By Kate Withers
Melbourne Victory defender Laura Alleway said her side “couldn’t have asked for a better start to the season” and was out to solidify their hold on the W-League in Morwell this weekend.
The Big V sit atop the W-League ladder undefeated after a rousing 3-2 over Sydney FC and will face Western Sydney Wanderers in a round five clash on Sunday.
“When we were out [in Morwell] last year I think they may have even given us more of a crowd than at our home venue in Melbourne,” Alleway said.
“There was heaps of people. Everyone got really involved and we were signing stuff for hours, so it was awesome, and it was only a preseason game so we’re really excited to get a real season game down there.”
Victory kicked off the season with a nil-all draw with Adelaide United, but Alleway said the side “felt we deserved more”.
“From that game onwards I think we have really proved it with three from three [wins],” she said.
“We’ve been training really hard and it’s been starting to show on the field.”
Western Sydney – at the other end of the ladder in ninth place – still front as “a difficult team” for Victory, thanks largely to their active off-season recruitment.
“They’re very new – they’ve recruited really well and poached a lot of Sydney FC players and have great depth and experience,” Alleway said.
“They’re definitely not one to take lightly and when you go into a game with the expectation to win, it’s almost a harder thing to do.”
Alleway said she would “more than likely” be pitted against former Matildas teammate Leena Khamis – a “very experienced, very smart centre forward”.
“It definitely helps that I’ve played with her and know her game,” she said.
“I know what she’s good at … she’s very good at holding up the ball and moving other players into the build-up play.”
Victory have been running school clinics across Gippsland in the lead-up to Sunday’s game and will hold a clinic and open training session on Saturday.
“I think it’s going to be awesome. Last year I got the privilege of going out to the schools,” she said.
“I had such a fun time. The kids were so awesome and responsive and everyone got really involved and it was a great atmosphere.”
Originally from Brisbane, Alleway said the fans in regional areas such as Morwell brought a “family feel” to games.
“There’s a fan in Morwell that has my jersey and got it for her birthday and is really excited for the game,” she said.
“You don’t get that much in the metro areas, so I’m really excited and it just makes it so much nicer.
“My family aren’t here so it’s nice to have almost another family looking up to you and out there supporting you.”
There will be a skills clinic and open training session at Latrobe City Sports and Entertainment Stadium on Saturday, December 1 with registration open at 2.30pm with training at 5pm.
Melbourne Victory will face Western Sydney Wanderers at Latrobe City Sports Stadium on Sunday, December 2 from 4pm.