Four points dropped: Victory’s heart to fight sets them up for a finals push

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Melbourne Victory have earned just two points in their last three games, having dropped four points following 2-2 draw’s against Sydney and Canberra.

On the outside that may not look overly impressive, however, it has been the way in which they have fought to get those points that has impressed head coach Jeff Hopkins.

In both fixtures they were down 2-0 with under half an hour to play, against Canberra they had not scored with less than 10 minutes of regular time remaining.

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This did not stop them from getting something out of both games, scoring during stoppage time in both matches to secure points, something which Hopkins put down to the spirit of the side.

“It would have been easy for our girls to just get their heads down and let the game go,” he said.

“But one thing they have got is bags and bags of resilience and character in there. They are never beaten and I am so proud of every one of them.”

Similar to their fixture against Sydney, Victory looked the less threatening of the two teams early, likely due to their overloaded schedule that includes seven games over just three weeks.

For Hopkins, whilst he would have loved a faster start, he feels that showing their ‘never say die’ attitude will only help the confidence of his side, and potentially hinder that of future opponents.

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“It was a similar case against Sydney last week, it was quite a tired performance in the beginning, but we kind of just found a way to get back into the game,” he said.

“We wouldn’t have been surprised if we would have won the game tonight in the end. I think when it happens once or twice, the players become confident that they can do it and maybe opponents start thinking about it. This can cause a little bit of panic as well.”

The fact that energy levels were so low, after conceding a disappointing late goal in the first half, makes the turn around all the more special and something they can build upon if they face a similar challenge down the line.

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“I think we’ll be really buoyed on by the fact that we were just I think, maybe at halftime, the energy levels were right down and the girls found it from somewhere to get the energy to just get back into the game,” Hopkins said.

“A lot of it was just down to persistence and a bit of courage, rolling up their sleeves and just refusing to be beaten.”

Despite the character shown, they still do need to get some results in the last few rounds to secure a finals spot.

With upcoming opponent Adelaide a point ahead in third, and Perth two behind in fifth, the time for resilient comebacks may be over, needing to be replaced with six points from their final fixtures to secure a semi-final berth.

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Hopkins was aware of his side’s situation, understanding the magnitude of the next few weeks in the context of their season.

“We’re by no means guaranteed that we’re going to be in the finals,” he said.

“We’ve got a couple of really important games coming up. We go to Adelaide on Saturday, and we play Canberra again next Friday as well.”

Whilst points are vital, performances like Tuesday’s leave Victory in perfect steed for a finals run.

As long as they get the results over the next few weeks, last season’s champions will be a team that no one wants to come up against come finals time.

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Their proven ability to always be in with a chance, no matter the score, is one of the most dangerous qualities that a team can have.

Whilst dropping points in the final weeks of the regular season often is not a good thing, Victory have somehow managed to turn draws into moral boosters, setting them up for a serious finals push.

Feature Image Credit: Peter Hugg

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William Makepeace
Current Intern covering Canberra United. Sports Media student at University of Canberra who lives and breathes Football

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