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Anna Harrington

ALW champions Victory to embrace pressure

Defending champions Melbourne Victory will open their A-League Women season against Western United. (James Gourley/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Melbourne Victory enter the A-League Women season as back-to-back champions on the verge of history and coach Jeff Hopkins says they'll embrace their lofty ambitions.

Victory have won the past two grand finals and could join Melbourne City as the only teams to win three consecutive championships, while Hopkins would be the only coach to do so.

The league's most successful coach, Hopkins wouldn't shy away from Victory's desire for more silverware but didn't want to look too far beyond Saturday's season opener against Western United.

"We've talked about it because it's not worth it to put it to one side," Hopkins told reporters on Friday.

"It's definitely something that as a group within our four walls that we're thinking about and we're pushing towards but I think what we understand is that we need to start again and we need to build.

"We've gone so far. We need to start again. Every season you start from fresh.

"What we've got is a couple of great years behind us ... and we've got that to fall back on. We've got that experience but end of the day we're on zero points with everyone else at the moment.

"That's the way that we're looking. We need to start again, we need to build again and build a really strong platform for us to go forward from through the middle and to the end of the season.

"We're not thinking about grand finals today, we're thinking about tomorrow's game, but our goal is definitely to to be in that grand final and to be winning the thing again."

The league's expansion to 18 games across 20 rounds, before going to a full 22-game home and away season next year, will make both winning the premiership and championship a marathon rather than a sprint.

Hopkins joked Victory's COVID-19 affected run into last season's finals, when they played seven games in 23 days, would hold the champions in good stead.

"The expansion of the league is fantastic, it's great," he said.

"It's a great step forward for the league and obviously next year as well, another step forward.

"As coaches, the more games you get, the more you get to test yourself, the more you get to maybe offer more opportunities to face different different challenges as well.

"For us, the team has really embraced it as well. They just want to play football, they want to play games."

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