Women set to shine

Melbourne Victory might be enjoying this weekend off courtesy of the re-scheduled match against Adelaide United but for Victory's women's team this weekend is their moment in the sun.

Melbourne Victory might be enjoying this weekend off courtesy of the re-scheduled match against Adelaide United but for Victory's women's team this weekend is their moment in the sun.

The Victory women, who have performed superbly in their debut season to be sitting in second place on the W-League ladder after seven rounds, take on league leaders Queensland Roar at Bob Jane Stadium on Saturday afternoon in a match that will be televised live on ABC television.

The home side, which trails Queensland by six points on the ladder with just three rounds remaining, needs to avoid losing to prevent the Roar from claiming the minor championship with the finals to get underway in January.

Melbourne Victory women's team coach Matt Shepherd said his players were looking forward to the biggest match of the season so far.

"The girls are all very excited," he told www.melbournevictory.com.au when asked about Saturday's blockbuster.

"It has been a fair effort so far but what I am trying to reinforce to them is we have still three rounds to go."

"It (preventing Queensland from claiming top spot) is a motivating factor and the girls want to keep them in striking distance."

"We finish our league on December 27 and then the top four teams play off over two weekends in early January and we want to make sure we finish at least second so we can get home advantage (in the first week of the finals) if we get there."

Shepherd says the standard of the W-League is improving quickly and he believes the league has a great future.

"The standard of the competition has been good," he said.

"It's been improving every week because every team was underdone going in and only had a few weeks to throw their squad together."

"So we have found our performance has been going up each week but then everyone else's has as well."

Amongst the stars for the Victory women in season one have been goalkeeper Melissa Barbieri, skipper Tal Karp, attacking midfielder Selin Kuralay and exciting teenagers Enza Barilla, Ursula Hughson and Stephanie Tanti.

Shepherd says the live television coverage each week on the ABC has helped the league grow in popularity but admits it would be great to have more games staged as curtain-raisers to the A-League games with only Melbourne's first game this season - a 2-0 win over Central Coast on October 25 - having so far been played as a curtain-raiser to the Victory men.