Hopkins: Cooney-Cross, Ayres have big futures


Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins praised teenage attackers Kyra Cooney-Cross and Melina Ayres and believes the duo have big futures.

Cooney-Cross, 16, and Ayres, 18, both earned NAB Young Footballer of the Year nominations during the season.

Ayres scored two stunning goals – against City and Brisbane Roar – while Kyra Cooney-Cross burst onto the scene with some lively displays.

“That’s the thing that gives me a lot of confidence,” Hopkins said.

“We didn’t see a huge amount of Kyra but we saw some great flashes of what she’s capable of and obviously you look at Melina as well, you saw the two cracking goals that she scored.

“Both of those players have got a big future and I think they’ve got a big future at our club.

“I’m not saying that we’re going to build everything around them, but they’re going to be a big part of our future and I’m really pleased for both of them.”

Cooney-Cross and Ayres both finished the season with two goals after making 12 (five starts) and 11 (nine starts) appearances respectively.

Hopkins also praised the duo for their desire to continue learning.

“Melina is a real hard worker, she’s always asking questions, she wants to get better and the same with Kyra,” he said.

“Kyra is a young kid and gets a little bit overwhelmed, but the thing with her, she was prepared to work, she was prepared to get her head down, she wants to learn.

“I’m very confident that with those two and others on board, we’re heading in the right direction.”