Natasha Dowie is set to play her 50th game for Melbourne Victory in a Westfield W-League Derby clash against City on Thursday.
Dowie, Victory’s all-time leading goalscorer, will become the sixth player to reach the milestone for the club if she features at ABD Stadium in Broadmeadows.
The forward has played 47 Westfield W-League games for Victory, scoring 28 goals, while featuring twice at this year’s AFC Women’s Club Championship.
Dowie is set to join Gulcan Koca (66), Enza Barilla (65), Steph Catley (65), Maika Ruyter-Hooley (58) and team-mate Amy Jackson (53) in reaching 50 games for Victory.
Victory is unbeaten in its past two league matches after playing out an entertaining 1-1 draw with the Western Sydney Wanderers last time out.
It held on for a draw against the Wanderers after midfielder Haley Hanson scored her first goal for the club.
Hanson helped Victory capitalise on a fast start in Morwell and while it also hit the crossbar twice, it was pushed hard by the Wanderers.
Victory has won the past three Derby clashes, including keeping clean sheets in both matches against City last season.
Head coach Jeff Hopkins’ pre-match thoughts
on building on recent Westfield W-League games…
“I think both games we saw positives to come out of them. The way we played away at Brisbane was outstanding and most probably the way we started the first half against Western Sydney and the way we stuck together in the latter stages of the game was really encouraging as well. It’s something to build on going into the Derby this week.”
on fast starts…
“Start of the game is really important for us obviously and we have a real focus on starting games well. We need to now take those good starts and extend them further into the game so now we try to be as positive as we can be in those first 15-20 minutes and in both those games we had positive starts and grabbed ourselves a goal early on as well so hopefully we can maintain that and maybe just maintain momentum a little bit further into the game as well.”
on good recent Derby record…
“I think it definitely means something to us. In the past we’ve built the games up and built them up to be big games. I think we understand it means something to us, it means something to the club and a lot to the supporters as well so it’s a big game, it’s a big day and it won’t be any different for us this week.”
on Dowie’s 50th Victory game…
“Tash has been amazing for us since she arrived here. She’s a goal every couple of games over that period of time and she’s something really special and our improvement over the last four years since she’s been here obviously had a lot to do with her and her goals as well and the influence she has over other players as well. Obviously for her it’s just another game, but we follow up from Amy Jackson’s (50th Westfield W-League game for Victory) last week. It’s nice to have another milestone for the player.”
Westfield W-League 2018/19 Round 10
Melbourne Victory 1-0 City
Saturday, January 5, 2019
Epping Stadium, Melbourne
A moment of magic from Christine Nairn settled the second Derby of last season.
The midfielder curled in a corner for the 88th-minute winner at Epping Stadium.
As it stands
City v Melbourne Victory
ABD Stadium, Broadmeadows
Thursday, December 12, 2019
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT