After a lean few years, Melbourne Victory will be looking to be a challenger again when the Westfield W-League 2018/19 Season kicks off this week.
A big recruitment drive in the off-season might just see Jeff Hopkins’ side poised to compete for their first silverware since their 2013/14 Championship win.
After a slow start to life in the Westfield W-League, Melbourne Victory put together a string of five consecutive finals appearances from 2010 to 2014.
This period was the most successful in the club’s history and they made Grand Final appearances in 2012/13 and 2013/14, where they’d win the latter.
Since then the club has struggled, but improvements on and off the field in the off-season have them primed for an assault on the top four.
Colours and badge
If you were unsure where Victory were located then you are left with no doubt after seeing their uniform.
Playing in a predominantly navy-blue strip, Victory also don the famous white ‘V’ synonymous with Victorian sport.
The badge also features this ‘V’ on a navy-blue background. A simple yet iconic design.
Victory use several home grounds but predominately utilise Lakeside Stadium with Latrobe City Stadium and Epping Stadium also available.
The team will also use AAMI Park when playing double headers with the Hyundai A-League side.
Experienced coach Jeff Hopkins again takes the reins for what will be his third season at the club.
The former Welsh international was previously at Brisbane Roar before moving south and has overseen steady improvement since his arrival in 2016.
Victory have put together a solid recruitment drive, re-signing some key experience in addition to attracting a couple of rising stars.
Striker Natasha Dowie, the club’s all-time leading goal-scorer, has signed on for another two years while key players Laura Alleway and Alexandra Gummer have both re-committed to the side.
Matildas forward Emily Gielnik also makes the switch down south after nine seasons with Brisbane Roar.
Young guns Grace Maher and Melina Ayres complement the experience in the squad with Maher enticed from Canberra in the off-season.
The Westfield W-League 2013/14 campaign was the best in the Victory’s history.
A third-placed finish saw them face off against arch-rivals Sydney FC in a Big Blue semi-final. A Lauren Barnes penalty in the 71st minute proved the difference as they won a thriller 3-2 to make it into consecutive Grand Finals.
Westfield W-League powerhouse Brisbane Roar stood between them and glory but another goal from Barnes and a Lisa De Vanna strike gifted the Victory a 2-0 win and the Championship trophy.
Did you know?
Despite their form Victory have the wood over local rivals Melbourne City having beaten them in two of the past three Melbourne derbies.