Who's Who in the W - Melbourne Victory

A look into the Melbourne Victory Westfield W-League squad

After two mid-table finishes in the Westfield W-League, Melbourne Victory will be looking to push on and qualify for the finals.

Last season saw the Victory out of the play-off spots on goal difference alone so after missing out by the narrowest of margins a push towards the top four is their main goal.

Coach Vicki Linton knows how close they were and hopes to take it that one step further this time.

"We are looking forward to an exciting third season for Melbourne Victory-s Westfield W-League team. We have brought in a number of new and exciting players, and combined with a wealth of local talent, we are looking forward to a successful season ahead.”

In particular their firepower was probably lacking, having been amongst the lowest scorers in both of the seasons so far. However, this season Coach Linton thinks their additions will add to the setup.

“We identified a number of areas where we were lacking in the squad from last season, and I-m pleased that we have been able to bring together a squad that we believe has a strong chance of making the finals this season.”

In terms of the playing staff already at the club, there are plenty of names familiar to those who follow the WWL and some new additions from strong leagues overseas.

A player who needs no mention is Melissa Barbieri - current Westfield Matildas and Melbourne Victory captain. Barbieri brings a wealth of experience to the team, including being part of the team that won the AFC Asian Cup earlier this year. This will prove invaluable to such a young squad.

English import Jodie Taylor has been in America studying and playing football for the past six years. Hopefully the answer to the goalscoring dilemma, Jodie is a powerful striker and will be a handful for a number of teams this season. She-s also pushing to be a part of England-s World Cup squad next year.

American import Kendall Fletcher played for the Sky Blues in the WPS League in the USA. Aside from her one senior cap for her country, she captained the U21 women's national team and won the U20 Women's World Cup in 2002.

Her experience will again be key; she-s no stranger to the competition, having played for Central Coast last season.

Despite being only 20, towering defender Maika Ruyter-Hooley has played every game of the past three W-League seasons. Her calming influence is imperative on the field and her performances defy her young age.

In terms of youngsters, Ashley Brown is one to watch. 16-year-old Ashley is one of Victoria-s most talented young female footballers and is already involved in the Young Matilda setup. She-ll be keen to take that next step in her career and showcase her talents to the senior national coaches.

In short Melbourne probably could-ve done better in the last two seasons and will feel that had a couple of lucky breaks gone their way or had they scored a few more goals, then they would-ve been in the finals. Can this season be third time lucky?

Melbourne Victory squad: 1. Melissa BARBIERI (GK) (c), 2. Rita MANKOWSKA, 3. Marlies OOSTDAM, 6. Maika RUYTER-HOOLEY, 7. Snez VELJANOVSKA, 8. Ella MASTRANTONIO, 9. Stephanie CATLEY, 10. Jodie TAYLOR, 11. Kendall FLETCHER, 12. Amy JACKSON, 13. Ashley BROWN, 15. Deanna NICESKI, 17. Caitlin FRIEND, 18. Ursula HUGHSON, 19. Enza BARILLA, 20. Brianna DAVEY (GK), 30. Nicole PAUL (GK).

CONFIRMED ARRIVALS: Rita MANKOWSKA, Louisa BISBY, Snez VELJANOVSKA, Ella MASTRANTONIO, Kendall FLETCHER, Jodie TAYLOR, Amy JACKSON, Ashley BROWN, Brianna DAVEY

CONFIRMED DEPARTURES: Laura Alleway (Brisbane Roar), Jessica Humble, Vedrana Popovic (Adelaide United), Katrina Gorry (Adelaide United), Sarah Groenewald, Monnique Hansen Kofoed, Tal Karp (retired), Selin Kuralay (Adelaide United), Julianne Sitch (returned overseas) and Katie Thorlakson (returned overseas).

Melbourne Victory Fixtures:

November:

Sat 13, 7:00 PM Sydney FC W-League Latrobe City Stadium, Morwell

Sat 20, 3:00 PM Canberra United W-League McKellar Park, Canberra

Fri 26, 4:45 PM Adelaide United W-League Hindmarsh Stadium, Adelaide

December:

Sat 4, 3:00 PM Brisbane Roar W-League AAMI Park, Melbourne

Sat 18, 4:15 PM Perth Glory W-League AAMI Park, Melbourne

January:

Sun 2, 3:00 PM Newcastle Jets W-League Wanderers Oval, Newcastle

Sat 8, 3:00 PM Canberra United W-League Skilled Stadium, Geelong

Sat 15, 4:00 PM Brisbane Roar W-League Perry Park, Brisbane

Sun 23, 5:00 PM Perth Glory W-League 6PR Stadium, Perth

Sat 29, 5:00 PM Adelaide United W-League John Cain Memorial Park, Thornbury