Victory Morwell-bound as title defence kicks off

Defending A-League champions Melbourne Victory will play a pre-season friendly against Brisbane Roar in Morwell next month. file photograph

Defending A-League champions Melbourne Victory will play a pre-season friendly against Brisbane Roar in Morwell next month. file photograph

The A-League will blow into Morwell next month when reigning champions Melbourne Victory come to town to head a friendly against the Brisbane Roar at Latrobe City Sports and Entertainment Stadium.

Latrobe Valley soccer fans will be treated to a first look at the Victory in their first pre-season hit-out ahead of the season opener against cross-town rivals Melbourne City in October.

The formative home of Victory ambassador Archie Thompson, who played at Morwell alongside fellow A-League legend John Hutchinson for Gippsland Falcons in the National Soccer League, will return to the national spotlight for the blockbuster on September 1.

Victory coach Kevin Muscat said pre-season clashes were vital for clubs at the top tier.

"Pre-season games against A-League opposition play a big part in our preparation for the new season, it's important for the playing group to get minutes into the legs," Muscat said.

"We're looking forward to the change of scenery and hope to see a large number of Victory supporters in Morwell."

The club has become a regular presence in Gippsland, playing a W-League game in Morwell last year followed by Latrobe Valley junior clinics in March and an Indigenous gala day at Churchill earlier this month.

Victory will also bring a host of community activities to the region ahead of the big game, including a Miniroos hub on August 25 and super clinic on the eve of the game on August 31.

Latrobe City mayor Darrell White said the A-League pre-season fixture was a huge coup for the region.

"Latrobe City has a long tradition of sporting excellence and we are excited to host two A-League powerhouses in our municipality," Cr White said.

"Council is undertaking a major redevelopment of the Morwell stadium to create a new hub for Gippsland football, which will be utilised not only to attract these magnificent events but also to develop, nurture and inspire the next generation of Gippsland's elite athletes to follow in the footsteps of Archie Thompson and reach their full potential."

The event forms part of the State Government's $85 million Latrobe Valley Sports and Community initiative.

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