Victory sign teen to bolster attacking options

Melbourne Victory have added to its impressive young Westfield W-League stocks, signing 18-year-old striker Melina Ayres to a one-year deal.

Ayres arrives at Victory via City, where she made 12 appearances over the last two seasons.

In watching Ayres play both at City and for South Melbourne in the Women’s NPL, Victory’s W-League coach Jeff Hopkins is impressed with what he’s seen.

“She’s got a lot more to her than an eye for goal, even though that’s obviously a quality that you want in your striker,” Hopkins said.

“She gives us flexibility to potentially play with two strikers as well.

“To start off with we’ll most probably look to play her as a wide player. In some games we may be able to play with two up top or a little bit staggered maybe.

“She’s quiet, hard-working and she’s conscientious about how she prepares and I’m looking forward to working with her.”

Ayres’ ability to read play unfolding gives her the ability to play in multiple positions, and it’s a skill that is extremely rare to find.

“You notice when the ball goes wide or it’s about to come into the box, you watch her movement and she naturally knows where to be.

“She’ll pull off the shoulder of players, get into space and has a knack of knowing where the ball’s going to go or where it might come to.

“Sometimes you can’t really coach that.”