Elasi keeps the pressure on

Senior Melbourne strike pair Danny Allsopp and Archie Thompson may be in fine form at the moment but that hasn't deterred understudy Nathan Elasi who netted a hat-trick for Victory's National Youth League team on the weekend.

Senior Melbourne strike pair Danny Allsopp and Archie Thompson may be in fine form at the moment but that hasn't deterred understudy Nathan Elasi who netted a hat-trick for Victory's National Youth League team on the weekend.

Elasi has had a hard time pressing his case for a spot in the Victory's first XI with national duties taking him out from under coach Ernie Merrick's eye for a large part of the season.

As a result the 19-year-old has only played a handful of games in the Youth League culminating in his star turn in Sunday's 3-1 win over Sydney FC at Epping.

"It's my job as a striker to score goals and three times, that's great. A lot of credit to the boys, they worked hard and gave me the chances," Elasi said on Tuesday.

"It's been a bumpy start to the season for the Youth League. We stuck to our game plan on the weekend. We spoke about it at half time and we came out and did that and shows that if you stick to your game plan, the results come."

While the Youth League is where Elasi is playing at the moment, he has his eyes on the senior team. He has relished mixing it with his senior team-mates at training over the past month.

"We've spent a lot of time, Seb (Ryall) and I with the Under 20s squad. It's been great getting back, playing with Archie and that. It's been hard to break in. I have to train hard and have myself ready for my chance when it comes," Elasi said.

And while he is eying their position in the team, Elasi paid tribute to the influence of Thompson and Allsopp in his career development.

"Since I got here, Dan and Archie have been awesome to me. They have been role models. Every single day, I'm learning things off them. I'm very happy here amongst them," he said.

Elasi is a big fan of the National Youth League format and said its success is in that it not only features the best young talent, but it gives borderline senior players, or those coming back from injuries, vital game time.

"It's good for the senior boys, who don't get A-League games week in, week out, to get opportunity for game time. It's not 'dropping down' really, it's still a good standard of football. We get our fitness up and if we play well we can put pressure on the guys in the A-League," he said.

"I've been very surprised in the standard of football, it's a strong standard. You have to be on your game."

While Victory's youth league team won just one of its first 11 games, Elasi said the group is starting to gel having put together successive victories over Newcastle and Sydney in the past fortnight.

"We've won a couple on the trot know and the feeling in the sheds now is much better than it has been. If we stick to our game plan, then the results will continue to come," he said.

Melbourne hosts Queensland at Epping Soccer Stadium this Saturday, with kick-off at 5pm.