No team can boast about acute success quite like Melbourne City can in the W-League, having won two championships in two years of existence and setting the league record for an undefeated streak with their first attempt.

So much success in such a short time would seem like a burden for a new, young manager taking the reigns to bear but coach Patrick Kisnorbo is taking it all in his stride.

In his first ever head coaching role Kisnorbo is keeping things simple and low-key as he eases his way into the managerial world after stints as the youth team and women’s team assistant.

The former Socceroo who compiled a long career in England, including captaining Leeds United, said he’s simply looking to adapt to a W-League environment which can at times be tricky to navigate.

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When a sizeable handful of Melbourne City’s players compete in the USA’s National Women’s Soccer League, Kisnorbo admits “it’s difficult” to link up with his squad so late as the end of the NWSL season is nearly flush mounted to the start of the W-League.

“I was with the Under-20s and going into this sort of role the preparation is a bit different. You get players later than normal but you’ve just go to adapt,” Kisnrobo said.

“As a young coach that’s enthusiastic and always wants to learn, these are the challenges that you face but you adapt to it and you learn.

“You’ve got to be patient, which sometimes isn’t my strongest point. I kept regular contact with [the players] explaining what we want to do this year as a group and as a club and what I expect of them.”

Kisnorbo and his company at Melbourne City want to keep the momentum going into the team’s third season in what’s turning out be one of the most successful years to date for Australian women’s football.

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City began the season with a heavy 4-1 loss away to Perth with Matilda’s striker Sam Kerr hitting the board after only three minutes, but City bounced back last Friday’s derby against Melbourne Victory to pinch a 1-0 win.

Kiwi fullback Rebekah Stott knocked home the winner with an intelligently timed run to the back post, latching onto Rhali Dobson’s cross from the right flank in the 82nd minute.

City nearly treated the AAMI Park fans to a spectacular second goal when Jess Fishlock danced around her opponent and unleashed a monstrous shot on target, only for Victory keeper Casey Dumont to fingertip it onto the woodwork and away.

Two games into his infant head coaching career and Kisnorbo is already nailing down the lingo of a manager but more importantly is getting the results he wanted to see.

“I was pleased with the performance. We showed some great resilience at the end, we showed great possession football, had a few chances but again I’m just happy for the performance,” Kisnorbo said.

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“Sometimes you can keep possession with no purpose. With me, you try to keep possession with a purpose.

“They sat back a bit so it allowed us more time on the ball, a bit more space. It was what we did with the ball that I was pleased about more than obviously just keeping the ball just to keep it.

“Our positioning was great. They had a threat in [Natasha] Dowie which I knew. I thought we dealt with that really good, our defensive line was great. It was just trying to improve and working on the training pitch which we did.”

An intense final ten minutes rounded off an otherwise deadlocked game where City dominated possession as the Victory sat back.

City’s big names in Fishlock and Yukari Kinga exhibited superiority in midfield with Amy Jackson alongside supporting, while Kyah Simon imposed herself physically in the final third.

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“The ‘keeper [Casey Dumont] pulled off a great save with Jess, a great save with Kinga, any other day they go in. It’s the performance more than the result for us – for me, anyway,” Kisnorbo said.

“The result came, but the performance was outstanding.”

Melbourne City face the Newcastle Jets at 4.30pm next Sunday in another AAMI Park double-header with the men’s team to face Western Sydney immediately after.

 

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Football and Aussie rules commentator, writer and radio host/producer from Melbourne.