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Anna Harrington

ALW champions Victory lure Kellond-Knight

Matildas midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight has signed with A-League Women champions Melbourne Victory. (Daniel Pockett/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Defending A-League Women champions Melbourne Victory have pulled off a recruiting coup, signing Matildas midfielder Elise Kellond-Knight.

The 32-year-old is looking to build form and fitness ahead of next year's Women's World Cup and links up with a familiar face in Victory coach Jeff Hopkins.

Kellond-Knight and Hopkins' association at the Queensland Academy of Sport (QAS) pre-dates the A-League Women while they also won silverware together at Brisbane Roar.

"I've got so much time for KK as a person, as a player," Hopkins told AAP.

"An amazing player, definitely one of the most gifted players I think I've ever worked with in the women's game.

"When I haven't been coaching her, I've followed her career. I've tried to sign her a couple of times in the past

"It's a great coup for the club to get a player of that quality. I'm really looking forward to getting her here and to work with her as well.

"She's going to be great for the culture of the club, she's going to be great for the quality and obviously what we're trying to do this year, to push forward past what we did last year."

Kellond-Knight was named in Australia's squad to face Sweden and Thailand but hasn't taken the field for the Matildas since the Tokyo Olympics qualifiers in early 2020.

She tore her ACL while playing in Sweden in July, 2020, and later needed further knee surgery and a lengthy rehabilitation process.

"I'm excited to be returning to the A-League with Melbourne Victory and helping the team lift their third consecutive championship," Kellond-Knight said in a statement.

"Jeff and the team have created an environment that looks to push for success every season and that is something I want to be a part of."

Kellond-Knight is poised to form a commanding midfield partnership with fellow Matilda Alex Chidiac.

While prepared to take a patient approach with Kellond-Knight after her injury, Hopkins expected her to hit the ground running.

"She's ready to go. She's got her goals as well around our club but also with the national team as well and the World Cup coming not too far away," he said.

"She'll be pushing hard to do her best and for us that will be a fantastic sight to see, but also for the national team as well.

"If you can get a fully fit KK firing on all cylinders, she's going to be a great asset as well to have for the national team."

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