W-League preview: Victory v Canberra

Melbourne Victory kicks off its Westfield W-League campaign with a clash against Canberra United at Epping Stadium on Saturday.

With Australia international Laura Alleway back for a second stint at the club and Natasha Dowie also returning – the star forward named captain – Victory has assembled a strong squad ahead of its season opener.

Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins said it was crucial for his side to make a positive start to the campaign.

"It's always important to start the season off on a positive, get a little bit of momentum going," he said.

"But even more so with the season being so short, you get yourself off to a bad start and you're really chasing things.

"We've got a tough start, obviously Canberra, then City and Perth – who were the top three sides from last season.

"But it also should give us a bit of a challenge and a real motivator to make sure we're at our best right from the start."

Victory will be without full-back Annabel Martin and forward Melina Ayres, who are away with the Westfield Young Matildas.

New signing, South Korea international Jeon Ga-eul, will also miss the season opener for Victory.

Victory is without a Round 1 win in the Westfield W-League since the 2011-12 season.

It suffered two losses to Canberra last season, edged in Melbourne before going down in the final round away from home.

Victory members receive free entry to all Westfield W-League home games this season. For non-members, tickets are $10 for adults, $5 for concession and $5 for juniors, with kids under three free.

Westfield W-League 2017/18 Round 1
Melbourne Victory v Canberra United
Saturday, October 28, 4.30pm AEDT
Epping Stadium, Melbourne

Melbourne Victory squad: 1.Casey DUMONT (gk), 2.Whitney KNIGHT, 3.ALEX GUMMER, 5.Laura ALLEWAY, 8.Angela BEARD, 9.Natasha DOWIE, 10.Kyra COONEY-CROSS, 11.MelindaJ BARBIERI, 13.Laura SPIRANOVIC, 16.Lia PRIVITELLI, 17.Gulcan KOCA, 18.Tiffany ELIADIS, 19.Kristen MCNABB, 20.Bethany MASON-JONES (gk), 31.Christina GIBBONS

Unavailable: 6.Annabel MARTIN (international duty) 14.Melina Ayres (international duty) 7.JEON Ga Eul (awaiting clearance)