SEVEN WAYS FOR VIC­TORY TO BOUNCE BACK

Australian Four Four Two - - 99 THINGS TO WATCH OUT FOR THIS SEASON -

15 KEVIN MUS­CAT NEEDS A PLAN B

Vic­tory dom­i­nated teams in 2016/17 and their glam­orous play­ers stood up to the chal­lenge, but when it came to stronger op­po­si­tion or an off-day they were found out. It showed in the Grand Fi­nal as Mus­cat made just one change tak­ing off Fahid Ben Khal­fal­lah for Jai Ingham in ex­tra-time. The squad needs more ver­sa­til­ity rather than like-for-like. And now with Marco Ro­jas’s de­par­ture, Mus­cat needs to have a few tricks up his sleeve.

16 FIND A WAY TO BEAT SYD­NEY FC

Vic­tory were un­able to crack their in­ter­state ri­vals last sea­son and were beaten in all four meet­ings in­clud­ing the cru­cial Grand Fi­nal, de­spite Vic­tory’s im­pres­sive squad. Syd­ney have since lost five key play­ers from their Cham­pi­onship side but still have Johnny War­ren Medal win­ner Mi­los Ninkovic, cap­tain Alex Brosque and new sign­ing Luke Wilkshire. The Sky Blues may well meet Vic­tory again in the fi­nals and this time they need to find a win­ning edge.

17 IN­TER­NA­TION­ALS NEED A BIG SEA­SON

The na­tional team play­ers in Vic­tory’s squad plan to hit top form to make it into Ange Postecoglou’s World Cup for Rus­sia in 2018. Mus­cat likes to re­cruit play­ers who have already proved them­selves in the A-League and Mark Mil­li­gan and James Troisi re­main firmly in top con­tention for Aus­tralia while Rhys Wil­liams could also be in the mix. Kosta Bar­barouses and Jai Ingham will also be look­ing to be in the All Whites squad if the Ki­wis make the World Cup.

18 JA­SON GERIA NEEDS TO STAND UP OR SHIP OUT AT RIGHT­BACK

As we go to press, Geria re­mains the only right­back in Vic­tory’s squad for the up­com­ing sea­son. The Can­berra-born Aussie en­joyed a big 2015/16 which got him into two Soc­ceroos camps in 2016, play­ing his first and only game against Greece. Since then Geria slipped out of the spot­light in 2016/17 and ad­mit­ted his down­turn in form ahead of the fi­nals. The 24-year-old will now un­der pres­sure to turn things around.

19 TIME FOR THOMAS DENG’S BREAK­OUT SEA­SON

He needs to break into the squad first, but af­ter the de­par­tures of Nick Ansell and Alan Baro, Deng could be needed this sea­son. The Kenyan-born cen­tre-back has just come off a sea­son loan with Jong PSV in the Eer­ste Divisie where he fea­tured in five games. It is hard to see Vic­tory re­ly­ing solely on Rhys Wil­liams and James Donachie for the whole cam­paign and it could prove to be a great op­por­tu­nity for Deng to prove how good he re­ally is.

20 SE­CURE A PLACE IN THE 2019 ASIAN CHAM­PI­ONS LEAGUE

Many A-League clubs strug­gle to jug­gle do­mes­tic games with the Asian Cham­pi­ons League. It has led to crit­i­cism in the past with some ques­tion­ing the stan­dard and squad depth of the A-League to match it with Asia’s best. Vic­tory made the Round of 16 for the first time in 2016 but fin­ished sixth in the reg­u­lar sea­son. Vic­tory need to go in with the in­ten­tion of want­ing to ex­cel in all cam­paigns rather than fo­cus­ing on one competition. With game time guaranteed to in­ter­na­tion­als Mark Mil­li­gan, James Troisi and Rhys Wil­liams, these boys will be want­ing to play as many matches as pos­si­ble.

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