Liberty A-League preview: Victory v Wanderers

Match details

Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Saturday, February 12, 2022
Kick-off: 4.50pm AEDT


Melbourne Victory is looking to continue its winning run in the Liberty A-League, hosting the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.

Victory is riding a three-game winning streak after Tuesday’s hard-fought 1-0 success over the Newcastle Jets.

Brooke Hendrix, making her first Victory start, headed in an Alana Murphy set-piece early in the second half at McDonald Jones Stadium.

Victory produced a fine first half in Newcastle, creating numerous goalscoring opportunities without converting.

In the end, a set-piece was needed to settle the contest and give Victory a third consecutive win.

Victory welcomes the Wanderers to AAMI Park for what will be a third game in nine days in what is shaping as a busy period.

Kyra Cooney-Cross, Courtney Nevin, Catherine Zimmerman and Harriet Withers all returned for the meeting with the Jets.

Victory is still waiting for injured star forward Melina Ayres to make her first appearance of the season.

The clash against Western Sydney is set to mark a milestone appearance for Cooney-Cross.

The forward is set to play her 50th Liberty A-League game, having featured 36 times for Victory and made 13 appearances for the Wanderers in her career.

Cooney-Cross is set to become the second Victory player to reach the 50-game milestone this season, after Alex Chidiac managed it earlier in the campaign.

Player in focus

Hendrix has had an immediate impact since arriving at Victory. The defender scored what proved to be the winner against the Jets on her first start for the Club.

What they said – Hopkins

on how squad pulled up…
“The girls are in recovery at the moment (Wednesday). They’ve just been to the beach, done recovery in the sea and I’m pretty sure everyone has pulled up (okay). There’s a few players that are obviously a little bit sore and tight after the game, but injury-wise, we’re all pretty good.”

on managing squad through busy period…
“There’s a big element of planning, but also we’re in a game that’s pretty dynamic and changeable as well. If we don’t manage our squad well, we’re not going to win games, but we also need to win games as well. It’s pretty difficult, but the good thing is we look like we’ve almost got our full squad to choose from now, obviously we didn’t have Lia (Privitelli) last night, we lost her early in the week with a bit of sickness, but I’m pretty confident she’ll be back. Most probably the only player that we won’t get back this week is Melina so she’ll be a good addition to the squad in a week or so, maybe a little bit longer. It makes it a little bit easier then and the options are a little bit easier, but it’s the most difficult part of the game is normally you make changes in a game around your needs on the field, but now we’re obviously having to think a few days ahead to the next game as well and often the circumstances in the game dictate what you can do and it would’ve been nice if we could’ve put the game away a little bit earlier last night, we definitely had the opportunity to do that. Obviously then decisions of what you do with substitutes and things just becomes a little bit more difficult, but we’re definitely making plans and sometimes you just have to deviate a little bit.”

on Cooney-Cross’ versatility…
“One of the good things about Kyra is her versatility. She’s started to play in that deeper, distributing role in midfield this season, it’s something that’s quite new to her but she’s taken to it very well, she can play as an eight or a 10, so a player that starts a little bit higher between the strikers and the midfielders or she can play more of an eight that can get box-to-box as well so that’s very handy. In the past she’s played as a central striker and a winger as well so she’s got the ability to get at players, to go one versus one and that’s what we did, we started her in the wide position last night, we knew Gema Simon was coming back, I think it’s her second game of the season after a long injury, so we thought we’d put her out there and cause her a few problems and she did really well for us. She worked really hard out there, she did well with the ball, she distributed the ball well, she got a few good crosses in and went one versus one and could’ve even scored as well. She was happy to play that role. She may well play a different role on the weekend, but not just her talent but her versatility is a big plus for us.”

on Cooney-Cross’ 50th game…
“We were actually talking about this last night. Some of our key players, we’ve got Kyra playing a real key role for us, Courtney Nevin doing the same, Alana Murphy as well last night playing a key role in midfield and all still 20 or under 20, sometimes you’ve got to sit back and think wow, how well these players are doing and sometimes you can be a little bit too critical. They’re young players still developing, but they’re still putting in some really consistent, high-quality performances and it’s obviously the case with Kyra, from when she started she’s gone from strength to strength and that’s why she’s an important part of the Matildas set up and I think she’ll play a big part in the World Cup next year.”

Last time

Liberty A-League 2021/22 Round 7
Western Sydney Wanderers 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Sunday, January 16, 2022
CommBank Stadium, Sydney

It took until the 74th minute for the teams to be separated last month.

Maja Markovski scored from the penalty spot to earn Victory all three points.

Head to head

Round 7, 2021/22: Wanderers 0-1 Victory at CommBank Stadium
Round 11, 2020/21: Victory 1-0 Wanderers at AAMI Park
Round 4, 2019/20: Victory 1-1 Wanderers at Latrobe City Stadium
Round 5, 2018/19: Victory 2-1 Wanderers at Latrobe City Stadium
Round 12, 2017/18: Wanderers 1-1 Victory at Stadium Australia