, it doesn't mean I'm going to get paid well.
"I was on the minimum of minimum of salaries, probably living off $20,000, if that, a year ... It's interesting to look back on it now. There wasn't even a viable pathway, but I guess you have something in your heart, you want to pursue it and I did."
Peters - Matildas cap 91 - debuted for Australia in 1996 and also played at the 1999 and 2003 FIFA Women's World Cups.
Injury prevented her from experiencing the hype of the Sydney Olympics in 2000, the Matildas' biggest tournament on home soil until now, but she got a taste of playing at home when Australia hosted the 2006 Asian Football Confederation Women's Asian Cup.
"If there's ever going to be a time when we can make our best effort, to the semis or the final, it's all there for us," Peters said.
"Our golden generation should be at the peak of their careers, and playing at home is different again.
"I remember 2006, we hosted the Asian Cup in Adelaide. That was the first time we went in the Asian Confederation, so we had to qualify through Asia. At that time the Asian teams were on top of the world and to make [the World Cup] we were going to have to take out one of those teams.
"There were no crowds for us. But there's something about being at home that we just ended up playing the best football we've ever played. We made it to the final then lost on penalties ... but we just played the best tournament ever and I'm hoping there's some magic about playing at home."