Tuesday's trip up the Hume Highway to Wodonga was well worth it for Melbourne Victory's W-League coach Jeff Hopkins.
The W-League Coach of the Year was very impressed with the female talent on display during two training sessions at La Trobe.
"The standard of the group in the morning was really high," Hopkins said.
"It's great to see girls of that quality with that enthusiasm for the game.
"I worked with the younger girls in the morning and the older girls in the afternoon.
"There's some real quality and depth of quality, I'm very impressed."
Melbourne Victory has formed a strong partnership with Border NPL outfit Murray United this year and have made a number of trips to the region with the club's pre-academy centre.
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Hopkins highlighted the importance of investing in regional areas and ensuring the same opportunities are available as for players in the major cities.
"We've had a good relationship with this club (Murray United) for a fair while," Hopkins said.
"Obviously it's really important that we have an interest and presence in regional areas, for us to grow our brand as well.
"From my point-of-view, it's important for the girls to see there's a link and a pathway to Melbourne Victory, to our academy and to our W-League side.
"We haven't yet (got an academy) for the girls, but we have plans for that.
"The important thing is we're out here looking and it's important they understand that as well.
"We're trying to build this base of players and sometimes they don't realise the opportunities that are out there.
"We're trying to make the players aware of the pathway.
"You see the World Cup, young girls can be making a living out of the game and forge a career.
"It was obviously a bit disappointing the Matildas didn't go a bit further, but I think the women's game is riding the crest of a wave at the moment and it's important to keep things moving forward."
Hopkins said the sessions varied, with the younger players working on certain skill acquisition, while the older girls' training was more based around defence.
"We worked on one versus one beating players in the morning and I was really impressed with the younger girls and how comfortable they are on the ball and their ability to go past players as well," Hopkins said.
"Nearly every one of them had a trick or two, so they're obviously doing a lot of good work and getting a lot of good coaching here.
"With the older girls, it was more of a defensive session in the game training phase and building into decision-making and team tactics."
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