West Gate traffic jam forces Victory into Melbourne derby chaos

It's a scenario that plays out every week for futsal matches and amateur games around the country.

But late-arriving players aren't usually seen in professional sport.

Melbourne Victory celebrate their first-half goal in a historic W-League derby against Melbourne City.

Melbourne Victory celebrate their first-half goal in a historic W-League derby against Melbourne City. Credit:AAP

Melbourne Victory's W-League side was forced into late changes on Friday night in their clash with Melbourne City when two carpooling players – Laura Alleway and Kyra Cooney-Cross got stuck on the West Gate Bridge en route to AAMI Park.

Alleway's text was certainly not what coach Jeff Hopkins wanted to hear two hours out from the match, one he'd built up as one of the biggest of his tenure.


When their car from Torquay arrived within minutes of kickoff, Alleway legged it to the player's entry at AAMI Park and presented for duty.

With the rest of her team in the rooms, she did a quick warm-up by herself to convince Hopkins she was up for the occasion.

The decision was the right one, with Alleway helping Victory's back four keep a clean sheet in a 2-0 defeat of the reigning champions.

"It was all over the place for 15-20 minutes," Hopkins said of his headspace.

"The girls were a lot better than I was.

"The lack of panic from them was quite calming for everyone. Especially myself.

"I made an early shout to say Kyra will miss out … the maturity that she's shown at the moment, she just ran with it.

"They didn't let anything like that affect them. They went out really positive right from the start."

Despite the disruption, Victory benefited from closer cohesion on the park to City.

Victory made a concerted effort to bring in the bulk of their players weeks out from round one, whereas City's international-studded squad meant players have been drip-fed into camp, arriving as late as last week.

The result, a priceless derby win, has put Victory on top.

It's the first time in 11 campaigns Victory has been unbeaten through the opening three rounds, and gives them a real shot at contending for honours this season.

"When we go back and have a look at the game tonight we'll see there's a lot of stuff we need to get better at," Hopkins said.

"The spirit of the girls is unbelievable and that's carrying us through at the moment.

"They're a really tight knot bunch of players.

"We're headed in the right direction, that's what I'd say."


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