Melbourne Victory will bring a refreshed defensive lineup into their upcoming Liberty A-League campaign, featuring several new and old names alike.
Only Claudia Bunge and goalkeeper Casey Dumont return to the Victory backline which started in last season’s grand final win over Sydney FC.
Reigning Goalkeeper of the Year and Grand Final Player of the Match Dumont is a crucial cog in Victory’s defensive machine, proving once again last season that she is one of the very best shot-stoppers going around.
However, fresh competition has arrived in the form of Miranda Templeman, one of Australia’s most exciting goalkeeping prospects having represented the Young Matildas in the U20 World Cup earlier this year.
Perhaps the most heartwarming story coming into the new campaign is the impending return of Victory captain Kayla Morrison, whose leadership and quality in defence was sorely missed at times last season following a serious knee injury.
Morrison’s return is accompanied by the exciting arrivals of Gema Simon, Jessika Nash, Natalie Tathem, as well as Anna Liacopoulos, a graduate of Victory’s Elite Girls Program.
Simon returns for her second stint at Victory and brings with her a wealth of experience to the fullback position with 142 appearances in the A-League Women’s competition to her name.
18-year-old Nash is another of the country’s brightest prospects, having already made her full Matildas debut in 2021 along with 24 A-League Women’s appearances playing for Canberra United and Sydney FC.
Tathem adds further depth and versatility to the Victory backline and is a familiar face to welcome back into the fold having also featured for the club two seasons ago before her campaign was cut short by injury.
The quality of arrivals combined with the return of Morrison means Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins will have plenty of selection headaches attempting to find his best defensive lineup.
Add in the defensive cover offered by the versatile Tiffany Eliadis, plus the ever-present Bunge, and Victory will have no shortage of defensive options available to them.
After winning last season’s Championship despite some key defensive absences, Victory loom as an even greater threat with a revitalised backline raring to go.