Melbourne Victory’s W-League defence is taking shape, with right-back Annabel Martin signing for her third season with the club.
The 18-year-old has been almost a permanent fixture in the team during her first two seasons, starting in 23 out of a possible 24 matches.
As Victory W-League head coach Jeff Hopkins explained, her performances last year offered a sneak peek into her make-up.
“She played most games last year, and most people didn’t know that she was struggling with injury.
“She was playing through pain and one of the things that tells me is that you can’t question her character. She really wants to play for this club and be successful for this club.”
Martin was restricted to more of a defensive role during the season, unable to physically provide some of what makes her a valuable player.
But to find a silver lining, her ability to defend against opposition wide players improved.
“Because she couldn’t train much during the week we had her playing as a more defensive full-back,” Hopkins said.
“It most definitely did improve her defensive instincts. It’s really important with full-backs, the ability to go one versus one.”
Now fit and looking forward to Round 1 only a month away, Martin is able to show her full set of skills.
“She loves to get forward, to get outside the winger when they come inside and overlap,” Hopkins said.
“I think we’re going to see a lot more of her in a more advanced role this season.”
With Martin on the right and Angela Beard on the left, Victory can provide a threat from either full-back.
“We’ve got the ability to go around the outside of our wingers and when we come inside, her and Angie can get past.
“They’ve both got great engines and can get back as well.”
Stay tuned to melbournevictory.com.au for further W-League signings