It was a dream day out for Melbourne Victory’s NPLW girls with one substitute playing a particularly telling role in their 4-1 away win over Brisbane Roar.
While it was Natasha Dowie who stole the headlines with her first ever W-League hat-trick, it was a beautifully crafted pair of assists from Bulleen Lions winger Lia Privitelli that helped set up the Englishwoman for her treble.
It took just eight minutes on the park for substitute Privitelli to carve out her first assist in the 71st minute, with a beautifully weighted cross from the deep beating Clare Polkinghorne on its way through for Dowie to dispatch for her second goal of the afternoon.
The winger showed both strength and guile in equal measure to burst clear on the right wing, before squaring up once again for Dowie to complete the scoring in injury time.
She wasn’t the only NPLW player to have a telling impact on the contest as the scoring was opened by Galaxy United forward Laura Spiranovic, who was able to beat Mackenzie Arnold with a low header from close range.
Galaxy teammate Kariah White started and provided the assist for Dowie’s first with a delightful tailing cross from the right wing.
Alex Natoli (Bulleen Lions), Alex Gummer (South Melbourne) and Annabel Martin (Galaxy United) all impressed in defence to hold off the Roar in their spells of dominance littered across the game.
Calder United’s Gulcan Koca held down the midfield well, allowing Adriana Taranto – and later MelindaJ Barbieri – more freedom across the pitch.
After a lengthy spell in the starting line-up, Calder United custodian Bethany Mason-Jones returned to the bench for the fit again Bianca Henninger, who impressed with a number of quality stops throughout the 90 minutes.
Down in Victoria, Melbourne City continued their recent struggles with a 1-1 draw against Adelaide United, which saw Tyla-Jay Vlajnic earn a first start of the season, while Box Hill United’s Emily Shields sat in reserve for first choice goalkeeper Lydia Williams.
It was a first ever call-up to the match-day squad for the reigning NPLW goalkeeper of the year, who was joined on the pine by the returning Larissa Crummer, who has not featured at W-League level this season having only recently recovered from a serious ankle injury.
Crummer made her entrance into the game for Vlajnic in the 58th minute, who herself had enjoyed a productive day having provided a number of quality crosses.
The Matildas forward tried her hand but was unable to help impact the scoreboard as Jess Fishlock’s first half free-kick was cancelled out by Racheal Quigley’s second half strike.
The result leaves City without a win since early December, as they slip five points off the pace at the top of the ladder.