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Sep 23, 2021   |  9:34PM AET

Home opener, two derbies to start W-League title defence

Home opener, two derbies to start W-League title defence

Melbourne Victory’s W-League Championship defence begins with two derbies inside the opening four rounds in 2021/22.

Jeff Hopkins’ side, which claimed Victory’s second Championship last season, again has a blockbuster-filled start to the campaign.

The first four rounds of the W-League season were announced on Thursday, with early games based on a conference system.

Victory has retained a key core of the Championship-winning squad, which faces some key early games.

HOME OPENER

Victory will begin the title defence at home to the improving Adelaide United at AAMI Park on December 5.

The game is a double-header, with Victory’s W-League side taking on the Reds before the A-League outfit meet Perth Glory.

Adelaide was a much-improved side in the W-League last campaign, narrowly missing out on the Finals Series in fifth.

Victory, however, did record a gritty 1-0 win over the Reds in Adelaide last season thanks to a Catherine Zimmerman goal.

It will be Victory’s first opening-round home game in the W-League since 2018/19, when a 0-0 draw was played out against Adelaide at AAMI Park.

DECEMBER DERBY DOUBLE

Victory will face City twice in the opening four rounds with both matches to be played at AAMI Park, on December 12 and 26.

The second of those games will be hosted by Victory in a Boxing Day double-header, which includes an A-League meeting with Western United.

Victory demolished City 6-0 in one of the Derby clashes last season, while suffering a 3-2 loss in the second game.

The derbies could shape each team’s season and with two so early in the campaign, they will be key meetings.

SEMI-FINAL REPEAT

Victory’s other outing in the opening four rounds is a trip to face Brisbane Roar at Moreton Daily Stadium on December 18.

The encounter will be a repeat of last season’s Semi Final, which Victory won 6-2.

Victory star Melina Ayres scored a hat-trick on that day, to go with a Zimmerman strike and Lisa De Vanna double.