VPL Report: Perfect start to season for Victory

Melbourne Victory made an ideal start to their 2024 VPL1 campaign, securing an impressive 3-1 win against Northcote City on Friday night.

Team News

Joe Palatsides’ first team of the 2024 season showcased a healthy mix of regulars from last season and some newer faces.

Luka Kolić, Jesse Hoey and Marc Petheriotis all made their first starts for the senior academy team, whilst Fabian Monge was a familiar name albeit in an unfamiliar setting.


A healthy crowd packed into John Cain Memorial Park for the first game of the VPL1 season.

The game was also Victory’s first back in the second tier of Victorian men’s football, having won promotion last season.

Northcote generated the first major chance of the game, which ended with the ball in the back of the net in the 13th minute.

However, the offside flag was raised and ensured the scores remained locked at 0-0.

Victory’s first real chance of the game was the result of a wonderful passage of play, chiefly orchestrated by Jesse Hoey and Marc Petheriotis and ending with a blistering strike from Alex Menelaou which flew narrowly wide of the post.

The first half was an even affair, with both teams looking threatening at times.

However, it was Victory who would land the main blow of the half just minutes before the break.

Another brilliant effort from Jesse Hoey curled into the far post, but Adem Duratovic remained alert and was the first to react when it rebounded into the middle of the box.

A simple finish for Victory’s number nine, who gave his side a vital edge heading into the second-half.

Duratovic almost doubled Victory’s lead early in the second stanza, with his effort from a direct free-kick coming desperately close to sneaking into the top corner.

However, the visitors would not have to wait much longer for the second goal to arrive.

Ten minutes later, a scramble in the Northcote penalty area eventually saw the ball fall to the feet of Hoey once again, who finished off the chance to double Victory’s lead.

Northcote experienced a brief revival following the second goal, creating a handful of opportunities.

Palatsides turned to his bench as the game entered its final 20 minutes, bringing Victor Muhindo into the contest in place of Marc Petheriotis.

Northcote were eventually able to pull one goal back through Michael Domfeh, ensuring a nervy finish to the contest.

The hosts continued to push for an equaliser late in the match, but in the final action of the game, Luka Kolić stepped up and sealed the win for Victory with a superb free-kick.

An ideal start to the season for Victory, who kick-start their 2024 campaign with an impressive three points at John Cain Memorial Park.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ post-match thoughts

On the performance:

“VPL1, a new group of young players coming through, and a core of some of the older players that stayed on with us as well.”

“It always takes a bit of time.”

“To go away from home in this league, first game of the year, really grind out a result. It’s a great start.”

“We know we can be a lot better, but when you talk about Round 1, with so many more games to go for us to gel as a team, it’s something to look forward to as well.”

On the new recruits:

“Luka (Kolić) was signed specifically because we knew he was a good, young, talented player. He’s a great kid as well.”

“To have him in addition to Adem (Duratovic) and Alex (Menalou) and Kayne (Razmovski), plus Kasey Bos who just signed with the A-League team, it’s great to have another young player in the mix who gives us a bit more experience.”

“Then you’ve got the younger players coming through like Marc Petheriotis and Jesse Hoey who both had a great game on debut in the senior team.”

“Through the course of last year we saw a lot of young boys coming through…when they play games like tonight, it’s another one under their belt and they had an impact on the result.”

“It’s great to see these young kids coming through and hopefully it’s another batch for us to all get excited about.”

On the value of a tough away win:

“Games like these I think all the players look forward to anyway.”

“Finishing off from Northcote and then heading towards probably the title favourites in Preston, I just think it’s an exciting time.”

“We’ll be 90 minutes better off having played this first game.”

Next Up

Victory face another tough away trip next Friday night when they take on Preston Lions at BT Connor Reserve.

VPL1 2024 Round 1

Northcote City 1 (Domfeh 73′)

Melbourne Victory 3 (Duratovic 41′, Hoey 57′, Kolić 90+7′)

Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Ahmad Taleb (GK), Josh Inserra, Kayne Razmovski, Kasey Bos, Alex Menelaou (c), Adem Duratovic, Matt Bozinovski, Fabian Monge, Luka Kolić, Jesse Hoey, Marc Petheriotis