A first A-League Women double in club history looms large for new Melbourne Victory captain Kayla Morrison, who is confident the champions can handle the pressure of being the hunted.
Victory have retained the majority of their grand final winning team from last season and shape as the favourites for both the premiers plate and championship.
“We almost play better when the other teams are playing better,” Morrison told reporters on Tuesday.
“It helps us drive the intensity and I don’t necessarily know if we’re feeling the pressure but we’re feeling it as motivation.
“… When we talk about our goals, everyone’s goal is to win and win everything. We want to win the intra-squad match games, we want to win the pre-season games.
“If we just follow that and you win everything then you’re on your way to the premiers and the grand final.
“But that comes with the hard work and I think we’re willing to put that in.”
Former captain Angela Beard is now playing in Denmark but Matildas defender Courtney Nevin shapes as a fine replacement, while Morrison expected the likes of Melina Ayres, Lia Privitelli and Catherine Zimmerman to fill the void left by Lisa De Vanna’s departure.
It’s been a rapid rise from anonymity to captaincy for former US college soccer player Morrison, who played in Victoria’s NPLW then earned an A-League Women contract for last season, amid the European exodus of a number of key Matildas players.
Morrison, 25, quickly became a key component of Victory’s defence and was named in the PFA team of the season, along with claiming the Victory Medal as the club’s player of the year.
While the American is working towards securing permanent residency, the impressive central defender played down any hopes of a potential Matildas call-up.
“I always say just have the best season you can have and doors will open, things will fall into place,” she said.
“So I’m just going to go out there and try and give it my all and then we’ll see at the end of the day.”