Four points from the opening two fixtures of the season is no poor haul by any stretch of the imagination, but when the club has won three of the four seasons its been in the league, a higher level of success becomes expected.
Emily van Egmond knew that she would be walking into massive expectations with her southern switch—she’s an Australian international joining three-time W-League champions—but the Novocastrian has counselled patience with the star-studded squad.
According to the 26-year-old, even the strongest rosters need time to come together, and get into a rhythm that can challenge for the title. There’s just a little gelling that’s need doing first. After all, Rome wasn’t built in a day.
“Our squad is second to none and there are no excuses when it comes to who we have on the park, but sometimes those things can take a bit of time to build,” she said.
“We’re definitely on the right track and it’s a process and we’re all fully aware of it. Sometimes with soccer sometimes you’ve just got to play to the conditions and we showed great character down in Canberra to get the three points in the last minute.
“You just have to give it time—Rome wasn’t built in a day. Now that we have our full squad on board, we just have to keep buying into the process, we’re really enjoying our time under coach Rado Vidošić, and I think you’ll see us grow week by week.”
The team is already growing with the help of Van Egmond too. In the first week, her long-range cracker secured a draw against her hometown team the Jets. A week later, she nicked an injury-time goal to lock City into a 2-1 win over United.
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She’s given the women in sky blue instant impact just two games into her Melbourne stint, and says she’s happy to keep her scoring record up if she can. The midfielder is also happy, she said, to slot wherever the team needs her to be.
“Wherever I can help the team I’m happy to do so, for me it doesn’t matter who’s scoring the goals, as long as we’re winning, that’s the most important thing,” she said.
“I don’t mind playing either as a six, or higher up, it doesn’t bother me. It all depends on what the coach thinks is best for the team, and what fits best, and obviously the right balance,” she added regarding her positional preference.
“Of course, it’s enjoyable to be closer to the goal, and scoring the goals, but because we possess the ball so much it can be just as enjoyable playing a bit deeper and being on the ball lots. I’m happy just to help the team.”
Emily returns to the park in her third appearance for Melbourne on Saturday evening, as she looks to continue her brilliant start to life in the Victorian capital with another three-point performance, and maybe even another goal.
For Newcastle’s W-League fans, City’s kick-off time couldn’t be more perfect: the Jets take to the field in their first game of the season at McDonald Jones Stadium from 4.30pm, before Emily’s Melbourne kicks off at 7.30pm later the same night.
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City coach Vidošić also confirmed Emily wasn’t locked into her metronome role she had been placed in for the first two fixtures. Instead, he would be toying with the lineup over the next few W-League rounds, starting with United.
“It will be more on a game-by-game basis, but we like to control the game in the opponents’ half,” the Melbourne coach explained, and suggested Van Egmond’s power ahead of the defensive line was a key part of City’s setup.
“With two at the back against the Jets (a 1-1 draw) it was noticeable that sometimes we got exposed. In the W-League, there are always turnovers and if you are exposed and (not) organised at the back, you get punished.”