Hopkins pleased with finals spot


Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins was pleased for his players after securing a spot in the Westfield W-League Finals Series on Sunday.

Victory came from behind twice to earn a 2-2 draw with Sydney FC at Lakeside Stadium, booking a finals place for the first time since 2014.

Hopkins said that was the first goal achieved for his team, which tops the table.

“We’ve been building towards this the last couple of seasons,” he said.

“It’s been a process, bringing the right players in, something we couldn’t do just overnight.

“I’m pleased for the players, they’ve worked really hard for this and we’ll see where it takes us now.

“Our first goal was to get ourselves into the final, second to get ourselves a home final and then we’ll see where it goes from there.”

After Emily Gielnik cancelled out Alanna Kennedy’s opener, Victory came from behind a second time, Natasha Dowie scoring following Chloe Logarzo’s goal.

Hopkins said there were areas of the performance that needed improvement, but he praised his side’s character, with goalkeeper Casey Dumont also making a first-half penalty save from Caitlin Foord.

“I was really pleased with a lot of the parts of the performance. The game was probably a lot more open than I thought it would be,” he said.

“If I look back at the whole thing, to go a goal down twice in the game and to come back showed the spirit we’ve got in the side. Looking at the reaction of the Sydney players after the game, they seemed pretty relieved to hear the final whistle as well.

“Overall, I was quite pleased. There are most probably one or two things that we need to tighten up. I felt the game was too open and we let it become a little bit too stretched out.

“We need to have a look at our shape when the opposition have got the ball, making the pitch a bit smaller, keeping things a bit more compact, but I thought going forwards we looked dangerous.

“It felt like a final and you never know, we could be playing them again in a couple of weeks in a semi-final or a final. It was good practice for us.”