Having started slow out of the blocks, Melbourne Victory has now recorded their third win on the trot in convincing fashion, taking out the Newcastle Jets 5-2 in a comprehensive display.
Looking back at their damaging best, the Victory put in an emphatic showing in their first game back at AAMI Park, with the side starting strong out of the gates to lead 4-0 inside the opening half an hour of the contest.
Melina Ayres started proceedings, scoring the opening goal from the penalty spot in the sixth minute, before netting her brace two minutes later.
Captain Kayla Morrison proved to be dangerous from around the set pieces with the defender becoming a rare source of goals. Netting the Victory’s third and fourth goal in the 25th and 27th minutes to ice the game before halftime.
The Jets looked a better side in the second half and although Sarah Griffith and Ashlee Brodigan found the net, the four-goal deficit proved to be a bridge, with Morrison completing the hat-trick minutes out from full-time in what was a player-of-the-game performance.
Commenting on his hat-trick hero’s performance post-game, Victory coach Jeff Hopkins was complimentary of how the defender was able to be a scoring threat, playing a major role in the side’s win on the attack in addition to her defensive efforts.
“When your centre-back gets a hat trick it’s quite a special day. I’m going to go and buy a lottery ticket tonight I think,” Hopkins said post-game.
“She loves to score. Obviously, she’s had a tough 12 months. I think the whole of the group is very pleased for her.”
“She deserves it. She works hard. We work really hard on set plays. To get a hat trick today is pretty surreal.”
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Having now recorded three wins in a row, Victory is starting to show why they are the defending champions following an unideal start to their 2022/23 campaign.
Though running out comfortable 5-2 winners, Hopkins felt there were things his side could’ve done better, feeling his side let off a bit in the second half after a hot first 45 minutes.
“Very happy with the win, very happy with the first-half performance,” he said.
“We had a bit of a wobble during the second half…it was a big loss losing [goalkeeper] Casey [Dumont].
“We got a few young players on the field, some really good learnings to take out of that.
“We need to learn to manage games a little bit better. But we steadied the ship and we were reasonably comfortable towards the end.”
Concerns coming out of the game for Melbourne were goalkeeper Casey Dumont and defender Claudia Bunge who both finished the game on the sidelines having picked up injuries in the second half of the contest.
Dumont came off with a concussion following a late challenge by Jets attacker Ashlee Brodigan ending her day early with Miranda Templeman coming on as her replacement, making her debut in the Victory goal. Meanwhile, Bunge came off in the final 13 minutes of the game, having rolled her ankle.
Commenting on the status of the duo post-game, Hopkins is hoping they’ve both escaped with just minor injuries.
“I haven’t spoken to anyone about Casey yet, hopefully, she will be ok, she had a bit of a concussion,” he said.
“I think it’s [Bunge’s] her ankle, I’m glad it’s not a knee.
“She just caught her studs in the turf and rolled her ankle, probably the next 24 hours we’ll know how serious it is.”
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