Revived W-League champions Melbourne Victory believe they can retain their crown after locking up a semi-final berth with an impressive 4-0 win over Newcastle Jets.
A hat-trick from forward Racheal Quigley ensured the Victory secured their third straight triumph having previously gone four matches without a win to leave their title hopes hanging by a thread a month ago.
“I think we can go all the way,” said Victory coach Joe Montemurro.
“I’m proud of the way the players have comported themselves and the way they have gone about things.
“We set ourselves the target to get into the finals and as I’ve said all along, it’s one game at a time, one situation and one team at a time and I think we just gained some nice momentum.”
After a tight opening against the Jets at Lakeside Stadium, the Victory broke the deadlock with goals in quick succession from Quigley and teenager Beattie Goad to take a stranglehold on the contest.
Quigley netted twice more in the second half with Matildas forward Lisa De Vanna setting up three of the Victory’s goals.
Perth Glory remain well clear at the top of the ladder, while Melbourne’s win puts them in second, three points clear of both Canberra United and Sydney FC, with the Jets a further four points adrift in fifth.
All three teams, however, have two matches in hand on the Victory who now head to Japan for next weekend’s International Women’s Club Challenge as Australian champions.
At the other end of the table, Adelaide United and Western Sydney Wanderers played out a 2-2 draw meaning both remain in contention to collect the wooden spoon.
Wanderers midfielder Keelin Winters scored contentiously-awarded penalties in each half to cancel out Emily Condon’s early strike, while teenage substitute Alexandra Chidiac drew the home side level with 20 minutes remaining.
The result leaves the Wanderers on the bottom level with Brisbane Roar who have a match in hand.