19/05/2024

Hannah Wilkinson celebrates her goal against Melbourne Victory. (Photo: Melbourne City FC)

Melbourne City star striker Hannah Wilkinson couldn't have netted her seven goals so far in 2021/22 without quality assists from her teammates, heaping praise upon one in particular.

After breaking the record for the quickest A-League Women’s hat-trick and scoring the equal most goals by a player in a match, Hannah Wilkinson and Melbourne City were struck down by COVID. She is assuring that she is looking to build on her five-goal haul.

It was a Boxing Day bonanza for Wilkinson, as her historic haul ripped apart the Melbourne Victory in a fiery Derby clash. She now has a tight grip on the Golden Boot early on in the campaign, leading Sydney’s Mackenzie Hawkesby by three goals.

Her impressive form comes after she netted her first double for Rado Vidosic’s side after failing to score in her first three games. The 29-year-old has credited her destruction of the A-League Women so far to teammate Holly McNamara, her striker partner.

“I love playing with Holly, I think she is a terrific player there’s absolutely no surprise that she has been called into the Matildas’ wide squad,” Wilkinson told media on Friday.

Wilkinson celebrates one of her five goals. (Photo: Hannah Wilkinson/Twitter)

“I was waiting for that to happen, this girl’s got something special she is going to go really far.”

McNamara has assisted more of Wilkinson’s goals than anyone across her last two games, but the lethal forward expects to lose her services when the Matildas head to the 2022 AFC Women’s Asian Cup later this month.

“It is a risk I think, this is what is going to happen when we perform,” Wilkinson said.

“National teams will be watching these kinds of players and of course, they want to select the best. I think our team is showing off the best that we have.

“It is a good thing. Of course, we don’t want to lose our best players, but it is good for them and for the Matildas.”

Wilkinson celebrates another of her goals with teammate Emma Checker (centre). (Photo: Melbourne City/Twitter)

The New Zealand international and Silver Fern praised her teammates for the looks she was given in front of goal that have enabled her to score seven goals in her last two games for Melbourne City.

“I think it’s just really indictive of the team that I am in, the service and the distribution that I am getting from my teammates and the way that we are playing is just amazing,” she said.

“All of my goals are a result of an incredibly hard-working team which just puts it on a platter for me, it really is every striker’s dream to be playing on this team.”

Melbourne City head coach Rado Vidosic was also full of praise for the 29-year-old after her recent performances.

“She has been fantastic, this is my fourth season and she is the first striker that we have had since I have been here at the club,” he explained.

“So far we could just not attract any strikers to the club, so to have her with us, and Holly McNamara who is equally a good and up and coming striker, I think we are blessed from that point of view.

“Hannah, her experience is second to none, her work rate is [great], she is such a fantastic person and a great person to have in our team.”

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Vidosic first spoke to Wilkinson at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, and ultimately that conversation led her to join the four-time A-League Women champions.

“When I spoke to her when she was at the Olympics, she was thinking about joining us and I tried to convince her to join. [I] said we would love her to work hard but she would be rewarded from that hard work,” Vidosic said.

“Scoring seven goals in two games is just a fantastic achievement from her.”

Hard work on the training ground is also one of the many reasons the 29-year-old has been able to receive the looks from her teammates, with Vidosic noting that making use of a press on matchday has given her the chances she has taken.

“That’s our principle, so we work hard on pressing high up the opposition pitch where the turnover equals a golden opportunity for her because she is in the centre of the pitch,” he explained.

“Another principle is her forward runs and forward passes, she has really taken that aboard and we are managing to find her in the space behind.

“There were some chances that she should have scored earlier on in the season, but we worked on composure and spoke about that. I think now she found the way to deal with the situation and become deadly.”

Vidosic’s Melbourne City will face Wellington Phoenix on Sunday, January 9, at AAMI Park.

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