Victory unfazed despite questionable form heading into finals

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Melbourne Victory only needed a single point from their A-Legue Women’s match against Canberra United to guarantee themselves a spot in the finals.

And while a 0-0 draw on Friday got the job done, it was hardly the manner in which a team would normally like to enter the finals, especially coming from fourth position and needing every ounce of momentum possible.

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“I’m happy with bits and pieces of our performance,” coach Jeff Hopkins said after the match.

“Probably what we lacked was consistency, and I think in the second half a bit of fatigue set in.”

It’s certainly been a brutal and gruelling stretch heading into the finals, as the team played seven games in the span of 22 days prior to the final round.

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Hopkins has often said that fatigue has played a key role in Victory’s lean run of form as they head into the finals winless in their previous five contests. He said that this reality should somewhat mitigate their concerns about a potential lack of quality in the team.

“I look at the last three or four games and there’s been reasons for the lack of form and the lack of results,” he said.

“We’re all quite clear on what we need to do better. Having another seven-day break is going to compound our ability to be well-rested.”

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On the other hand, Canberra United coach Vicki Linton expressed both a degree of happiness and disappointment with the result her side managed to get in this match.

“I think overall we had more chances so it’s a little bit disappointing because we executed a lot of things really well, but we were still not able to get away with the win,” she said.

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“But a good performance and we’re pleased with lots of things.”

She also expressed a feeling of dismay that the side won’t get to really build on a strong finish to the season, with the A-League Women’s competition having such a long lay-off between campaigns.

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“I don’t think this can serve as a foundation with such a big off-season to be honest,” she said.

“There tends to be a little bit of turnover, and even just looking at the past couple of seasons we’ve had to start from scratch. It’s taken all this time to get players that have just come in really bedded in.”

A tough pill to swallow for a side whose only wins for the season came in the final four weeks.

Feature Image Credit: Melbourne City FC

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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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