Hopkins: Victory peaking at right time for Westfield W-League finals
Momentum is often everything in sport and Melbourne Victory boss Jeff Hopkins believes his side is peaking at just the right time of the Westfield W-League 2019/20 Season.
Victory, Premiers last season, started this campaign in patchy form, picking up just one win from their opening five matches to sit near the foot of the ladder.
But the Navy Blue stormed home, winning six of their last seven matches to not only secure a Finals Series berth but grab second spot and a home Semi Final.
Hopkins’ side hosts defending Champions Sydney FC at Epping Stadium on Saturday looking to become the first side through to this year’s decider.
"The ideal scenario is you hit form and you get a good run of games and wins leading into finals and that's kind of where we've been,” Hopkins told Victory’s official website.
"In general, the performances have been getting better and better the longer the season has gone.
"I think the players are in really good nick, they're in good form and they're reasonably confident.
"It's a good place to be but we're not underestimating Sydney, they're a very, very good side and we've got a lot of respect for them as a team, got a lot of respect for Ante (Juric) as a coach as well.
"We're expecting the hardest game of the season so it's good that we are in good form because we're going to have to play better and for longer than we've played all season so it's still a big challenge for us."
Victory have faced the Sky Blues twice this season, with the honours shared at one win apiece.
Sydney FC prevailed 3-0 back in Round 1, before Victory got revenge in Round 14 with a dominant 3-1 triumph at Marvel Stadium.
Saturday’s clash – which kicks off at 2pm AEDT – will be played at Epping Stadium where Victory have an excellent recent record, winning four of their last five matches there.
"It's been a good home for us. We've had some real memorable wins there as well," Hopkins said.
"I'm happy to be playing there, the girls are happy to be playing there, we're very comfortable playing there so really looking forward to the game on Saturday now.
"It can't come quick enough now."
Hopkins will be sweating on the fitness of Jenna McCormick and Annalie Longo who have both been away on international duty but will return in time for Saturday’s match.
Westfield W-League Semi Finals
Melbourne Victory v Sydney FC
Saturday, 14 March 2020
Kick off: 2.00pm AEDT
Venue: Epping Stadium