NPL preview: Victory v Ballarat

Melbourne Victory begins its NPL2 West campaign at home to Ballarat City on Sunday.

Summary

Victory kicks off its season just over three weeks after finishing its Foxtel Y-League campaign.

It is again in the NPL2 West for 2019 and welcomes Ballarat to Epping Stadium for its opener.

Victory finished fifth in Conference A during the Foxtel Y-League season, while it ended up seventh in the NPL2 West in 2018.

Yazid Said, 19, was Victory's leading goalscorer during the Y-League campaign, netting four times in eight games.

Victory faces a far different test in the NPL, with the squad of mostly teenagers often challenged physically.

It last met Ballarat in July last year, recording a 3-0 win at Epping Stadium.

Head coach Gareth Naven's pre-match thoughts

"Similar challenges to last year's competition – highly competitive, physical environment for our players to play a different way in a different competition against older, bigger bodies compared to the Y-League. Probably technically and tactically it presents different challenges. Our boys are looking forward to getting back on track in regards to the training week and more importantly playing a match on the weekend, which every player looks forward to so looking forward to Round 1 against Ballarat."

This week

NPL2 West 2019 Round 1
Melbourne Victory v Ballarat City
Sunday, February 17, 3.00pm AEDT
Epping Stadium, Melbourne

U20 NPL2 West 2019 Round 1
Melbourne Victory v Ballarat City
Sunday, February 17, 12.30pm AEDT
Epping Stadium, Melbourne