Pace the key for Cockayne

Adelaide United's Donna Cockayne says pace is a crucial weapon for a player of her size in the Westfield W-League.

Adelaide United's Donna Cockayne says pace is a crucial weapon for a player of her size in the Westfield W-League.

Standing at 165cm tall, Cockayne's physical presence doesn't have opposition teams shaking in their boots. But her lightning runs through the midfield and in attack, a common sight at Hindmarsh Stadium this season, is where the South Australian is at her most dangerous.

"Personally I think it (pace) is my best asset, playing on the wing and playing on the big pitches that we do, it definitely helps," Cockayne said.

"If you can get that through ball and try outrun your opponent it's good and is something that I try to use to my advantage as much as possible."

But while pace creates space, there comes a time when every player has to grit their teeth and endure the tough stuff. The Reds' second-year player said going up against bigger bodies in the highly competitive Westfield W-League is a challenge she faces every week.

"It can be nerve wracking. We heard that Melbourne were a very physical side before we played them. But once you are out there on the field it doesn't really worry you, you just get on with the game," she said.

"It can be a little intimidating to start off with when you don't know who you are coming back against."

Cockayne displays no signs of trepidation when she dons the Red shirt however and laughs at an observation which suggests she plays with an attitude and a strut in her step.

The 20-year-old says she's developed a tough exterior during her career.

"I used to be the little quiet one who if something happened I'd keep to myself but playing over the years you kind of get to the stage where when it gets frustrating it's hard to hold back and you want to express your opinion," she said.

"I'm a nice person but in a game you get caught up in the moment, it can be a positive hopefully."

Cockayne said United is obviously disappointed with its bottom placing on the ladder but is optimistic it can cause some headaches for the more fancied sides as the season progresses.

"Having the big name players would be handy but I think working together ... all we can do is go out there and take it to the other teams like we did against Central Coast," she said.

"We've just got to push through every game and work as a team and stick together."

"This is a chance for everyone to prove they can be a leader."