Alana Murphy at AAMI Park. (Photo: Gold Leaf Creative)

Alana Murphy is the first player to graduate from Melbourne Victory's Elite Girls Program. The new W-League midfielder talks to The Inner Sanctum.

Just months after its launch, Melbourne Victory’s Elite Girls Program is paying off. 15-year-old Alana Murphy is the first player to graduate from the development system, becoming a senior W-League player in the upcoming season and achieving a dream.

“It had been in the making for a while, so it was a process and discussions between Jeff Hopkins (Victory W-League coach) and Dean Georgio my manager who has put a lot of work into my progress,” Murphy told The Inner Sanctum of her first professional contract.

“A few weeks ago I got the call from Jeff who asked me to come to the AAMI Park offices with my parents and make it official.

“I’m a bit of a superstitious type of person and I held the thought that it wasn’t real until I was physically signing the contract…and even then I couldn’t believe it, I couldn’t be happier now though.”

Alana Murphy signs with Victory with Jeff Hopkins. (Photo: Gold Leaf Creative)

The up-and-coming midfielder was part of the MV Elite program when it was launched in February of 2021. She was already a senior player at NPLW level and was a train-on player with Victory but says the Elite Girls initiative made a big difference.

“It’s a great transition into senior football, giving players an insight into a W-League environment.

“It drip-feeds young footballers experience and gives players opportunities to work with Jeff and understand what W-League clubs expect from footballers.”

The NPLW has long provided the W-League with a source of talent but the Elite Girls Program is providing another pathway for young players.

Training at club level focuses naturally on team performance, game plan, and results. Murphy points out that the Elite Girls Program has a different focus.

“Young girls get a look at what W-League training consists of. It’s also more technical and individual compared to regular club training.”

Murphy’s mentors

Her ambitions for the first season are to learn as much as she can and develop her game. As a midfielder, she is excited to play alongside Victory stalwart Amy Jackson.

Jackson is a versatile box-to-box midfielder, capable of being both dependable and spectacular and a player that Murphy looks to emulate.

“With the experience she has, there’s so much I can learn from her and also being in the same position as myself, really help to learn the tricks of the trade.

“Jeff has also placed Amy as my mentor this season so I can’t wait to see what we can do together and to learn from an experienced footballer like Amy.”

As an attacking midfielder and Liverpool fan, Murphy has another idol that she bases her game around.

“For me, it’s Steven Gerrard. The hard work he puts into everything he does, the loyalty and respect he shows in any environment, and the fact that he made such an impact from a young age…My whole game and application to football is through Stevie G.”

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An Emerging talent

At NPLW level with FV Emerging, Murphy has shown impressive form this season. A goal against powerhouse South Melbourne showed tidy footwork and composure. The type that Victory fans will be excited about.

An opening half-hour was spent testing the defenders with probing passes and her team was 2-0 up. Murphy got in on the act herself when she neatly rounded the goalkeeper after racing onto a through-ball.

In a situation where many players would blaze away at an on-rushing keeper, she showed technique and awareness to score. Emerging would go on to win the game 5-0 against a team regarded as one of the best.

Murphy is a childhood fan of the club, and was inspired early to wear the jersey. A visit to her local club by former Victory striker Caitlin Friend helped light the passion to make it to the W-League. As her career progressed she has been able to learn from some of the best in the country.

“I’ve been a train-on player with Victory… so I’ve spent a good amount of time within the club training and learning from some amazing legends like (Lisa) DeVanna, Amy Jackson, and Kayla Morrison so I’m very grateful for that.”

(Photo: Gold Leaf Creative)

Coming from a family of Melbourne Victory supporters, she is thrilled to be wearing the jersey as a player.

“It’s really a dream come true… what every young girl aspires to do and I’ve got the opportunity to do this in the coming season and beyond.

“It’s an honour and a privilege to be part of the biggest club in Australia and I just want to bring something to the team and make an impact going forward…Hopefully to be my own version of Stevie G with the club I love.”


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