VPL Report: Stalemate at George Cross

Melbourne Victory’s unbeaten start to the VPL1 season continued on Saturday night, playing out a tough 0-0 draw away to Caroline Springs George Cross.

Team News

Head Coach Joe Palatsides made 3 changes to the team which triumphed 4-0 over North Geelong Warriors last time out, bringing Kasey Bos and Marc Petheriotis back into the XI alongside goalkeeper Christian Siciliano.


A clash between the two teams promoted from NPL3 last season, Victory knew from experience that the trip George Cross is never a straightforward affair.

The hosts looked strong from the opening whistle, applying significant pressure on Victory each time Joe Palatsides’ team had possession

The strong start from Georgies was capped off by a shot which struck the post in the 13th minute.

Victory though were able to gradually work their way into the contest, controlling more of the ball and looking to play in behind the George Cross defence.

Luka Kolić looked particularly dangerous on the break, whilst Jesse Hoey was as energetic as ever.

Christian Siciliano was a vital contributor in goal for Victory throughout the half, standing up well to the constant pressure with support from his defenders.

Victory’s best chance of the half arose as the game neared the half-time break, when Hoey’s strike from range was tipped over the crossbar by the Georgies goalkeeper.

0-0 was the score at the break, with the game finely poised heading into the second 45.

Victory nearly made an ideal start to the second period, with Hoey hitting the post just minutes after the re-start.

Matt Bozinovski also came close to opening the scoring when his headed effort was only narrowly off-target ten minutes later.

Linus Bourke was brought into the action soon before the hour mark, as Palatsides shuffled his pack in an effort to unlock the George Cross defence.

The game though took a dramatic turn as it entered its final 20 minutes, with two red cards shown in the space of five minutes.

The hosts were reduced to ten in the 69th minute, before Matt Bozinovski was sent off soon after, leaving both teams a player down for the final stages of the game.

The last 20 minutes continued to deliver on the drama front, with a series of chances at both ends to win the game.

The tension in the game continued to escalate too, with a boil-over seemingly imminent.

Ultimately, however, neither side were able to claim all three points.

In a replica scoreline of last season’s meeting at City Vista, the spoils were shared in an entertaining 0-0 draw.

Head Coach Joe Palatsides’ post-match thoughts

On the performance:

“I’m a bit disappointed.”

“We just needed to cope better with their playing style.”

“They seemed hungrier early on and had more energy than us.”

“In the second half we really changed our mentality towards them and adapted a lot better.”

“I know our boys can perform better and maybe, on another day, if we played a bit better we would’ve come away with the points.”

“But at the end of the day, in a tough game like that, away from home, you get a point without playing your best, you’re pretty happy to come away with a point.”

On dealing with physical games:

“Especially with this team, we know we’re always expecting a physical battle.”

“That’s where the boys’ learning curve has to be from today.”

“We have to be adaptable and deal with whatever style of play the opposition brings.”

On the team’s defensive resilience:

“The whole back four was under a lot of pressure early on.”

“It’s always a good sign when you are under pressure that you don’t concede.”

“The two Bozza’s (Matt and Damien Bozinovski) I thought were very strong.”

“Towards the second half we got better help from our midfield to make sure that we kept a clean sheet.”

“We didn’t play as well as we could have, but we still fought to the end and managed to keep a clean sheet.”

Next Up

Victory return to Epping Stadium next Sunday 24 March, where they will take on Melbourne City in a big clash between two academy sides, kicking off at 3:00pm AEDT.

VPL1 2024 Round 6

Caroline Springs George Cross 0

Melbourne Victory 0

Melbourne Victory U23s starting XI: Christian Siciliano (GK), Dimitri Palatsides, Damien Bozinovski, Matt Bozinovski, Kasey Bos, Kayne Razmovski, Alex Menelaou (c), Luka Kolić, Jesse Hoey, Adem Duratović, Marc Petheriotis