Hopkins happy with leaders as excitement builds

Jeff Hopkins is happy with Melbourne Victory’s leadership group as the champions prepare to be led into the A-League Women campaign by Kayla Morrison.

Morrison, last season’s Victory Medallist, was appointed captain, replacing Angela Beard, who joined Fortuna Hjorring in June.

The star centre-back is joined in the leadership group by Lia Privitelli and Melissa Maizels and Hopkins is pleased with the leaders in his squad.

Jeff Hopkins

“We had a discussion at one of our team culture meetings and just working through, we came up with three names to be part of the leadership group,” the Head Coach said.

“They’re all really strong candidates. Lia Privitelli’s been at the Club as long as I have and she’s someone that’s got really strong values, real honest, hard-working player, leads by example out on the field and off the field and is a great person, there was no shock to us and definitely a player that we would’ve chosen to be there as well.

“Melissa Maizels, she kind of showed where she was in terms of the team last year. She was unlucky enough not to play any minutes last year but still was really strong around the team, and getting around the team last year. It would’ve been easier for her in the finals to feel a bit sorry for herself and … not only disrupt by being a little bit down in the dumps, but she was so positive, became a real positive influence on the team in the Semi Final and the Final so I think the team kind of saw that and they kind of said, ‘Hey, this is the type of person we want in leadership and representing us’.

“Kayla as well, I think Kayla has shown by the way she played last year, really strong leader, she’s got the confidence of the whole of the squad and she’s a really popular vote and for me she’s got the qualities that I’m looking for in our captain. She’s a good leader out on the field, she’s vocal on and off the field, she leads by example with her performances and she’s someone that I trust with giving a message to her that she’ll convey that to the rest of the squad, to the rest of the team out on the field and I think generally in terms of a person as well, she’s the right type of person to be leading the group.

“From the three players, we had a discussion, the three players, myself and Gareth (Turnbull), and we came up with Kayla as the team captain and Lia and Maizels as our vice-captains.”

Kayla Morrison

Victory is preparing to open its season against Adelaide United at AAMI Park on December 5.

Hopkins said the excitement was building within the squad, as Victory aims for back-to-back titles.

“We all went down as a squad to watch the A-League Men on Saturday night and that got the adrenaline pumping I think,” he said.

“It was obviously great to see the win, it felt a little bit closer once we saw them playing and we know it’s only a couple of weeks away, I think everyone’s getting quite excited. We’ll start to do a little bit of preparation around the Adelaide game later on in this week so I think it really becomes real then.

“I think we’ll have a good week next week as well, keep things nice and positive and then a couple of the girls that we’re kind of easing back, we’ll get them back into our full training and we’ll have a strong side and a really motivated side when we go into the first game.”