Melina Ayres’ development at Melbourne Victory has been plain to see.
At just 22 years of age, the forward took a huge leap last season, spearheading the Victory attack as the Club claimed the Championship.
Ayres starred and was directly involved in 13 goals (eight goals and five assists) – the most of any Victory player – in 14 games.
Arriving at Victory in 2017, Ayres quickly showed her ability to produce the incredible.
Her first two A-League Women goals in Victory colours came in January 2018, and they were stunning strikes.
The first was a sublime 20-yard effort away to Brisbane Roar at Suncorp Stadium and, nine days later, Ayres spotted Lydia Williams off her line and scored from near the halfway line in an incredible Melbourne Derby win at Epping Stadium.
With Natasha Dowie dominating for Victory, Ayres had to bide her time, often used out wide as the Club’s all-time leading goalscorer in A-League Women continued to shine.
Ayres’ third Victory goal was also a spectacular effort from distance against the Newcastle Jets in November 2018.
But perhaps best highlighting her development, Ayres now has 14 Victory A-League Women goals – the equal second most for the Club behind Dowie (34) – yet none have come from outside the box since those first three.
Full breakdown of Ayres’ Victory A-League Women goals
Right foot: 11
Left foot: 2
Inside the box: 11
Outside the box: 3
First half: 8
Second half: 6
Epping Stadium: 3
Lakeside Stadium: 3
Lions Stadium: 3
Latrobe City Stadium: 2
Suncorp Stadium: 1
No.2 Sportsground: 1
CB Smith Reserve: 1
Brisbane Roar: 4
Newcastle Jets: 4
Canberra United: 2
Perth Glory: 2
Ayres’ talent came to the fore in last season’s Semi Final win away to Brisbane.
The star forward scored a second-half hat-trick in a stunning 6-2 win against the Roar at Lions Stadium.
Ayres was in the right place to tap away her first two before producing a clinical finish for her hat-trick deep into additional time.
Now the undoubted focal point of Victory’s attack, Ayres’ next outing in the A-League Women will be her 50th in the competition for the Club.
And her growth has been clear, with even more surely still ahead of her.