Melbourne Victory captain Natasha Dowie says she’s enjoying the new responsibility and is excited to build her leadership skills in a developing squad.

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Dowie has returned to Melbourne Victory for a third successive season on loan from Boston Breakers. The 29-year-old has a crucial role to play in the W-League this season leading a young squad as one of the more experienced players in Victory’s line up.

She is more than happy to step up and become skipper for the first time in her career.

“I was over the moon and honoured when Jeff gave me the captain’s armband especially because of how much I love the club and how passionate I am,” she said.

“It’s definitely going to be an exciting challenge, I was vice-captain at Boston Breakers in their season just gone but I’ve never had the main role of being captain.”

Victory’s emerging talent will look to feed off Dowie’s enthusiasm and dedication to the game.

“I just want to try be the same person I always am trying to lead by example on and off the pitch, I’ll always give 100 per cent and that’s why Jeff picked me as captain.”

“There’s a little more responsibility now with the extra bit helping the younger ones, because we’ve got some great kids coming through and some young Matildas who are going to be superstars in the future.”

“That’s where I can help them with my experience by how long I’ve been playing the game at the levels I’ve been at.”

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With some fellow teammates forming a key leadership group she knows that there’s great support behind her.

“I’ve got leaders and captains on the pitch who will make my life a lot easier such as Laura Alleway who’s a senior Matildas player that’s been there and won everything, plus the international players like Christina Gibbons and Kristen McNabb and even Casey Dumont in goal,” she said.

“I’ve got plenty of experience on the pitch with me which is exciting for Victory and something we haven’t had for the last couple of years.”

Dowie is delighted that she will return to work with head coach Jeff Hopkins for the third season in a row.

“Jeff’s one of the nicest guys I’ve ever met, a top coach and he was a big factor for why I wanted to come back to Victory,” she said.

“I had offers from other clubs but to be honest Victory’s always in my heart and Jeff is such a terrific guy who really had faith in me last year, that’s why I flourished under him.”

“He’s played the game, he’s played in a premiership and represented his country so he’s someone I really respect because he knows his stuff.”

“For me it’s a great opportunity to learn from someone like that to develop my game even more and can’t wait to have another good season with him and hopefully we’re more successful as a team compared to last year.”

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Dowie’s respect for Hopkins is evident as they have regularly been in touch while she has been in America.

“We were in talks all year throughout my season at Boston, he kept me updated with players he was thinking of bringing in to strengthen the squad to help us really compete this year,” she said.

“He never once really mentioned the leadership role to me and I never really thought of it either but I think he says it’s the character that I am.”

“I’m always first to training, always last off the pitch and always try do things as professionally as I can and I live and breathe football.”

“I’m such a winner I hate losing and I think that’s infectious, if I can try lead by example in that way we’ve got a great bunch of girls this season so I don’t think it’ll be hard work getting them to follow me, they’ve already started.”

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Despite not expecting the captaincy call up, Dowie will give her full commitment to the role.

“I was surprised by the captaincy because I knew Hopkins signed Laura Alleway who won the league with City and that’s someone who the young kids will look up to,” she said.

“But Jeff said the amount of respect I have from all the players here at the club from what I did last year made it an easy choice for him and that was really pleasing for me.”

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