W-League preview: Canberra v Victory


Westfield W-League Premier Melbourne Victory wraps up its regular season with a trip to Canberra United on Tuesday.


Victory secured its first ever Premier’s Plate with a 2-1 win over Perth Glory in Round 14.

It makes the trip to McKellar Park to play its rescheduled fixture against Canberra, with the initial clash last month abandoned due to lightning.

Victory is three points clear at the top and will face Perth in a Semi Final at AAMI Park on Sunday.

It beat the Glory in the final round thanks to first-half goals from Christine Nairn and Emily Gielnik.

Nairn and Gielnik each moved onto four goals this season, second in that category to captain Natasha Dowie (nine).

Victory is on a four-match unbeaten run heading to Canberra, recapturing its best form following back-to-back defeats late last year.

It has scored seven goals in four matches and conceded just four in that period.

Victory has midfielder Ella Mastrantonio available again following suspension, while centre-back Samantha Johnson will miss after picking up a fourth yellow card against Perth.

Head coach Jeff Hopkins’ pre-match thoughts

on how the squad has recovered…
“The bodies are a little bit tired from the journey and from the game, but everyone looks OK. We were a little bit cautious with Dani (Weatherholt) the other night, she seems to have pulled up OK. We’ll have a think about our selection of our squad to go over there for Tuesday, obviously with one eye on the Sunday game as well. We need to make a decision on one or two players.”

on squad for trip…
“We’ll have to bring someone in for Sam so, it’s an opportunity for one or two of the players. What we’ll do is give one or two of the players that have been training so hard, been so patient. Most probably the hardest place to be when the team is doing well and is up the top of the league is in one of those either substitute or squad players that are training and playing really well at training and can’t quite break into the side so there might be a few opportunities for one or two players there as we look towards the weekend. We’ll be able to take a strong and very competitive side there for the game on Tuesday.”

on refocusing after the Premiership success…
“We enjoyed Friday night, it was great. It was great to see the players on the field having a bit of fun and enjoying it, in the change rooms afterwards and back at the hotel. But once we got back to the hotel, we got the whole group together and we congratulated ourselves for that, but we talked about what comes next and if we want to take this further, the focus has got to be on next week now and credit to the girls, they were up bright and early in the pool doing their mobility work, had a good breakfast and again looked after themselves on the way back. They’re in football mode again and all eyes on Canberra in the short-term and next week, they’re all excited about getting Canberra out of the way and looking forward to the final against Perth.”

Last time

Westfield W-League 2017/18 Round 1
Melbourne Victory 2-1 Canberra United
Saturday, October 28, 2017
Epping Stadium, Melbourne

Victory and Canberra last met at the beginning of the 2017/18 season.

After Kristen McNabb’s opener was cancelled out by Michelle Heyman, Dowie scored a 63rd-minute winner for Victory.

As it stands

Match details

Canberra United v Melbourne Victory
McKellar Park, Canberra
Tuesday, February 5, 2019
Kick-off: 6.00pm AEDT