Jeff Hopkins was full of praise for Natasha Dowie and the rest of his Melbourne Victory team after they narrowly defeated Brisbane Roar 3-2 in Brisbane's opening match.
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It was a return to winning ways for the reigning Premiers after his side slumped to dispiriting 3-0 loss to Sydney FC in the W-League's opening Big Blue last weekend.
After a horrid performance that Dowie exclaimed was "not good enough at all" Hopkins could barely hide his relief.
"I think Clare Polkinghorne was really very, very determined to stop Tash from playing and it was a great battle between the two of them," Hopkins said.
"I was really proud of the way Tash reacted to the challenge, she never stopped putting her body on the line and she was very clever with the way she did things as well.
"It was just a great battle between the two of them, two very good, experienced players and you always felt that Tash would get something and just the way she kept going right until the end, it made me very proud of the way that she played and definitely a captain's performance.
"She showed good experience, good quality but also good leadership. I can't speak highly enough of her from the performance."
“Acrobacias”, por Natasha Dowie https://t.co/Zj51kPISG7— Melina Melinae (@melinae07) November 21, 2019
Victory now head to the inagural AFC Club Championship where they'll face the best in Asia over a hectic week.
Star goalkeeper Casey Dumont has already stated - after a fantastic display in which she saved a Tameka Yallop penalty - that the competition gives them an advantage as they'll return even fitter.
"She's good mates with Tameka as well," Hopkins said.
"She's played with her a lot so maybe that little bit of local knowledge made all the difference," he said.
"But a fantastic save, she got down to it, it wasn't a bad penalty either, it was actually a really good save.
"And not just the penalty. When we were under pressure at the end and in different periods in the game, she really stood up, she dominated the balls in the air into the box which is a strength of hers, but also how she got down to a number of really well-struck strikes on goal and managed to not just save them, but to push them to the side of the goal as well, it's a real credit to her."