Hopkins looking for Victory to go one better than last season

Like most W-League coach's Melbourne Victory's Jeff Hopkins has been hamstrung by the late arrival of several players, but he goes into a new season and a game against old rivals Sydney optimistic that the navy blues are capable of adding a Championship to the Premiers Plate success they gained last season.

''It's quite difficult preparing when you haven't got all your squad, but we've done a fair bit of individual stuff, a fair bit of general stuff and the girls that are out on the park are looking in really good condition.

''It's been a bit disjointed but for what we've been able to do, I've been really happy with where we are,'' he says.

Hopkins believes that he has strengthened defensively this season and that his squad is capable of matching the best.

''Every year, whether you're successful or unsuccessful, it's good to just refresh the team a little bit and we've definitely done that.

''We've brought in two real top-quality defenders in Jenna (new Matilda Jenna McCormick) and in Emily (Menges) to add to what we've got already.

''Haley Hanson, I am really looking forward to working with her, but also Annalie Longo as well, being able to bring a player in as a local player with more than 100 caps for her country, she was an excellent pick-up.

Jeff Hopkins.Credit:AAP

''Amy Jackson is  a really experienced W-League player who we've been kind of chasing for a few years now. I look at Grace Maher as well, who's getting better and better each year. We'll get a lot out of her this year.

''Her ability to get forward, to see a pass, to be able to execute as well, she kind of reminds me of a young Christine Nairn so hoping she can not replace Christine, but go some way to doing that. She's her own person and she brings a lot of stuff to the team, she's very, very competent and looking really good in our pre-season games as well."

He acknowledges that facing Sydney away first up is a tough assignment, but will give him some idea of where his team is.

"We've got a pretty testing first month actually with Sydney and then we go away again on the Thursday to Brisbane and then we're off to Korea for three games (at the AFC women's club championship) and then back for Western Sydney, who will be very strong as well, so a tough, very testing first month.

''But it also gives us the opportunity to have a good start and to maybe get a run on one or two of our teams that we expect will be our rivals this year so we're kind of looking it as an opportunity to maybe get one over them, rather than looking at it as a negative.

''I know by the time you get to the end of pre-season, we're all looking forward to just getting out there and playing a game. The players that have come in, there's been a really good vibe, they've gelled really well on and off the field so it's actually a good place to be around at the moment."

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