Wintry welcome after marathon journey for Melbourne Victory

Melbourne Victory has arrived in the chilly New Zealand resort town of Queenstown after a marathon journey that included inopportune delays, a diverted flight and an unexpected four-hour bus trip.

Melbourne Victory has arrived in the chilly New Zealand resort town of Queenstown after a marathon journey that included inopportune delays, a diverted flight and an unexpected four-hour bus trip.

With the mercury in the tourist mecca hovering around zero degrees, Melbourne Victory will face Wellington Phoenix in a friendly to launch Queenstown-s famous Winter Festival on Saturday (kick off 2.30pm local, 12.30pm AEST).

Melbourne Victory was due to depart Melbourne at 5.50pm on Thursday, with an overnight stopover in Christchurch before boarding a 8.30am service to Queenstown on Friday, however delays on both flights and adverse weather conditions saw the team reach its final destination nearly eight hours behind schedule.

“Our first flight from Melbourne to Christchurch was delayed, so instead of arriving at 11pm, we landed at 4.30am,” Melbourne Victory Football Operations Manager Gary Cole said.

“Three hours later we were back at the airport for our flight to Queenstown, however that was also delayed a couple of hours.

“Once in the air, we ended up circling Queenstown for about an hour, but couldn-t land because of the weather conditions.

“So we were forced to go Dunedin, where we boarded a bus and made the four-hour journey to Queenstown.

“It-s been an adventure to say the least.”

That adventure could continue on Saturday if snow falls on Queenstown-s picturesque stadium over the next 24 hours, with the option to postpone the match to Sunday still available.

Melbourne Victory has sent a strong squad abroad, including Kevin Muscat, Archie Thompson, Danny Allsopp, Carlos Hernandez and Rodrigo Vargas, with Melbourne Victory Youth players Matthew Foschini and Sebastian Mattei promoted to the travelling party.

The friendly will see Melbourne Victory debut its new alternative Reebok kit, which features a predominately white design with a navy V and trim.

Wellington Phoenix v Melbourne Victory Saturday, June 27, 2.30pm local, 12.30pm AEST Queenstown Events Centre, Queenstown, New Zealand

Melbourne Victory: 1.Mitchell LANGERAK (gk), 2.Kevin MUSCAT (Captain), 6.Leigh BROXHAM, 7.Matthew KEMP, 8.Grant BREBNER, 9.Danny ALLSOPP, 10.Archie THOMPSON, 12.Rodrigo VARGAS, 15.Tom PONDELJAK, 16.Carlos HERNANDEZ, 17.Matthew FOSCHINI (Youth), 18.Mathew THEODORE, 19.Evan BERGER, 22.Nick WARD, 30.Sebastian MATTEI (gk) (Youth)

Unavailable: 4.Steven PACE, 5.Surat SUKHA, 11.NEY FABIANO, 13.Nathan ELASI, 14.Billy CELESKI, 20.Glen MOSS (gk), 21.Daniel VASILEVSKI

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