The 2021/22 A-League Women season will be the longest yet, but at 14 games remains relatively short.
After nine consecutive campaigns of 12 regular-season games, an extra two matches will be played, with the Wellington Phoenix included in the competition.
Melbourne Victory are the defending champions and open the season against Adelaide United at AAMI Park on December 5.
With the campaign so short, a strong start is usually critical when it comes to hopes of winning the Premiership and making the Finals Series.
Under Head Coach Jeff Hopkins, Victory claimed the Premier’s Plate in 2018/19, having claimed 10 points from the opening four games.
When considering the first four matches of the 12-game campaigns and first three when there were 10 outings (from 2008/09 through 2011/12), that was Victory’s best start.
Interestingly, Victory has only claimed four points from the first four games of the past two seasons, but made the Finals Series in both, winning the Championship in 2020/21.
However, three of those four points last season came in a 6-0 Derby rout of City which highlighted just how dangerous Hopkins’ side could be.
The campaign prior, Victory’s only win from the opening four games also showcased what Hopkins’ team could do in a 3-2 success over the Roar in Brisbane.
Victory has three pieces of silverware in A-League Women history – a Premiership and two Championship trophies.
Of those, two were secured after going through the first third of the season at an average of 2.25 points per game or better.
A flying start would put Victory in a strong position again, and three of the first four games are scheduled for AAMI Park.
After hosting Adelaide and facing City, Victory makes the trip to Brisbane and then is back at AAMI Park for another Melbourne Derby, before hosting Roar.
While Victory has shown it can recover from a slower start, picking up early points would set the perfect platform in a Championship defence.