Chemistry key to Victory success


Melbourne Victory midfielder Dani Weatherholt says strong team chemistry is the driving force behind the side’s impressive start to the season.

Without a loss after seven rounds, Victory sits atop the W-League table and the 24-year old is excited to head into the second half of the season.

“I think we’re all really excited, we’re playing well but more importantly we’re enjoying our time together and having fun,” Weatherholt said.

“For us personally we’re focusing on ourselves this year, focusing on what we can bring and our strengths rather than other teams strengths going into games.

“I just want to keep the momentum going, I think just playing without that pressure, we’ve done a really good job to start.”

On loan from Orlando Pride in the NWSL, the American youth international is enjoying her first season in Australia’s top-flight, and has played a key part in Victory’s rise following a seventh place finish last season.

“The NWSL is very fast-paced and very physical while the W-League is a little more tactical, which I’ve really enjoyed.

“The league has a lot of talent in it this year and all the teams have proven to be very good this year.”

Weatherholt says the nous of coach Jeff Hopkins is key to the team’s success.

“I think he [Hopkins] reads the game really well, he has a really good understanding of the team and players and tactically he has a lot of knowledge. He was a really good player himself so I’ve already learned a lot.”

Hopkins is a former Welsh international, playing over 200 games for Fulham and has managed in the W-League since 2008, winning two championships with Brisbane Roar.

The midfielder also credits the form of fellow import Natasha Dowie, who has scored five goals so far this season and was recently named PFA Player of the Month, alongside Victory men’s star Keisuke Honda.

“She [Dowie] is a very talented forward, a good goalscorer and finisher so it’s been great. As long as you put her through she’s going to finish it.”

With half a season gone in Australia and the NWSL drawing closer, Weatherholt says she is relishing her time in Melbourne and would jump at an opportunity to come back.

“I’m loving it here, it’s a beautiful country and I always tell people it’s a very creative city, whether it’s the food or the people, just everything about it. I’ve had a lot of fun exploring it for sure,

“I’m really grateful for the experience I’ve had so far and if they would have me back I’d absolutely come back.”

Coming off a bye, Victory begin their second half of the season away to Brisbane on Sunday.