Victory women look to continue W-League renaissance

For the past two seasons Melbourne Victory's women's team has played second fiddle to the all-conquering Melbourne City.

But on Friday night, when the clubs meet for the first W-League Melbourne derby of the season, Victory will run on to the pitch with a spring in their step, confident they can strike a blow against the back-to-back champions.

City's title defence got off to an embarrassing start in Perth last weekend when they crashed 4-1 to a Sam Kerr-inspired Perth Glory, while Victory's women pulled off something of an upset when they defeated highly-regarded Canberra United 2-1 in their season opener.

The win over City was the perfect grand final revenge for the Western Australians, who were beaten on their own turf by City in last season's title decider after going into that match as favourites.

The scale of the defeat, in which City conceded three times in the last 15 minutes after getting back on level terms early in the second half, will be worrying for coach Patrick Kisnorbo and he can ill afford to have his team show such defensive frailty on Friday evening when Victory and City meet in the curtain raiser for the top of the table A-League clash between City and Sydney FC.

Victory have been in the doldrums in recent W-League seasons but Jeff Hopkins' side could not have made a better start with their win over Canberra, a game that 15-year-old Kyra Cooney-Cross will never forget as she made her debut.

Natasha Dowie, the England international, made sure of the win after Kristen McNabb had given the Navy Blues an early lead.

This story Victory women look to continue W-League renaissance first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.