Victory duo eager to prove worth to Matildas

George Clarke |

Melbourne Victory coach Jeff Hopkins believes Emily Gielnik and Elise Kellond-Knight have the drive to show Australia boss Tony Gustavsson they deserve a spot in his squad.

The Matildas moved a step closer to qualifying for next year’s Olympics with three wins in Perth over the last 10 days.

Following that trio of victories, Gustavsson said it would be a challenge for players on the periphery to force their way into his thinking given the Matildas’ impressive World Cup run earlier this year.

Gielnik and Kellond-Knight, who were both left out of Australia’s World Cup squad, are nearing a return to fitness ahead of Victory’s home clash against Adelaide United on Saturday. 

“Players who have been out for extended periods of time, that hunger and that drive is what gets them back to where they were before,” Hopkins said.

“Both of them have got a fire inside them that really wants to get out and play the game again. 

“If the added incentive is getting back into Tony’s squad, then I’m more than happy for that.”

Regular challengers at the top of the A-League Women, Victory hope to quickly turn the tide on Saturday by picking up their first win of the season.

Champions in two of the last three seasons, Hopkins’ side have yet to get off the mark this year with losses to Brisbane Roar and Western United to open their campaign. 

“We have made quite a good start, apart from the results,” Hopkins said.

“We’re looking quite confident and the spirit in the group is really good.”

Victory and Western Sydney are the only sides yet to pick up a point this season.

The Wanderers were thumped 3-0 in their last outing by last year’s wooden-spooners Wellington but are set to be boosted by the inclusion of New Zealand international Milly Clegg as they travel to Newcastle on Sunday. 

“Milly will start on Sunday and she can now play as a foreign player because she’s turned 18.

“We’ve missed someone of her quality up front to put away the chances and hopefully she can do the job for us.” 


* Wellington v Brisbane Roar (12.45pm Saturday, Sky Stadium)

* Canberra United v Perth Glory (4pm Saturday, McKellar Park)

* Melbourne Victory v Adelaide United (5pm Saturday, AAMI Park)

* Western United v Melbourne City (4pm Sunday, City Vista Recreation Reserve)

*Newcastle Jets v Western Sydney Wanderers (5.45pm Sunday, McDonald Jones Stadium)