W-League preview: Victory v Wanderers

Lisa De Vanna

Melbourne Victory is aiming to continue its unbeaten run in the Westfield W-League when it hosts the Western Sydney Wanderers on Thursday.


Victory extended its unbeaten streak to four games with Sunday’s 1-1 draw against Canberra United.

Angela Beard scored her first goal for the club in the first half, but it was cancelled out by Nikki Flannery as Victory’s three-match winning streak was ended.

It has a short turnaround as it prepares to host the Wanderers at AAMI Park on Thursday. The game was moved from Lakeside Stadium due to the playing surface and will be played behind closed doors.

Victory was held by Canberra as Amy Jackson made a club-record 67th appearance.

It was below its best during what was a relatively even contest, although it did have the better chances throughout.

Catherine Zimmerman, who has scored a team-high four goals this season, was substituted in the first half of the encounter due to an Achilles injury.

Victory has only lost one of its previous 12 Westfield W-League meetings with the Wanderers.

Head coach Jeff Hopkins’ pre-match thoughts

on preparation…
“We came in yesterday (Monday), did recovery at AAMI Park and today was very, very light. We had a good review of the game, just went over a few things that will definitely help us for Thursday’s game in terms of our pressure, just a few little fixes from the weekend and the girls had an opportunity to bear what they were thinking as well. We had a really good meeting and ended up really positive and I think we only trained for about 40 minutes or so, the main group that played big minutes on the weekend, just got their legs ticking over, got a touch of the balls and we’ll have one session tomorrow and we’ll be raring to go. Looking forward to the game, I think although we did okay on the weekend, I think we could’ve done so much better, although the point was okay for us, we’re ready to go and we’re ready to put in a really good performance on Thursday and I’m confident we will.”

on main areas…
“Just around our pressure and how we dealt with them bringing a spare player into the midfield and we didn’t quite deal with it that well, as a team and most probably we should’ve probably given a bit more information off the bench and then that affected our pressure and I think our pressure is really important, it kind of drives everything we do so it kind of came from there. As a group we were just a little bit flat, just lacked a little bit of energy. It’s hard to put your finger on it or why it happened because it kind of came out of the blue, but I think we’ve recognised it and it’s good that the game has come around this quickly so we can just get out there and put a few things that we didn’t do well the other day and put that right. There were one or two key things that kind of drives the way that we play and just by altering that a little bit … I thought at times we played some really good football at the weekend, but there’s just one little ingredient missing and I think we add that to the mix and we’re not far off being a very, very good team.”

on Zimmerman…
“It’s been quite good news. We’re not sure if she’ll be ready for Thursday, but it’s not going to be a long-term thing. We’ll see what she’s like tomorrow and it all depends on how it feels tomorrow. She will be okay to play, but it might just be a little bit too early for her and thinking long-term it might be better just to let it settle down a little bit before we start pushing it. It’s something that most probably she could play with, if it was a Grand Final she most probably could play with it, but do we want to risk her? Most probably not, but we’ll give her a chance tomorrow. If she can train and she can train well on it, because it’s something that’s not going to get worse and affect her by training on it and playing, it’s going to be pretty painful so it might be worth settling it down first before we start pushing into that sort of realm.”

Last time

Westfield W-League 2019/20 Round 4
Melbourne Victory 1-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Latrobe City Stadium, Morwell

Victory and the Wanderers last met in Morwell in late 2019.

Haley Hanson opened the scoring early on before Lynn Williams levelled for Western Sydney in the second half.

As it stands

Match details

Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
AAMI Park, Melbourne
Thursday, March 4, 2021
Kick-off: 7.05pm AEDT