Hopkins: How Victory’s pre-game ‘steely silence’ led to derby domination

Melbourne Victory head coach Jeff Hopkins says there was an intensity in his side’s approach to the Round 3 Melbourne Derby which hinted at what was to come at CB Smith Reserve on Sunday afternoon.

A 6-0 win to Hopkins’ side ensued; it’s the biggest win in Melbourne Derby history, a result which left reigning champions Melbourne City in a spin whilst catapulting Victory into the conversation as title contenders in the 2020/21 campaign.

Victory impressed throughout the first half as they forged a two-goal lead but the visitors emerged from the break to pile on four more goals, turning an impressive win into an all-out rampage. 

But Victory’s performance came as no surprise to Hopkins after what the coaching staff witnessed in a determined approach pre-match.

“We talked about that (intensity) last week, we talked about it again this week,” Hopkins told the club website.

[Victory assistant coach] Gareth (Turnbull) said to me in the warm-up the girls have a real steely silence about them, you could see they were focused, they were switched on and you saw that right from the start.

“We were determined to be really positive and push onto them and try and put pressure on as far up the field as we can.”

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The result sent Victory into third place on the Westfield W-League table, just three points off Canberra in first with a game in hand on the Green Machine. 

City, meanwhile, end Round 3 in seventh after a third consecutive game without a win to start their title defence.

But Rado Vidosic’s side don’t have to wait long for a chance at revenge; the second Melbourne Derby of the campaign comes on Sunday, January 17, and with just one week between the two games City will be determined to make amends on their travels to Epping Stadium.

As the fixtures continue to come thick and fast in the 2020/21 campaign Hopkins says his side will enjoy basking in their derby delight, but not for long, as he sets his sights on notching back-to-back wins over City to continue to build Victory’s momentum while extending the suffering of their rivals.

“Really pleasing result for sure, there were a number of things I was really happy with,” Hopkins said.

“What we said to the players at the end of the game is to go away and enjoy it, but there’s still a lot of things that we need to work on, things that we need to improve on, certainly not a complete performance.

“But it’s a derby, it’s a win and it’s a big win so something to be proud of.

“We put a lot into these derby games, we know what it means to the club, to the supporters and we’re really happy with the result for sure.”

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