A Caitlin Friend hat-trick has propelled Melbourne Victory to a 6-0 thrashing of the struggling Newcastle Jets in the Westfield W-League.
A Caitlin Friend hat-trick has propelled Melbourne Victory to a 6-0 thrashing of the struggling Newcastle Jets in the Westfield W-League at Kingston Heath Reserve on Saturday.
It was a dominant win for the Victory, their biggest ever in the W-League, with Friend an ever-present threat while being supported by Enza Barilla's brace and Gulcan Koca's effort from the edge of the area.
The Jets started well early but were reduced to fleeting chances on the counterattack as the hosts stamped their authority on the game with Jess Fishlock, Steph Catley and Lisa De Vanna wreaking havoc on the ball.
Newcastle's best chance of the game occurred just before the Victory opened the scoring with keeper Cassie Dimovski just smothering Rhali Dobson's cross before it could reach Adriana Jones.
Friend's opener on 31 minutes was fortunate as Jets defender Hannah Brewer cleared the ball straight into the Victory striker's body and the ball nestled in the back of the net.
Three minutes later, Koca doubled the lead after placing a shot in the left corner when teed up by De Vanna.
The game was effectively ended as a contest just before half-time as Fishlock and De Vanna linked up to release Friend, who scored her second into an empty net after toeing the ball underneath Jets goalkeeper Eliza Campbell.
Catley, who continually got forward from her left-back position, was dynamic in the second half with her run and cross in the 52nd minute eventually finding its way into the goal through Barilla's tap in.
Things went from bad to worse for the Jets as keeper Campbell was replaced by Ainsley Buchanan after landing awkwardly during a set-piece.
While De Vanna did not get on the scoresheet, her movement was exceptional throughout the game and when released down the left wing on 68 minutes, her pinpoint cross was side-footed in by Friend to seal her hat-trick.
Seconds after Friend's strike, Barilla secured her brace after bundling home another Catley cross at the back post.
Victory's triumph was soured by a knee injury suffered to Ashley Brown in the final minutes, with the midfielder making her first appearance since returning from an anterior cruciate ligament injury suffered at the start of last season.
Newcastle remain winless on the bottom of the W-League table with a goal difference of -15 after four games while the Victory provisionally go to first place with matches in the round still to come.
Melbourne Victory 6 (Friend 31, 42, 68, Koca 34, Barilla 52, 70) Newcastle United 0 HT: 3-0
Melbourne Victory: 3. Jessica Humble, 4. Katie Hoyle, 7. Steph Catley (C), 9. Caitlin Friend (5. Laura Spiranovic 75), 10. Jessica Fishlock, 11. Lisa De Vanna 12. Jessica Samuelsson, 14. Enza Barilla, 15. Emma Checker (19. Alex Natoli 87), 17. Gulcan Koca (8. Ashley Brown 63), 20. Cassie Dimovski (GK)
Newcastle United: 1. Eliza Campbell (GK) (21. Ainsley Buchanan 60-), 2. Hannah Brewer, 3. Stacey Day, 4. Siahn Bozanic, 6. Ashley Spina (8. Madeline Searl 63), 7. Gema Simon (C), 9. Tara Andrews, 10. Rhali Dobson, 12. Hannah Beard, 16. Cassidy Davis, 19. Adriana Jones (13. Jasmin Courtenay 70)