AFLW – Last Quarter Dash Can’t Save Dees

February 4, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons 

Round 4 – Adelaide V Melbourne

Liam Chambers



As we discovered last week, the Dees are vulnerable when the opposition play a high pressure game. Unfortunately Adelaide exploited this weakness mercilessly.

The Saints maintained the rage for three quarters but the Crows are made of sterner stuff. To add to our woes, we were facing possibly the tightest defence in the competition. Throw in the highly partisan Norwood Oval and Melbourne was going to struggle to play their favoured contested game.

The girls were under the pump from the first bounce. It didn’t take Adelaide’s top player, Erin Phillips, long to make an impact. The half chance in front of goal was all she needed to turn and snap the ball through for the Crow’s first. Up the other end, Tayla Harris was awarded a free kick on the 50m line. Her set shot sailed to the left of the goal square where Daisy Pearce almost took a contested mark before it bounced behind for a minor score.

Adelaide was relentless in their forward pressure. Melbourne kept absorbing the heat but eventually Erin Phillips broke through again with an opportunistic soccer kick along the ground of the goal square. Even though the Crows dominated inside 50 for most of the term, the Dees denied them several chances to add to the goal tally. Libby Birch in particular was stellar in defence.

The signs of frustration were evident in the second quarter with Melbourne giving away unnecessary free kicks. Adelaide was determined not to let their rivals settle and the Dees had everyone back trying to contain the onslaught. The tactic limited Melbourne’s options when they had the chance to plow forward so few territorial gains were made.

Even when we eventually arrived at our forward 50, the Crows’ defence was clinical. Eliza McNamara had one of the best chances of the term but her shot in front of goal veered left.

Having failed to score a goal in the first half, the Dees had at least kept Adelaide to a fifteen point margin. Still, it would be an uphill endeavor to claw back some momentum. We needed a goal and quickly. Unfortunately the next major was again off the boot of Erin Phillips.

Melbourne went all out but the Crows’ tackling was brutal, limiting any attempts Melbourne made to gain territory. Then Rachelle Martin made a mountain out of the previously difficult hill when her set shot from 35m sailed, like a poisoned arrow, through the heart of the Melbourne faithful.

Still goalless at three quarter time, the only glimmer for the Dees was the fact that Adelaide had wasted a multitude of chances to put the result beyond doubt.

Trailing by thirty two points is never good and our prospects were looking extremely bleak. However, Melbourne can usually be counted on for a rousing final quarter. It was desperately needed.
Right on cue Daisy Pearce managed to get a toe to the sherrin on the 50m line, placing it into the path of Tayla Harris and enabling the key forward to run on and score.

With Lauren Pearce off with an ankle injury, Eden Zanker took over in the ruck. The adjustment seemed to give the Dees more opportunities to go forward. Casey Sherriff launched a long kick from 55m to Daisy Pearce, who took the mark in the goal square before tapping it in for the second of the term.

Suddenly Melbourne had their tails up but had they left it too late? Adelaide didn’t give up but the Dees looked more in control, deflecting attacks with confidence. The counter attacks were more successful but finding additional goals proved elusive.

That’s the way it stayed until the dying seconds when Daisy Pearce took another contested mark. Her set shot and goal after the siren proved decisive to keeping Melbourne’s number three position on the ladder.

While overall, the Dees’ performance was unconvincing against the potential champions, there was some very positive moments in the final term. There’s a lot of work to be done regarding how we manage the high pressure game.

Undoubtedly, the Gold Coast Suns will take note and we can expect the same intensity at Casey Fields on Saturday night. We have a talented and experienced side but we need to adjust more quickly to the circumstances.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!



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