Preview: Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers

A fascinating contest is set for Bulleen as two sides that are growing in confidence by the week line-up seeking three crucial points.

A fascinating contest is set for Bulleen as two sides that are growing in confidence by the week line-up seeking three crucial points.

Though they still sit bottom, the Victory finally broke their duck a fortnight ago before being overpowered by the steamroller that is Melbourne City.

The Victory, however, are still in the hunt for a finals berth. Despite taking half a season to get off the mark, the unusually congested ladder means they could potentially overhaul some of their rivals.

In the likes of Christine Nairn, Natasha Dowie and Hayley Raso – who missed last weekend’s derby mauling – they have enough weaponry to unsettle most opponents.

This time last year it would have been unthinkable that the Wanderers would travel to Melbourne as favourites but that is exactly the case this weekend.

The Wanderers overwhelmed the Victory on home turf 3-1 earlier in the season – a first win over their southern rivals in six attempts.

The Wanderers narrow failure to beat Sydney FC last weekend proves their ability to compete with the best. On the downside, they suffered numerous knocks in the match, most notably Demi Koulizakis suffered a painful shoulder injury.

Had they won they Wanderers could have been sitting in third, but no doubt such a goal is still very much on their agenda.

Melbourne Victory v Western Sydney Wanderers
Saturday 12 December 2015
Veneto Cub Bulleen, Melbourne (New Venue)
Local kick-off: 3pm

Join the conversation on Twitter using match hashtag #MVCvWSW

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Melbourne Victory squad: 20. Melissa Barbieri (gk) (c), 2. Alexandra Natoli, 4. Melissa Taranto, 5. Briar Palmer, 6. Annabel Martin, 7. Enza Barilla, 8. Jamie Pollock, 10. Christine Nairn, 11. MelindaJ Barbieri, 12. Whitney Knight, 15. Adriana Taranto, 16. Hayley Raso, 13. Thea Slatyer, 16. Gulcan Koca, 1. Cassandra Dimovski (gk), 27. Natasha Dowie

Ins: Hayley Raso (returns from injury), Enza Barilla (promoted)

Outs: Cindy Lay (omitted)

Unavailable: Selin Kuralay (knee – season), Laura Spiranovic (knee – season)

Western Sydney Wanderers squad: 3. Carmelina Moscato, 4. Chloe O’Brien, 6. Rachael Soutar, 7. Helen Petinos, 9. Elizabeth Grey, 10. Michelle Carney, 11. Keelin Winters (c), 12. Hannah Beard, 13. Eliza Ammendolia, 15. Ellie Carpenter, 16. Linda O’Neill, 17. Alix Roberts, 20. Jada Whyman (gk), Lisa Farrington (gk), 18. Tara Pender, 19. Jordan Baker

Ins: Tara Pender, Jordan Baker, Eliza Ammendolia (all promoted)

Outs: Erica Halloway (hamstring - 2 weeks), Demi Koulizakis (shoulder - indefinite)

Unavailable: Caitlin Cooper (leg – season), Kendall Johnson (leg - indefinite), Teagan Micah (injured – 2 weeks)