Best internationals of 2019/20 - Darian Jenkins
Playing abroad for the first time in her career, Darian Jenkins showed her quality in Melbourne Victory’s excellent Westfield W-League 2019/20 Season.
The American flyer started all 13 games Victory played, for a return of five goals and two assists and providing a number of memorable moments.
Jenkins arrived at Victory as a winger/forward but ended the season playing in a wing-back role for Jeff Hopkins’ side.
“It has definitely improved my game a lot. Being able to get up and down the field is difficult, but it’s a lot easier picking those moments to actually make runs, and when to just possess, has really improved for me,” the 25-year-old said recently.
"It’s definitely huge for my personal development."
Which is great news for her NWSL club Reign FC, where she plays alongside Westfield Matildas duo Lydia Williams and Steph Catley.
While Jenkins’ Westfield W-League debut didn’t go to plan – a 3-0 loss to Sydney FC on the opening weekend – she was quickly into her stride.
Jenkins was sensational in the 3-2 win over Brisbane Roar in Round 2, with her driving run and cross from the right resulting in Kaitlyn Torpey’s own goal which opened the scoring.
After a bye due to their involvement in the AFC Women’s Club Championship in Korea, Victory returned to action in Round 4 in a 1-1 draw with Western Sydney Wanderers, before suffering late heartbreak to go down 1-0 to Melbourne City the following week.
After a goalless draw with Brisbane Roar in Round 6, Jenkins began to hit her straps in the following weeks thrilling 2-1 win over Perth Glory.
While Amy Jackson scored both of her side’s goals on the night, Jenkins had 87 touches and created three chances, more than any other player on the pitch.
Jenkins was then in the thick of the action in Victory’s 2-1 triumph over Newcastle Jets on January 5, the day of her 25th birthday.
Not only did the American have a hand in Natasha Dowie’s opening goal with her excellent cross, she scored her first goal for the club on 25 minutes in what turned out to be the winner.
Jenkins was in the thick of the action again in Victory’s next match – a 3-0 win over Adelaide United – with her clever header back across goal allowing Natasha Dowie to complete her brace.
Victory were now surging toward the Finals Series and added another 3-0 win over Canberra United in Round 11 saw Jenkins provide another assist for Melina Ayres to open the scoring.
A 4-0 loss to Melbourne City in Round 12 put a dent in Victory’s top four hopes but they bounced back the following week in emphatic fashion, with Jenkins almost unplayable as she scored a double in the 7-0 thrashing of the Jets.
Needing a win over Sydney FC in the final round to clinch second spot on the ladder, Jenkins took it on her shoulders to deliver for Victory.
Her first goal was pure power from the edge of the box, before her second show off her brilliant dribbling skills, jinking past three defenders before rifling a shot inside the near post.
Jenkins’ outstanding individual display saw Victory beat the Sky Blues 3-1 to secure a home Semi Final, and while the visitors got revenge in that match, the US star left an indelible mark on the competition in 2019/20.
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