W-League preview: Victory v Wanderers

Melbourne Victory takes the Westfield W-League to Morwell as it seeks to continue its unbeaten start to the season against the Western Sydney Wanderers.

Summary

Victory is top of the table after winning three and drawing one of its opening four matches.

Its latest win was a thrilling 3-2 success over Sydney FC, with captain Natasha Dowie scoring a hat-trick.

Dowie now has four goals in as many games this season and a record 21 in 35 matches for Victory.

Victory takes its Round 5 home game against the Wanderers to Latrobe City Stadium in Morwell on Sunday.

Tickets available here

Christine Nairn provided her first assist of the season to set up Dowie's opener against the Sky Blues.

The midfielder has created a league-high 14 chances this campaign, proving a constant threat for Victory.

The host will be without Angela Beard after the left-back was sent off late in its win over Sydney, while midfielder Grace Maher made her return from injury.

Victory and the Wanderers, who are bottom of the table, played out two 1-1 draws last season.

Head coach Jeff Hopkins' pre-match thoughts

on staying focused…
"We got the girls back together straight away on Monday for a recovery session and obviously they were in very good spirits. On Tuesday night we did quite a tough session early in the week and they responded well. We've got our eyes on the game on the weekend. Again, we're expecting a very tough game. It's definitely a game we feel we can win, but we know looking at their side, there's a lot of experience in that side, a lot of good players in that side and potentially a lot of problems for us. We worked hard on Tuesday night and we've told them they need to come in really focused over the next few days to make sure that we've got our attitude right and that we're prepared tactically for this team."

on replacing Beard…
"Obviously with Teigen (Allen) coming in, Annabel (Martin) came onto the bench on the weekend and it was good to have a player like that on the bench to bring on in the game. We've obviously got the choice between bringing 'Bel' in, maybe moving Teigen, bringing 'Bel' into the left-back position and obviously we've got Alex Gummer as well. I'm happy enough that we can cover for Angie, although it'll be tough because she's been in great form this season already."

on Nairn's form…
"I've been so impressed with her. I know what she's like as a player, massive fan of hers, her ability just to see things but also to be able to create as well, with either foot. More than that, when you look at her on the weekend, her willingness to chase, to close down, to tackle, to put her head in, she's totally committed to the team and you add that to commitment to her undoubted ability, I guess we've just got to make sure we keep her fit and keep her going the same way because she's been well up there with our best so far this season."

Last time

Westfield W-League 2017/18 Round 12
Western Sydney Wanderers 1-1 Melbourne Victory
Friday, January 19, 2018
ANZ Stadium, Sydney

Victory and the Wanderers shared the spoils when they met earlier this year.

A spectacular strike from Dowie cancelled out Susan Phonsongkham's first-half opener.

Opta Widget: Last time

As it stands

Opta Widget: WWL table

Match details

Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
Latrobe City Stadium, Morwell
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Kick-off: 4.00pm AEDT