W-League preview: Victory v Wanderers

Melbourne Victory plays its first home game of the Westfield W-League season against the Western Sydney Wanderers on Saturday.

Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday, December 7
Latrobe City Sports Stadium
Gates open: 2pm
Kick-off: 4pm
Buy tickets, 2019/20 members free

A curtain-raiser between Gippsland Soccer League (GSL) and Latrobe Valley Soccer League (LVSL) will kick-off at 2:15pm.  

Victory Village opens at 2pm which includes Melbourne Victory inflatable activities and free face painting.

Can’t make it to the game? Watch on MyFootballApp or Kayo.

Summary

Victory returns to domestic action after competing at the AFC Women's Club Championship in South Korea.

It claimed just one point from its three games – holding Chinese champion Jiangsu Suning to a draw – in Yongin.

Grace Maher, 20, scored Victory's only goal at the tournament as a youthful squad held Jiangsu in a 1-1 draw.

Victory returns to Westfield W-League action with a clash against the Wanderers at Latrobe City Stadium in Morwell.

It recorded a thrilling 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar in its previous outing in a victory inspired by captain Natasha Dowie and goalkeeper Casey Dumont.

Dowie scored twice and Dumont saved a penalty in a fine performance that saw Victory earn three hard-fought points away from home.

Victory's all-time leading goalscorer, Dowie has now netted 28 times in 46 Westfield W-League appearances for the club.

Western Sydney sits second on the table after winning its opening three games of the season.

Head coach Jeff Hopkins' pre-match thoughts

on recovering from AFC Women's Club Championship…
"We got the players together yesterday (Tuesday) and did a recovery session, got the legs going and then we trained this morning, had a good, sharp session, did a bit of work on a few things that we saw in Korea, but also things that are relevant for the weekend as well. We had a good session this morning and I guess the real positive coming out of the games in Korea were that we got some good game minutes into a lot of people and came away without any real injuries as well so we've got just about a full squad to choose from so that's a real positive for us."

on learning from experience in South Korea…
"You've got to really put it into context as well (facing teams full of internationals). We're not going to get carried away one away or the other, in a positive or negative way, but definitely we sat down and had about a half an hour meeting yesterday, just things that we most probably can take out of the experience and things hopefully we can put in place to make us a better team, which is one of the goals of going over there."

on squad gelling…
"It's a big part of it. The club were really good, they allowed us to take extra players with us so we took the whole squad with us. I think that was very important that we didn't leave two or three players behind, we took them all even though they weren't able to play, they were able to be around the group and the team spirit and comradery was built over there and that was really important. Game minutes were important as well. We had three games to get minutes into Rosie Sutton, who had limited games in pre-season, Lia Privitelli, Emma Robers and we were even lucky enough to get some game time into Alana Jancevski and Paige Zois as well. Also, then looking at (Melissa) Maizels as well, it was her first game as well. Lots of positives in terms of game time."

on the Wanderers…
"They've recruited very well, they've started the season well and it's going to be a real test for us, but it's something the team are really looking forward to as well. I think we go back to the Brisbane game and we came out of that game feeling pretty positive with the performance and with the result and looking at the Brisbane game against Western Sydney, Brisbane caused them quite a few problems as well. We understand they're a good side, they're a strong, physical side, they transition very, very well, very quickly, but they're definitely a team we feel we can cause problems for as well so it's going to be a good challenge and we're looking forward to it."

Last time

Westfield W-League 2018/19 Round 5
Melbourne Victory 2-1 Western Sydney Wanderers
Sunday, December 2, 2018
Latrobe City Stadium, Morwell

Victory claimed a win over the Wanderers in Morwell last season.

Dowie and Christine Nairn scored first-half goals and Victory saw out its win despite Kylie Ledbrook's 73rd-minute strike.

Opta Widget: Last time

As it stands

Opta Widget: WWL table

Match details

Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
Latrobe City Stadium, Morwell
Saturday, December 7, 2019
Kick-off: 4.00pm AEDT