There are few more exciting sights in world football than Melbourne Victory and Westfield Matildas flyer Lisa De Vanna in full flight.
Fans in the nation’s capital were the latest to witness first-hand the enigmatic talents of the Perth-born forward, with De Vanna scoring a typically spectacular goal and setting-up another as the Victory secured a record 4-2 defeat over Canberra United on Sunday.
This season the Victory face the challenging task of retaining their championship crown despite significant changes during the off-season, both on the playing roster and on the coach’s bench.
One constant though is the havoc-wrecking runs and raw x-factor offered by De Vanna, who talks though the early-season form of the champs, the impact of their new American imports, and just who is the most competitive Victory player.
How is the new-look Melbourne Victory looking this year?
Obviously it’s a new team this year. I think we have a lot more depth this year. We started slowly against Newcastle but a few internationals arriving has helped in training as well as on the park, so it is looking good at the moment.
And is the team enjoying the new outlook under first-year coach Joe Montemurro?
Joe is great. He is a coach that wants to interact with the players, give us feedback and wants us to be happy. He wants to understand what we want and also for us want he wants. He is very demanding with what he wants, especially with the young girls, but understanding of the players’ needs as well.
How is your combination working with the new American imports?
I played with (Christine) Nairn at Washington so we already have that connection. She is a smart footballer. If I can get a player like that playing in balls, with me making runs, it is like a (Westfield Matildas midfielder) Collette McCallum for me. Lauren Barnes helps us out at the back, which is maybe our weakest link. She adds that experience and leadership, helping out Hannah (Brewer), Steph (Catley) and Emma (Checker). Hannah for me is the player that has impressed me a lot. Her work ethic attitude at training is great. To see someone like that is inspirational. For me, all the pieces are coming together.
Is there vibe at the Victory similar to last year when you won the championship?
It is a little different. This year the depth across all teams is very strong. You don’t know what to expect every game, whereas last year you had an idea who would potentially be in the top four. No game is easy.
Who is the toughest opponent in the W-League?
That is tough. I don’t really have a particular person in mind. I guess someone who is strong and quick and able to match up to me is what I find tough.
Who is the coolest person at the Victory?
Hmmm. Another hard one... I would have to say Steph Catley and Lauren Barnes. They are very humble people, and I enjoy that.
What about most competitive team-mate?
Hannah Brewer for sure. She gives 110 per cent and probably the most competitive person in the team.