Hopkins: star pair’s addition a huge morale boost

Melbourne Victory Women’s Head Coach Jeff Hopkins says the inclusion of star duo Lynn Williams and Alex Chidiac has lifted the team’s spirits ahead of Sunday’s Melbourne Derby.

The team’s 5-1 opening round win was soured by captain Kayla Morrison’s knee injury, making the pair’s inclusion a welcome presence around the Club.

Williams and Chidiac add to a talented line-up already possessing the likes of Matildas Kyra Cooney-Cross and Courtney Nevin.

“Both of them trained with us on Friday morning and trained really well,” Hopkins said.

“I’m really looking forward to the game and seeing them contribute in some way.

“The players have been really enthused to see the two girls involved at training. It’s a nice booster, especially after the great disappointment of Kayla’s injury earlier in the week.”

Morrison will be replaced by Lia Privitelli as captain for the remainder of the season while she rehabilitates her knee but will continue to make a big impact on the team from the sidelines.

Hopkins named Emma Robers, Tiff Eliadis and Amy Jackson as options to fill her void in defence.

“Kayla’s been at training every day and put her circumstances behind her to support the team, which is fantastic. I think the team has appreciated that,” Hopkins said.

“To turn up every day with a smile on her face – she’s been amazing.

“The playing group have really pulled around her this week and shown that we’re going to support her and she’s done the same back.

“It shows the team culture and team spirit is just as strong as it was last year. For me, it’s great to see, because you do worry about your players when they go through these injuries and it’s good to see Kayla has come through it nice and strong.”

Hopkins expects a tight game against City, who also got off to a winning start last week.

“I’ve been impressed with the intensity City play and defend with – they make things really difficult,” he said.

“They’ve recruited really well and are looking a lot stronger than last year.

“We’re really looking forward to it because we love the Derby and it’s a big game for us this week.

“The Derby means a lot to our Club, a lot to our supporters, and a hell of a lot to our players as well.”