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Anna Harrington

Victory's Goad ready to shine in ALW derby final

Victory attacker Beattie Goad is enjoying playing with greater freedom since returning to the ALW. (James Ross/AAP PHOTOS) (AAP)

Beattie Goad stopped worrying about her football, started focusing on enjoying it and Melbourne Victory are reaping the rewards.

The talented left winger shapes as one of the keys to Saturday's elimination final against crosstown rivals Melbourne City at Casey Fields after a superb return to the A-League Women.

Goad has juggled first-year medicine studies with her ALW return back in her home town.

After dealing with a high-intensity football experience at Spanish club Tenerife, the 25-year-old has found her experience back in Australia a more rewarding one.

"I wanted to just be a bit more free with how I'm playing and just let loose a little bit," Goad told AAP.

"Since college, I've felt a lot of pressure to perform and now I'm just letting everything go and try to play some more fun.

"It's worked out I guess because I've felt more confident in myself and it has been more fun."

Goad won a championship with Victory as a teenager in 2013-14 then was involved in City's premiership-championship double in their first season in 2015-16 before moving to Stanford University.

The winger then moved to Frauen Bundesliga club SV Meppen, earning two Matildas caps in early 2021, before spending time in Spain.

Victory coach Jeff Hopkins has sung Goad's praises but she hasn't been properly in the Matildas frame since those early caps, bar extended squads.

"I'd love to be a part of that squad and I'm striving for that but I'm also focusing on Melbourne Victory as a team and our games," she said.

"Because when you get ahead of yourself, you either put too much pressure on or you put on a cocky head and you play not how you usually play.

"It's in the back of my mind, as it is with any player but I'd say I'm focusing on finals for the moment."

Goad, 25, joined a Victory team aiming to complete a championship three-peat, starting with winning the first of three sudden-death finals on Saturday.

She has one goal, five assists and has created 31 chances this season in a Victory team that just scraped into the finals on goal difference.

"I definitely think I owe Jeff quite a few goals - I definitely need to step up," she joked.

"We've still got things to show and we've still got potential that's not been shown throughout the season

"It's pretty exciting to know that there's still more to come.

"We're just trying to shrug everything aside and focus on finals - it's a new set of games so anything can happen really."

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