Melbourne Victory v Wellington Phoenix: A-League playoffs preview

The Wellington Phoenix head into their first playoffs appearance since 2015, when they take on the Victory in Melbourne on Saturday night.

So, what chance do they have of stunning the defending champions? 


Third-placed finishers - 15 wins, five draws, seven losses, +18 goal difference


Sixth-placed finishers - 11 wins, seven draws, nine losses, +3 goal difference


Victory: The champions have endured a stop-start season, but have accrued more points than last campaign. The only team to beat Victory at AAMI Park this season are Perth.

Wellington: The 'Nix rested senior players in their last-out 5-0 loss to the Glory and haven't travelled well this year. They have just two wins in Australia in 2019, over the Wanderers and Mariners.


Rd 10: Victory 1-1 Wellington, Melbourne

Rd 14: Victory 3-3 Wellington, Melbourne

Rd 19: Wellington 1-1 Victory, Auckland


Phoenix coach Rudan with captain Andrew Durante.
Phoenix coach Rudan with captain Andrew Durante. Photo credit: Photosport

Victory: Kevin Muscat. True to form, Muscat has battled with all-comers this season - opposing coaches, Socceroos boss Graham Arnold and FFA over pitch quality. He  prides himself on being a man for the big occasion and will ensure his team jump up too.

Wellington: Mark Rudan. In contrast to Victory's experienced boss, Wellington have Rudan in the dugout. He will be coach his first final - and possibly last for the club - before leaving for expansion side Western United.


Victory: Ola Toivonen. No man finishes more chances in the league than Victory's Swedish frontman. His battle with veteran defender Andrew Durante could decide the contest.

Wellington: Roy Krishna. The Fijian flyer finished on top of the Golden Boot race, after his best A-League season, leading reports of Victory interest.

Phoenix star Roy Krishna.
Phoenix star Roy Krishna. Photo credit: Getty


Once sharing an annual battle on Melbourne Cup eve, the rivalry was at its peak when former Victory boss Ernie Merrick signed Gui Finkler and Kosta Barbarouses in 2016. This match could start a major rivalry between Muscat and Rudan, given the latter will be moving to Melbourne next season.


Class tells. In Keisuke Honda, Toivonen and Georg Niedermeier, Victory have internationally pedigreed players on each line of their formation. If Terry Antonis can step into James Troisi's position and play well, surely Victory have too much.

Victory goal-scoring machine Toivonen.
Victory goal-scoring machine Toivonen. Photo credit: Getty


Breakaway speed. With the benefit of giving senior players a rest last week, the Phoenix will be primed to catch Victory's fullbacks cold on the counter. Filip Kurto, a superb signing in goal, will also need a good match.


Wellington have plenty of threats, but it's hard to go past Victory on their home deck. 2-1 Victory.


Join us for live updates of Victory v Phoenix from 9:30pm Friday.