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Jan 11, 2024   |  10:27AM AET

ALW Match Preview: Rigby predicts Glory backlash in Victory clash

ALW Match Preview: Rigby predicts Glory backlash in Victory clash

Glory Liberty A-League skipper Natasha Rigby is expecting a backlash from the women in purple when they take on Melbourne Victory in Friday afternoon’s Unite Round clash at Sydney’s Leichhardt Oval (kick-off at 2pm WST, 5pm Local).

View her full pre-match interview HERE

Alex Epakis’ side suffered their first home defeat of the season last weekend, going down 2-0 to Western Sydney Wanderers and in doing so, missing an opportunity to maintain the pressure on leaders Melbourne City.

But having already secured maximum points on the road three times this term, Rigby is confident that they can bounce straight back into the winners’ circle at the expense of the navy-and-whites.

“We have acknowledged and learnt from the [Western Sydney] game,” she said, “but because of the short turnaround, we just have to make sure we’re taking on the messaging that Alex [Epakis] has relayed to us and move past it quickly because we have a game on Friday.

“So we’ve learned from our mistakes and are really looking to come back this weekend.

“There are a lot of things that we could have done differently and better, we’ve been made aware of those and we’re really looking to grow from that performance.

“We’ve seen some really strong performances [this season], but we really need to get some more consistency in the performances, because we’ve been performing really well and then maybe dropping off the next week.

“So we’re looking to get that consistency, firm that out and then we’ll look to apply it for the rest of the season.”

Melbourne Victory, meanwhile, will also be looking to bounce back having lost their last three, slipping out of the top six in the process and Rigby is expecting a tough test against one of the competition’s traditional heavy-hitters.

“Victory are always a really strong squad and they are this year as well,” she said.

“They’ve got some incredible players and we really need to respect them as an opponent.

“They haven’t had results go their way in the last few games, but it doesn’t mean we can underestimate them as they are really strong.

“So we need to come out and play our best.

“They’ve got strong centre-backs, some really dynamic midfielders and obviously I think [Emily] Gielnik is coming back into the squad, so she’ll be a really big presence for them and we need to look out for that.”

The skipper went on to sing the praises of Glory’s away supporters who are expected to turn out in good numbers at Leichhardt Oval.

“We absolutely adore our travelling fans and we’re so thankful to them,” she said.

“It just allows us to pull each other even closer and it’s really special when they’re there.”

Victory have been predictable only in their unpredictability thus far this season, losing their opening two games, then picking up 14 points from their next six outings, before being beaten to nil in their last three.

Among their more consistent performers have been Japanese import Kurea Okino, who has scored three goals, American defender Kayla Morrison, who continues to reinforce her reputation as one of the best centre-backs in the competition and vastly-experienced Matildas goalkeeper, Lydia Williams.

Overall in this fixture, Glory have enjoyed 11 wins to Victory’s 12, but only three of those victories for the WA side have come in the last ten meetings.

The two teams fought out an entertaining 2-2 draw when they met at Macedonia Park in Round 5, with Hana Lowry and Rachel Lowe each bagging a brace for their respective sides.

Match Details

Liberty A-League 2023/24 Season Round 12

Melbourne Victory v Perth Glory

Leichhardt Oval, Sydney

Friday 12 January 2024

Kick-off: 2:00pm WST (5:00pm Local)

Melbourne Victory squad: 1. Lydia WILLIAMS (GK), 2. Jamilla RANKIN, 3. Tori HANSEN, 4. Sara D’APPOLONIA, 5. Jessika NASH, 7. Ella O’GRADY, 8. Alana MURPHY, 9. Emily GIELNIK, 10. Alex CHIDIAC, 11. McKenzie WEINERT, 13. Kurea OKINO, 15. Emma CHECKER, 16. Paige ZOIS, 18. Kayla MORRISON, 19. Lia PRIVITELLI, 21. Elise KELLOND-KNIGHT, 22. Ava BRIEDIS, 23. Rachel LOWE, 27. Rosie CURTIS, 50. Courtney NEWBON (GK)

In: 9. Emily GIELNIK, 7. Ella O’GRADY, 19. Lia PRIVITELLI

Out: Nil

Unavailable: 6.Beattie GOAD

Perth Glory Squad: 1.Morgan AQUINO (GK), 3.Jessika COWART, 4.Natasha RIGBY (c), 7.Liz ANTON, 8.Hana LOWRY, 9.Millie FARROW, 10.Susan PHONSONGKHAM, 11.Grace JALE, 12.Sofia SAKALIS, 13.Sarah CAIN, 14.Tia STONEHILL, 17.Abbey GREEN, 18.Sadie LAWRENCE, 19.Izzy FOLETTA, 20.Quinley QUEZADA, 22.Claudia MIHOCIC, 23.Isobel DALTON, 24.Sally JAMES (GK), 25.Grace JOHNSTON, 27.Georgia CASSIDY

Four to be omitted

In: 14.Tia STONEHILL, 17.Abbey GREEN, 18.Sadie LAWRENCE,19.Izzy FOLETTA

Out: Nil

Unavailable: 16.Isabella WALLHEAD (injured)