Wanderers draw boosts Hopkins’ optimism for Victory’s premiership defence

They are the first team to halt the Western Sydney Wanderers juggernaut this season and Melbourne Victory boss Jeff Hopkins hopes it can be the platform for the remainder of the campaign.

Victory became the first side to take points off the Wanderers in 2019/20 after a pulsating 1-1 draw at Latrobe City Stadium on Saturday.

The defending premiers took a lead to the break thanks to Haley Hanson’s first Victory goal, before the Wanderers were rewarded for their second-half pressure with Lynn Williams equalising.

But Hopkins saw plenty from his side, especially in the first 45 minutes, to suggest they can build a strong Westfield W-League Premiership defence in coming months.

“I was pleased with a lot of aspects of our game, especially the way we started the game,” Hopkins told Victory’s official website.

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“We were aggressive, we pressed high, we put them under pressure, I was really pleased with the way we set up defensively. We made it very hard them to play out.

“We want the ball high, we were able then to counter-attack from inside their own half which was really pleasing and something we’d worked on through the week.

“The girls really executed the plan really well. Scoring from a turnover as well after we pressed the ball, good reward for what we planned to do and how we executed. I was pleased with that.”

Hopkins felt his side tried to protect their lead a little too much after the break, which may have hurt their chances of taking all three points.

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“We were just protecting a bit too much and maybe gave just that little bit too much time to play through us a couple of times, which was a bit of a warning sign for the second half,” he said.

“I think definitely Western Sydney had the lion’s share of the game in the second half and we were forced to defend for a long period, but probably what really pleased me was the way we applied ourselves defensively in terms of organisation, in terms of work rate, in terms of just cover and sticking up and supporting each other. I thought it was a definite turning point for us.

“I saw a lot of things that I liked about things that we did as a team so I was quite pleased with that.”


Melbourne Victory face City in the Melbourne Derby in Round 5. The match at ABD Stadium on Thursday, 12 December kicks off at 7.30pm. Get your tickets here.
Find out more at the Match Centre here

After returning from their Round 5 bye, Western Sydney Wanderers host Sydney FC in the Sydney Derby on Friday, 20 December at 5pm at Bankwest Stadium. Get your tickets here.
Find out more at the Match Centre here

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