Striker and Melbourne Victory Women’s captain Natasha Dowie explained how much Victory’s Premiership win meant to her, ahead of Victory’s semi-final against Perth Glory Women, which will be played at AAMI Park, on 10th February.

The Englishwoman previously spent three seasons at Victory, picking up two wooden spoons and only a 7th place finish last year. But in her fourth season, she finally won her’s and the club’s first premiership.

“It’s been a slow process but we finally got there, and as the captain of the club it’s such an honour,” Dowie spoke to the media scrum at the pre-match press conference.

“This group of girls, it’s the best group of girls I’ve had the pleasure of being involved with, together with the coaching stuff and the club as a whole.

Natasha Dowie and head coach Jeff Hopkins posing with the W-League Premiers’ plate. Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

“I openly tell everyone how much I’ve fallen in love with the club and how it’s definitely somewhere that I see my future. To have won the league with this group of players … is definitely one of the biggest moments of my career.”

Before making the switch to Victory, Dowie played at the highest levels of football in England, most notably winning back to back titles in the Football Association Women’s Super League (FA WSL) with the Liverpool Ladies twice, in 2013 and 2014.

“This (Victory’s premiership) probably tops out with Liverpool, a club that I support … but Victory is my club now and this feels like home to me so it’s definitely very special,” the 30 year old said.

Hopkins pinpoints threat ahead of Perth showdown

Twice this season (round nine and round 14), the Victory women’s defeated Perth Glory women by a similar scoreline, 2-1. However, head coach Jeff Hopkins is aware of the dangers that Perth poses.

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“(Sam) Kerr and Rachel Hill combine really well together, they’re always a threat so you can never relax,” Hopkins said.

“We’ll make sure we limit the amount of times the ball gets to Sam, but we’ll be mostly concentrating on ourselves.

“We know that we got players in our team that can help perfect certain areas of the field, and that’s going to be the main focus.”

One down, one to go? Image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

With big names like Christine Nairn, Dowie, and Emily Gielnik rested during the draw with Canberra United Women last weekend (5th Feb), Hopkins explains that the training workload on the players were eased, as the squad were ready for a “physical game” this weekend.

“This weekend is a big job for (Laura) Alleway and (Samantha) Johnson, but luckily both of them are nice and rested for the big weekend so there should be a couple of big matchups,” Hopkins said.

Feature image credit: Ngau Kai Yan

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Journalism undergrad at Monash University, Kai is a multimedia journalist covering Melbourne Victory. Manchester United and Borussia Dortmund. Once "stole" Shinji Kagawa's plane ticket.