Melbourne Victory W-League 2019/20 season preview

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Melbourne Victory took home their first premier’s plate last season but will their semi-final defeat be the motivation needed to get them to the 2019/20 W-League grand final?

Last season…

W-League: 1st

Finals: Semi-final

Last season was by far one of the most rewarding and consistent for the club. Each week they proved they were contenders in the game, and every player at various stages stepped up when their club needed it.

Success is possible for Victory again this season. They just need the signings to make it happen.

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They’ll win the league because…

Proven consistency. Victory fell short in the semi-final against Perth Glory but demonstrated across the season dependability to deliver.

The club finished on 24 points for the season, beating previous records set of 23 points in 2012/13 and 2013/14.

Victory’s new-look squad last season presented reliability and the capacity to perform on match day. They were able to hold onto close games, with six of their seven wins only by one goal.

They’ll be cellar dwellers because…

Another new-look squad. None of the squad from last season have recommitted. Annabel Martin has parted ways with the club and is heading over to the Newcastle Jets.

The Julie Dolan, Victory Medallist and the club’s Player’s Player of the Season recipient Christine Nairn has spent the off-season at Houston Dash, America, with no news of signing again with the club.

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If Hopkins has spent the offseason in search of new players, there is no guarantee that they will perform so cohesively as the squad did last season.

There will be little pre-season together, little time to work together and find a style that will work for them.

The hope for the new squad is that veteran of the W-League Jenna McCormick and captain Natasha Dowie can encourage Victory to unify in time come November.

Talk around the water cooler… look smart in front of your mates with this valuable piece of information…

The 2018/19 season was really the season of setting club records.
It was the first time Victory have won four of their first five matches. Totalling up to 13 points, the haul was also a record for the club.

The off-season brought…

International appearances and that’s really about all that’s been spoken of.

Teigen Allen, Laura Alleyway and Emily Gielnik were all named in the Westfield Matilda’s squad, with Kyra Cooney-Cross on standby for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in June.

With the lack of confirmed signings for Victory, time is running out as they embark on replicating a season similar to lasts.

Victory currently have one of the smallest confirmed squads for 2019/20.

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Key player      

Natasha Dowie. The captain enjoyed another stellar season in the attack, picking up the clubs’ TAC Golden Boot for her nine goals.

The standout performance brought her tally to 26 goals during her time at the club, continuing her domination as Victory’s top scorer. She equalled W-League’s 2018/19 Golden Boot winner Sam Kerr for conversion rate – 25 per cent.

She also continually stepped up when her club was in trouble last season. A hat-trick against Sydney FC in the clubs first outing against the Sky Blues followed by her goal against the club in their second outing secured Victory’s first finals appearance since 2014.

When her team went down two weeks in a row against Adelaide United and Brisbane Roar, it was Dowie yet again who initiated the momentum for her club against Perth Glory the following week. She netted the first goal of the game, contributing to a 2-1 success.

Dowie’s impact both on and off the field as a leader steered Victory to their premier’s plate.

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One to watch…

Jenna McCormick. McCormick became Victory’s first signing ahead of the 2019/20 season.

She returns to the W-League after spending three seasons with AFLW side Adelaide Crows. She was a part of two premiership teams but made the decision to avoid juggling both football and AFL for a fourth season.

The central defender/attacking midfielder previously has played for Adelaide United, Canberra United and Brisbane Roar and returns to the Victory with a hunger to finish what she considers unfinished business.

McCormick is hoping the skillset she provides to Victory will be enough to have her named called for the Matilda’s 2020 Olympics side.

INS: Jenna McCormick

OUTS: Annabel Martin (Newcastle Jets)

(Yet to be confirmed by the club who is also leaving)

Full squad list (so far)

Goalkeepers:

Defenders: Angela Beard

Midfielders: Jenna McCormick

Forwards: Natasha Dowie (Captain)

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne Victory

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Tricia Mifsud
Covering Melbourne Victory during the 2019/2020 season. Bachelor of Media and Communications (Sports Journalism) at Latrobe University. Dedicated to writing articles that sports fans want to read.