W-League: Star Matildas striker signs for Victory

Melbourne’s Victory’s attempts to reach a fourth straight W-League finals have received a major boost with the signing of star Matildas striker Lisa De Vanna.

And the northern suburbs continued their strong recent history of contributing players to the women’s national league when Melbourne Victory’s W-League squad was named last week.

Bundoora United will have four players in Melbourne Victory’s 20-player squad for the W-League season, which starts on Sunday.

Striker Caitlin Friend, midfielder Gulcan Koca, midfielder-forward Enza Barilla and goalkeeper Bri Davey all played for Victory in a pre-season friendly against the women’s premier league all-stars at the weekend. The match finished 0-0.

PICTURE GALLERY: Melbourne Victory v WPL all-stars

Midfielders Koca and Barilla were two of Melbourne’s better players and will now battle international imports Jessica Fishlock (Wales) and Katie Hoyle (New Zealand) for places in the starting XI.

De Vanna’s signing gives Melbourne one of the highest profile players in women’s football.

The 28-year-old, who has scored 26 goals in 75 matches for the Matildas, moved to Melbourne for personal reasons in the off-season and was more than happy to sign when Victory made an approach.

“Having some of the younger players from Melbourne come through the ranks in the national team like Steph (Catley) and Bri (Davey) influenced me to come here,” De Vanna said.

“There’s a young, humble group of players here, players who want to play and do well. It made me think, why not join Melbourne?”

Melbourne’s season opener is against Sydney FC at Lakeside Stadium (3pm) in a repeat of last season’s grand final. Sydney won that match 3-1.