City star praises Victory striker ahead of Melbourne derby

W-League star and Matilda Kyah Simon has earned plenty of plaudits for her goals over the seasons.
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But the Melbourne City forward is full of admiration for her opposite number at Melbourne Victory, Natasha Dowie, who will be doing her utmost to ensure Victory continue City’s miserable start to the season when the pair clash in the first Melbourne derby of the new W-League season this Friday night.

Dowie, an England international, and Simon are former teammates and the n star knows just how dangerous the big Victory forward and captain can be.

“She’s a great player, a great striker and a great leader within the group. They have definitely recruited well and are continually getting better,” Simon said of her Victory opponents.

“Tasha is a quality player. I played with her in Boston [in North America’s NWSL].

“One of her great traits is no matter how bad the team is playing around her, she’s always upholding herself in such a high manner and is able to score goals when the run of play is going against her.

“I have played with and against her, and she is a quality striker, she can score goals at any time.

“If the team gets better around her then there’s no doubt that with any player they are going to excel in the environment that they are in as well.”

City crashed to a 4-1 defeat in the opening round, a grand final rematch with Perth Glory.

But there were extenuating circumstances.

First-choice goalkeeper Lydia Williams was unavailable – she will be back between the posts on Friday night, Simon said on Tuesday – and reserve goalkeeper Emily Shields broke a hand in the warm-up, meaning 18-year-old Emily Kenshole was pressed into action at short notice.

Simon equalised after Perth took the lead, but City conceded three goals in the last 15 minutes. But the Matildas stalwart saw enough in the performance to give her confidence for the rest of the campaign.

“We outpossessed them in a lot of the game. We took a lot of positives away, I think we played some quality football in the game,” she said.

“They had five chances and finished four of them, we had about 20 chances and only finished one.

“I was happy and feeling pleased with how my body felt. I can only take the positives having had two major surgeries and coming back and doing what I love again, that’s being out there with the girls and playing football. I am hoping each week that goes by match fitness will get better.

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