Victory formation a moving target

Melbourne has been roundly praised for the attacking formation it took into last Friday's 2-0 win over Adelaide but Grant Brebner, Tom Pondeljak and Matthew Kemp agree that the structure is unlikely to be set in stone for the long term and the more flexible the approach, the more dangerous it makes the defending champion.

Melbourne has been roundly praised for the attacking formation it took into last Friday's 2-0 win over Adelaide but Grant Brebner, Tom Pondeljak and Matthew Kemp agree that the structure is unlikely to be set in stone for the long term and the more flexible the approach, the more dangerous it makes the defending champion.

Ernie Merrick surprised a few people by deploying Nick Ward and Pondeljak in more attacking roles alongside Archie Thompson against Adelaide in what appeared a 3-4-3 formation. It worked wonders, with Melbourne playing some of its best football of the season and getting an all-important result.

But Brebner, who came on as a second-half substitute in that game, said it wasn't a case of a change of structure, but a change of approach to the structure to be more flexible from week to week.

"It's probably a bit horses for courses. I'm sure we'll evaluate week in, week out, and pick a structure accordingly," the experienced Scotsman said.

Pondeljak, who thoroughly enjoyed his more advance role, said that the departure of Danny Allsopp and the season-ending knee injury to Billy Celeski had forced a re-evaluation of how the team lined up.

"I think Ernie assessed what we had in the squad. With Danny leaving, we had to change things. We tried that, it worked well against Adelaide, whether we stick with that sort of thing throughout the year, I don't know. It worked really well last week," he said.

"We probably caught them by surprise a little bit. They probably didn't expect it. It worked well for us last week, I don't know what's coming up this week, but we'll see."

Pondeljak said that it was important to experiment with different set-ups during the season in order to prepare the side for any eventualities.

"We've got Ney Fabiano on the bench, who is more of a target man. He obviously might come into the picture. We've got a good variety, and I think it's a good thing, because come finals time if you do start to miss a few key players, the group is ready for a reshuffle and I think it's good that it's happened now."

Defender Kemp found himself in a slightly different role as well last weekend. With three central defenders on the park, he and Surat Sukha were pushed a little wider and were afforded more opportunities to get forward.

"I think it worked quite well. I think Surat's playing well out on the right. I'm happy where I'm at at the moment and we've got a little bit more freedom and extra support behind us. It gives us the opportunity to get forward a bit more," Kemp said.

"I think what we did on the weekend and the formations we went out with, worked well. Hopefully we can continue to work on that and keep improving," he said.

Kemp endorsed the changes at the attacking end of the ground as well and said the more flexible Victory was, the more dangerous it became.

"It's good to have that sort of movement up front. It's going to cause problems for defences. As a defender, I know that when you've got mobile strikers like that ducking in and out, it's very hard," he said.

"We change a few things here and there. Some teams think they know what they are going to get from us. Having the flexibility to do that, we might surprise a couple of teams and catch them off guard."