A remarkable turnaround from Melbourne Victory saw them clinch their fourth championship in a gritty grand final performance.

This Season

A-League
Regular season –  4th (12 wins, 5 draws, 10 losses)
Finals – Grand final win against Newcastle Jets

FFA Cup
Defeated by Adelaide United in the Round of 16

Top scorer
Besart Berisha – 14

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Season Summary

It’s hard to believe that Victory were once in disarray, but an improved second half of the season has definitely made up for a slow opening two months.

After eight rounds Victory managed only a solitary win with four draws and three losses that contributed to the frustrating start. A terrible record at Etihad Stadium had the fans up in arms about the team’s form and question marks were raised over Kevin Muscat’s future.

However, the move from the Docklands to AAMI Park for home games was the turning point. From round 12 only Sydney FC and Brisbane Roar could come away with all three points against Victory at AAMI Park which contributed heavily towards their rise up the table.

They worked hard for fourth spot and got to the grand final by the barest of margins. Besart Berisha’s bicycle kick in the elimination final against the Reds got Victory into the semi-final where Terry Antonis went from villain to hero with his extra time winner over the Sky Blues.

The heroics and courage of Lawrence Thomas in the grand final ensured that Victory capped off their huge change in momentum during the season by defeating Newcastle in the decider.

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Areas of excellence

When Victory’s wingers are at their best they are a scintillating combination who serve as the barometers for the team’s attack.

Kosta Barabrouses has the pace to burn off most, if not all defenders in the league and works really hard out wide to put balls in the box for someone like Berisha to attack.

Victory’s downfall in the early part of the season was the lack of international marquees like Barbarouses who was solely missed as he was called up for New Zealand to try and qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Leroy George is all about the flair and provided constant x-factor whenever he was out on the pitch. His set-piece deliveries made Victory an ominous threat for defending teams inside the box and is arguably the best free-kick taker in the league.

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Areas in need of improvement

It’s hard to pick out weaknesses from a championship team, but Victory have been searching for the right balance in midfield with Mark Milligan the key departure from the club mid-season.

Captain Carl Valeri resembles the defensive midfield type so a creative player alongside him could help feed an impressive Victory attack even more.

They’ve recruited Terry Antonis to help in that department and for Victory’s sake they’d hope he can stay for the long haul and build a consistent midfield combination for the future.

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Top student

Leroy George is a star and undoubtedly the main man of Victory this season. He tied in second place with Dimitri Petratos to trail Adrian Mierzejewski as the 2018 Johnny Warren Medallist.

George led the competition for assists this campaign and whether it be from set-pieces or clinical through balls he was continuously involved in Victory’s chance creation.

The Dutchman did need time in the early stages of the season to build his match fitness but even when he wasn’t 100 per cent, he showed what he’s all about straight away.

He’s got plenty of tricks up his sleeve which makes him one of the finest performers in the league and always made Victory’s attacking play tick through reliable output. He’s quickly turned himself into a fan-favourite as the main man for his club.

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Class clown

Dino Djulbic had a pretty short spell at Victory as one of two injury replacement players along with Antonis.

While Djulbic played his role to help as short-term cover, he couldn’t secure himself a contract extension and added to the trend of players moving to another A-League club.

He was released less than a month after he joined Victory and now plays for Perth Glory where he was signed by them for the third time.

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Grade: A+

Outlook

A-League teams are allowed five players in their squad from outside Australia, but Victory only have four at their disposal.

It’ll be interesting to see whether they can or will be able to land a big name from overseas with the extra visa spot currently available. If they could bolster their squad further they’ll definitely be up there as a premiership contender once again for 2018/19.

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Liam Watson is covering Melbourne Victory this season while completing Media and Communications at La Trobe University.