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Matildas' past and future converge in Victory's 'amazing' attack

Lisa De Vanna, Kyra Cooney-Cross Source: Getty Images

With the W-League Premiers Plate going down to the final match tonight, Melbourne Victory coach Jeff Hopkins has hailed two of his stars: Kyra Cooney-Cross and Lisa De Vanna.

Victory take on Sydney FC tonight in the final regular season match, with three points guaranteed to see either side top the W-League table.

While a draw would also achieve that outcome for the Sky Blues, Victory must win to leapfrog Sydney and Brisbane Roar - so it's all-or-nothing for the Victorians who have to attack.

And it is two of their most potent attacking weapons, Cooney-Cross and De Vanna, who came under head coach Hopkins' spotlight on the TWG Live Show on Wednesday.

Standout talents of their respective generations, they also perhaps represent the Matildas' future and past while overlapping in the present for Victory.

Cooney-Cross has a phenomenal strike record at youth level for Australia  - 14 goals in 14 appearances for the U-17s, seven goals in eight for the U-20s - and at 19 years old is being hailed as the next big thing for Australian football.

De Vanna, meanwhile, is the Matildas all-time top scorer and the second-most capped Australian international - currently just one game shy of Cheryl Salisbury's appearances record.

"I've seen huge development in Cooney-Cross," said Hopkins to TWG hosts Lucy Zelic and David Basheer.

"She's still quiet, but I think she's definitely matured off the field - and on the field she's been amazing for us this year.

"I'm really excited for her and for Australian football, really, because she's going to be the next big thing for sure.

"Look, some of the things she can do with the ball... The way she can go past players just so effortlessly, she's got great pace, she can finish with both feet.

"She can be whatever she wants to be, so been very very pleased with her this year, and obviously thankful that we've got a player like her in our side cause she's a real match-winner.

Discussing his thoughts on tonight's match, Hopkins pointed to his side's strengths, such as the in-form De Vanna, rather than any weakness he thought Sydney might have.

"With the quality that we've got ... we'll cause problems for any side," he said.

"We've got Lisa De Vanna still doing it and playing out of her skin at the moment - she was amazing on the weekend.

"The pace and intensity she brings to the game is just-- I've just never seen a player like her!"

"She brings an amazing passion to the game. Sometimes that sort of passion can maybe scare a few people.

"I think what she's done this year, though, is use that passion on the field to her best advantage.

"It's rubbed off on a few of our younger players as well.

"She's really passionate about the development of the game and the women's game.

"So she wants to help, wants to help players develop, and she's been fantastic with our younger girls.

"She won't let them get away with anything, so she's great for me as well. I don't have to keep players on their toes cause if she spots things before I do, she deals with them.

"I think she does things the right way as well. She'll give one or two players a bit of a blast but then she'll put her arm around them as well.

"You can see in terms of Kyra [Cooney-Cross], Polly Doran, Mindy Barbieri - the young girls are really stepping up cause they've got a good role model and someone who definitely keeps them on their toes as well."

The Sydney FC v Melbourne Victory W-League match kicks off 19:35 AEDT tonight.

Source SBS The World Game