Hopkins praises much-changed Victory


Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins hailed his makeshift defence after a 0-0 draw with Canberra United on Tuesday.

Victory set a club record for most points in a Westfield W-League campaign, the Premier’s Plate winner finishing the regular season with 24.

A much-changed Victory side included Alexandra Gummer at left-back and Angela Beard and Annabel Martin – usually full-backs – in the centre of defence, while Teigen Allen took her spot on the right.

Hopkins praised the way his new-look defence handled a tough encounter at McKellar Park.

“We switched it around. Alex Gummer came in for her first start of the season and she hadn’t played in the previous 13 rounds and credit to her, every week she turns up and she gets on and she works hard,” he said.

“It must be hard for her to have been left out a number of times but she just keeps going, she’s there for the rest of the squad and it was really pleasing for her.

“Ange and Annabel, they were outstanding in the centre of defence. Their decision-making was perfect, I don’t think they put a foot wrong all night against (Ashleigh) Sykes and (Rhoda) Mulaudzi. They were good players, lots of pace, and get it wrong once against them and it’s a goal. I was really pleased and really impressed as well with the way they went about it.

“I’m very, very happy with the application of the team and some of the football we played was excellent as well, we had four international players and two Westfield Matildas not starting so it shows our depth and probably confirms to us that the young players that we’ve got at the club are going to play a big part in the future as well.”

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Victory broke the club record of 23 points set in back-to-back seasons in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

Hopkins said it showed just how consistent Victory had been throughout the campaign.

“That’s been one of the things that’s been great about us. From game to game, from week to week, we have had that consistency,” he said.

“We had that little wobble against Brisbane and Adelaide, but we got straight back up, dusted ourselves off and went again.

“It’s a credit to the character of the team and the closeness of the squad. They never know when they’re beaten, never give up. They’re great qualities to have.”