Melbourne Victory can seal a spot in the Westfield W-League Finals Series with a win over Perth Glory on Sunday.
Victory was due to play Sydney FC on Saturday, but the encounter was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch at Jubilee Stadium.
It returns to action with a clash against Perth at Epping Stadium as it aims to secure a top-four finish.
Victory stretched its unbeaten run to six games with a hard-fought 1-0 win over Perth at Dorrien Gardens on March 16.
Annalie Longo scored her second goal in as many games to earn the three points for Victory in Perth.
The midfielder tucked away a cutback from Kyra Cooney-Cross, who produced a brilliant run down the left to set up the game-winner.
Victory goalkeeper Gaby Garton was in good form against the Glory, making six saves to keep her sixth clean sheet this season.
Catherine Zimmerman could make her return from an Achilles injury against Perth after missing the past two games.
MelindaJ Barbieri is also in line for a milestone appearance, with the 20-year-old set to play her 50th Westfield W-League game.
Barbieri is set to become just the seventh player to reach 50 Westfield W-League appearances for Victory.
Head coach Jeff Hopkins’ pre-match thoughts
“It is difficult. From the coaching staff and the players, this week’s been unbelievable. We’ve prepared for Perth, we’ve prepared for Sydney, we’ve prepared for Perth again, the last few days we just didn’t know what we were preparing for. From our respective coaches it’s been difficult, but again it’s just as difficult, more difficult, for the players. They’ve been great. We’ve come in this morning (Wednesday) thinking we’re heading to Sydney and then be told we’re now playing Perth on the weekend. I guess you can tell the mood by how the training session has gone and the session was excellent. We had a good, fun session, but the players worked really hard and were really focused. I’m confident. I’m pretty confident I know the girls pretty well and the characters that we’ve got in the group, they’re not going to let their heads go down, they’re going to use any disappointment that they’ve got, they’re going to use that and focus that onto what they do out on the pitch and channel that if there’s a little bit of extra energy and a little bit of anger maybe that’ll all come out on the field in terms of a better performance. I’m happy and I’m confident that it’s not going to affect us negatively.”
on Zimmerman and fitness…
“I guess the bonus for us is that she’s trained the last two days and she’s just looked like the old Zimm. You could tell she was carrying something and was a little bit sore, but the last couple of days she’s been really sharp, she’s worked really hard, she’s had that sharpness in the way that she’s closed down and she’s cracked in four or five unbelievable goals in training. From one side of things, we’re disappointed that we didn’t play the game but now we’ll have a full squad to play with and to choose from for the next couple of games so that’s good.”
“She’s still a very young girl. To have got 50 games under her belt already and to have spent a year out with an injury last year just shows what a talent she is. I think she made her debut around 15 years of age and she’s kind of gone from strength to strength now. It’s good to see her after her injury last year getting back to similar form that she was in before she got the injury. I’m really pleased for her, it’s nice for us to celebrate a career milestone with her and hopefully we can make it a real successful day all-round with three points as well.”
Westfield W-League 2020/21 Round 9
Perth Glory 0-1 Melbourne Victory
Tuesday, March 16, 2021
Dorrien Gardens, Perth
Victory and Perth met last week.
Longo scored the winner in the second half following a great assist by Cooney-Cross.
As it stands
Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory
Epping Stadium, Melbourne
Sunday, March 28, 2021
Kick-off: 4.05pm AEDT