Hopkins reveals Melbourne traffic impacted Derby prep


Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins revealed how the city’s traffic impacted his team before its 2-0 Derby win over City on Friday.

Laura Alleway was a late inclusion in Victory’s starting XI after the centre-back arrived at AAMI Park minutes before kick-off.

Kyra Cooney-Cross, 16, travelled with Alleway and was meant to be in the squad before Hopkins made the decision to leave the talented attacker out.

Hopkins said most of his squad was late, but he praised his players’ attitude after Emily Gielnik’s strike and an Elise Kellond-Knight own goal saw Victory extend its unbeaten run to three games to start the Westfield W-League season.

“We had probably the worst preparation we’ve had all season with the traffic,” he said.

“Most of the girls were late and Laura obviously didn’t get here, she had a five- or six-minute warm-up.

“It’s kind of where the girls are at the moment with their spirit. They didn’t let anything like that affect them. They went out really positive right from the start.

“Although we had an affected preparation, they put in a really top-quality performance.”

Alleway replaced Annabel Martin in Victory’s starting XI minutes before the encounter, helping her side keep a clean sheet against City.

Hopkins, who was receiving regular text updates from his players, also hailed Cooney-Cross’ attitude.

“Kyra would’ve been on the bench,” he said.

“I wanted the disruption to be as little as possible and knowing that maybe Laura might’ve got here just after kick-off, we might’ve had to use one of our subs as well to get her on the park.

“I just made an early shout to say, ‘Kyra, miss out this week’ and the maturity that she’s showing at the moment, she just ran with it and whatever’s best for the team.”