Laura Spiranovic knows how to make a splash if last weekend is any indication.
The tall Melbourne Victory striker scored a goal eight minutes into her Westfield W-League return following an 18-month absence from the national competition. It was also the first goal of the entire 2015/16 Westfield W-League competition, and Spiranovic – little sister of Socceroo star defender Mat – hopes it is a positive portent of things to come, commencing with this week’s Melbourne derby.
This Sunday afternoon will be another first for the Westfield W-League when new club Melbourne City host the Victory at AAMI Park. And Spiranovic, it seems, is developing a knock for firsts. She also scored a memorable winner in the Victory’s first-ever triumph over a star-studded Sydney FC a few seasons back.
“On a personal level, it was really exciting to score the goal after eight minutes last weekend given I missed last season, and hopefully there are many more to come,” said Spiranovic, who now boasts six goals in 20 Westfield W-League appearances, many of which came as a substitute.
Spiranovic’s goal proved in vain, however, as last season’s premiers came-from-behind to collect a 2-1 win thanks to goals from Westfield Matildas’ superstars Caitlin Foord and Sam Kerr.
“It was disappointing to not get at least a point from last weekend. Considering we are a newly formed team, with not a lot of experience playing together, we can take a lot of positives to build on.
“I was excited (last weekend), but definitely nervous as well.”
The Victory have lost many of their big-name players that helped the club to their championship crown two seasons ago. And many of those who have exited have made their way across town, which will add yet another layer of intrigue on derby day.
As match of the weekend, and as part of a Hyundai A-League double-header, the derby will be shown live on Fox Sports and ABC TV.
“We are really looking forward to playing before the men’s game, and being live on TV, so it is a great opportunity to showcase women’s football,” says the Geelong born and raised Spiranovic, who is a qualified high school teacher.
“It (AAMI Park) is a brilliant surface, and environment, so very exciting.
“There is a bit of extra focus and preparation this week at training for the big game.
“There is a different vibe (compared to two years ago) but we have new young talented players in the group. We are all really excited to see how far we can go this season.”
There is obvious football quality in the Spiranovic blood. And Laura, who is three years younger than brother Mat, says she is tight with her famous sibling, and they talk almost every day.
“I love having him home,” she says. “We go for a run or a kick in the park. I have another sister, and a friend, and play two-v-two. It was great having him in the A-League last season, and we could follow him closely.”