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Dec 15, 2021   |  1:04PM AET

Liberty A-League preview: Roar v Victory

Liberty A-League preview: Roar v Victory

Match details

Brisbane Roar v Melbourne Victory
Moreton Daily Stadium, Brisbane
Saturday, December 18, 2021
Kick-off: 5.05pm AEDT

Preview

Melbourne Victory is aiming to make its best start to a Liberty A-League season when it visits Brisbane Roar on Saturday.

After back-to-back wins to begin the campaign, Victory can win the first three games of a season for the first time in Club history.

Victory needed to come from behind to get past City 2-1 in an entertaining Melbourne Derby in Round 2.

Catherine Zimmerman’s second goal of the season brought Victory level before Lynn Williams, making her Club debut, scored eight minutes after coming on.

It marked a memorable debut for Williams, while Alex Chidiac – also making her first appearance in Victory colours – set up Zimmerman’s equaliser.

Top of the table, Victory is one of only three teams with perfect records through two games this season.

After Kayla Morrison’s season-ending knee injury, Amy Jackson started at centre-back against City, but was sent off late and will miss the trip to Brisbane.

Victory could welcome back star forward Melina Ayres, who has missed the opening two matches of the campaign.

Ayres is one appearance away from featuring 50 times for Victory in the Liberty A-League, and she would become the 10th player to achieve that feat, also joining current team-mates Jackson, MelindaJ Barbieri and Lia Privitelli.

Victory and Brisbane are meeting for the first time since last season’s Semi Final, when the former recorded a resounding 6-2 win.

Player in focus

Having starred last season, Zimmerman has made a terrific start to the 2020/21 campaign. The forward already has two goals and an assist in two games this season.

What they said – Hopkins

on health of squad…
“There were a couple of players we were hoping would get through the game well, obviously it was great to get Lynn on the field and she came on and came through with flying colours so she’s great, she’s trained all week. Courtney Nevin was a little bit sore still going into the game, but she was excellent on the weekend as well, we thought we may have had to bring her off a little bit early, but she’s a real trooper, she stayed on and we would’ve had to drag her off I think so that was great. I think everyone else came through really well. Alex Chidiac, first game she played that many minutes for quite a while I think so I was really pleased with her, the way that she lasted the game and just the quality of her, especially in the second half, she really got us fired up and got us going in the second half which was good.”

on centre-back options…
“We’ve got a number of different options that we can actually use. I’m still not sure what we’ll do, whether we just go one in, one out, or we move the team around. Sometimes to get the right person in there you have to change three or four people and that can disrupt the flow and the balance of the squad, but we’ve had an 11 v 11 today (Wednesday) in training and we tried a couple of things. We’ll have another look tomorrow and then we’ll most probably make our mind up tomorrow after training. We’ve got a number of options we can use and I’m happy with either one of them, it’s most probably getting the balance of the team right. That’s where I’m not sure at the moment.”

on progress…
“In terms of our training, the quality of the training is at a very good level and I was happy again today with what I saw. We had a conditioning session today as well, the players applied themselves really well and the quality was great as well so happy in terms of that. In terms of things we did well this week and were better at, I’m just really pleased with the way that we, after conceding a goal right at the end of the first half, I was really impressed with the way we came in, nice and calm, we didn’t panic, we had a good, positive half-time and then we went out and we did what we talked about in the second half and to come back from 1-0 down in a Derby game it showed a lot of resilience, a lot of character and that was probably the most pleasing thing for me from the game. There were a number of things we can be better at – technically, tactically – but the main thing is we were prepared to roll our sleeves up, be brave enough to try and play the way we wanted to play and in the end it all came good in the second half. That for us builds a bit of belief in what we’re doing and that we are on the right track.”

on Ayres…
“She trained today. It’s a day-by-day thing. Whatever she can do today she does, she does it well, she trained pretty well today and then we see how it reacts overnight and if there’s no reaction she’ll do a little bit more the next day so she’s still in the frame to travel with us. I’m hoping no reaction in the morning. She joined in fully today. I’m quite comfortable with where she is, I’m quite comfortable that if she’s not right then we don’t take her. We need to get her right, 100 per cent.”

Last time

Liberty A-League 2020/21 Semi Final
Brisbane Roar 2-6 Melbourne Victory
Sunday, April 4, 2021
Lions Stadium, Brisbane

Victory crushed Brisbane in a Semi Final clash last season.

Ayres scored a hat-trick, Lisa De Vanna netted a brace and Zimmerman was also on the scoresheet in a resounding win.

Head to head

Semi Final, 2020/21: Roar 2-6 Victory at Lions Stadium
Round 5, 2020/21: Roar 6-0 Victory at Gold Coast Sports Centre
Round 2, 2020/21: Victory 0-0 Roar at CB Smith Reserve
Round 6, 2019/20: Victory 0-0 Roar at Epping Stadium
Round 2, 2019/20: Roar 2-3 Victory at Moreton Daily Stadium