Don’t let her age fool you, Polly Doran is ready to step up at Victory

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A couple of high-profile departures have left big shoes to fill at AAMI Park, but there’s no 20-year-old athlete you’d rather have taking the mantle than Polly Doran.

Lofty achievements are often followed by lofty expectations, and this is certainly the case for defending A-League Women champions Melbourne Victory.

Yet, the off-season losses of captain Angela Beard (Fortuna Hjørring) and Matildas legend Lisa De Vanna (retirement), have put the club in a precarious position when it comes to repeating in the eyes of many.

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This is not a view shared by young gun Doran. Heading into her third season with Victory, she is as confident as ever of her side’s championship credentials.

“Consistency was a key part of our success last year, but I think when we did have a few injuries, we had just as much confidence in the girls that weren’t starting,” Doran said.

“The way that they stood up, I think that was also really important.”

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On the loss of the aforementioned veterans, Doran acknowledged the important role they had played in the side. However, she added that herself and the rest of the group are more than capable of taking the lessons they had left behind and implementing them in their absence.

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“They’ve left us in good stead, and now they’re gone I think we’re ready to leave our own mark on the game,” she said.

“There’s no reason why we can’t have the same success this season.”

On an individual level, Doran said she certainly feels a duty to lead the team back to the promised land. Although the side has lost a couple of key players, the core group has otherwise mostly stayed together, with a few recruits brought in to supplement the side where necessary.

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“This year I’ve got more of a role to play in helping the younger girls, as I get more comfortable around the club, I want to take on that added responsibility,” she said.

Doran has certainly shown she’s more than capable of being a stalwart across the midfield and even moving further back as a defender.

She played all but one game of Victory’s most recent campaign, and after a clean and healthy pre-season, there’s no reason to suspect that this excellent record will be tarnished.

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“The coaches really help emphasis the importance of establishing myself and creating a level of consistency around my play,” she said.

“Although it’s a team game, there’s a lot of things that you need to work on individually, and they help find that balance.”

Doran’s first chance to walk the walk and reassert Victory’s status as the best team in the competition will come against Adelaide United on December 5.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne Victory

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Mitchell Turner
Third Year Undergraduate Arts Student at Monash University (Journalism Major). Generic sports tragic living out my failed dreams of going pro vicariously through other people.

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