Brilliant start for Victory, but injuries threaten to derail their title defence

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It’s rare that you’ll find a side disquieted after a comprehensive 5-1 win to open their season, but for a couple of key reasons, Melbourne Victory’s A-League Women side fit that bill to a T.

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After the game against Adelaide United, coach Jeff Hopkins said their finishing was “clinical,” however there is plenty of work to be done across the rest of the park.

“None of us are under any illusions that it was a good performance,” he said.

“We capitalised on a few mistakes, but our general play lacked the intensity we expect of ourselves.”

He added that the players have acknowledged there is still work to be done and that he is in no doubt about their ability to take a step up as a squad.

“We set a standard last year and we want to get better, we’re a very driven group and not shy about calling out poor performances,” Hopkins said.

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What is much more in doubt is the availability of some key players, not least captain Kayla Morrison.

It was smooth sailing for the Victory as they sat on a 3-0 lead in the 33rd minute, with Morrison herself contributing a goal from the penalty spot. However, it was at this juncture that the 25-year-old found herself on the ground clutching at her knee. She was subsequently escorted by medical staff from the ground, clearly in some distress over her injury.

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While it would be natural to fear an ACL tear or something equally serious, Hopkins said his focus was to remain optimistic

“It’s never a good sign for someone to go down with a knee injury, but we’ll try to be positive,” he said.

“We don’t know what’s the matter with it, so we’ll wait for the doctor to have a look at it and get it scanned tomorrow, we’ll know more then.”

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While Morrison’s injury was certainly the most concerning, there were a few other issues for some other players in the side. Lia Privitelli and Polly Doran both were subbed off with cramping problems, which Hopkins put down to a lack of quality match experience in the pre-season.

Youngster Courtney Nevin was precautionarily subbed off at half-time due to hamstring tightness which Hopkins said she came into the game experiencing.

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It was an excellent start to the season scoreboard-wise for the Victory.

However, a mixture of under-developed play as a group and injuries to key players will ensure it’ll be far from a walk in the park back to the championship.

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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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