W-League preview: Victory v Jets


Melbourne Victory returns to Westfield W-League action with a crucial clash against the Newcastle Jets at AAMI Park on Friday.

Victory was last in action on December 9, when it crushed Adelaide United 4-0 in a much-needed win in Round 7.

It was a boost to Victory’s finals chances, sitting seventh and five points adrift of fourth-placed Sydney FC but with a game in hand.

Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins said his team knew just important its clash against the Jets was.

“It’s a key game for us,” he said.

“We kept ourselves in the picture with a win last time out, but we understand we’ve got to keep winning now, we need to maybe stick two or three wins on the spin.

“We look at Newcastle being above us, it’s a great opportunity to claw back on them, we’ve got a game in hand and 10 points (with a win) puts us on the same points as City which is quite significant really.”

Natasha Dowie scored a brace against Adelaide to become Victory’s all-time leading goalscorer outright with 16 in 25 games.

Natasha Dowie

But Lia Privitelli and Jeon Ga-eul netted their first Westfield W-League goals in a boost to Victory, which has been searching for other attacking outlets.

“It was one of the things we recognised last year that we couldn’t put everything on Tash,” Hopkins said.

“One reason being is it sometimes just puts too much pressure on one player but also if we’re scoring from a number of different outlets, it makes it a lot more difficult for teams to close us down.

“If we’ve got one outlet to goal and that’s Tash, it’s quite simple, they double up on her and stop her from playing and stop her from winning the game, but it’s definitely something we wanted to do this season and it’s starting to happen a little bit more now.

“Lia had a great game, not only did she score, but she created a lot of havoc down that side and Jeon now is starting to really come into her own, she’s a quality player and she can really make things happen.

“We’ve done a lot of work with Kyra (Cooney-Cross) while we’ve had her for the last few weeks, she’s finished school now so she’s been at most of the sessions. It might be that we might see Kyra return in some form, either off the bench or maybe a starting position. She’s looking confident as well.

“When you’ve got a number of different attacking outlets, it makes it much harder for the opposition to be able to close you down.”

The Jets are third on the table, two points behind league leaders Brisbane Roar.

Victory members receive free entry to all Westfield W-League home games this season. For non-members, tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for concession and $5 for juniors, with kids under three free.

Westfield W-League 2017/18 Round 9
Melbourne Victory v Newcastle Jets
Friday, December 29, 5.20pm AEDT
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Live on Fox Sports 501