Brisbane Given A Lesson In Lion Taming

April 2, 2021 by
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons 

Round 9 – Melbourne V Brisbane

Liam Chambers

When the final three AFLW Rounds were announced almost a month ago, most punters and even die hard Demon fans felt the task was almost insurmountable for Melbourne. Fast forwarded to Casey Fields last Saturday and even top of the table Brisbane suddenly seemed less daunting.

The Dees confidence was high and they now believe they can beat anyone. Even though the Lions kicked the first goal thanks to Jesse Wardlaw, Melbourne wasn’t phased and went on the attack, exerting major pressure to keep Brisbane in their defensive half. The Lions fought back, but the Dees kept forging ahead. When Alyssa Bannan outran her pursuers, she was able to get the sherrin inside 50 where Shelley Scott kicked a brilliant shot on goal, bending it towards the target and sealing her first of the evening.

When the rains came down, the wet conditions seemed to favour Melbourne even though they couldn’t add to the scoreboard. Their defence was in top form, especially Meg Downie who is playing great footy after her return from injury. Unfortunately the inspirational Daisy Pearce suffered an knee injury in the first quarter and may miss playing in the finals. We wish her a speedy recovery and know she will still play a pivotal coaching role for the Dees.

After an even sided first term, the Lions took hold of the reins early in the second. First Dakota Davidson, then Courtney Hodder kicked goals to push Brisbane’s lead out to eleven points. Hodder’s goal was particularly spectacular after a great run; even kicking the ball to herself before scoring. Just when things were looking grim for the Dees, Karen Paxman put on a spectacle of her own, scoring from 40m out (ably assisted by Tegan Cunningham).

Demon joy was short lived however as Dakota Davidson got her second from a set shot and the Lions were again in the ascendancy. That was until the in form Shelley Scott showed Brisbane how it’s done. First with a one handed pickup and then with a burst through the Brisbane defence to kick another superb bender that sailed through the uprights to double her tally. However jubilation turned to sorrow for the fans right on the siren when Taylor Smith landed another for the visitors.

Brisbane started the second half determined to put the Dees away . Nearly all the play was in Melbourne’s defensive half for the first five minutes. They defended well but the Lions kept up the barrage and finally Lauren Arnell broke through to score Brisbane’s sixth. The hill had just got a little higher for the Dees but they didn’t panic and continued to fight for the game. It was a hard battle. Even when Melbourne was able to spend some time inside their own goal area, Brisbane kept pushing them back.

Finally the Dees got their reward when Cunningham kicked the ball to inside 50 where Paxman collected it with a diving mark. Her set shot was knocked down before being collected by Scott who slipped behind the Lions’ defence to claim her hat trick. The Lions attempted to hit back straightaway but Melbourne’s defence frustrated all Brisbane efforts.

The Dees began the last quarter trailing by eleven points. They would need to pull out all the stops to topple the league leaders and secure a home final berth. Brisbane were equally determined to retain their top spot on the ladder. It was Brisbane who blinked first when Alyssa Bannan’s lob from forty metres out sailed through the uprights and reduced the margin to one goal. Within a minute, Tyla Hanks was chasing the sherrin through traffic, twisting and turning before snapping one off the outside of her boot and giving Melbourne the lead.

There was a brief period of confusion when Paxman marked the ball but the Umpire called play on, giving Brisbane the advantage. Then almost immediately there was a free awarded to Brisbane on the 50m line; another dubious call. I had to quickly check that the Ref hadn’t secretly donned a Lions’ guernsey. Brisbane tried to seize the momentum but the Dees defended valiantly.

Lauren Magee was having the game of her short AFLW career, tackling brilliantly and denying Brisbane several times. Then Dee after Dee tackled and fought to get the ball out of their defensive 50. The last ten minutes were frenetic with both sides fighting ferociously for the honours. Shelley Heath made some great tackles to keep the pressure on the Lions.

When Maddie Gay marked from forty five metres out, her kick didn’t quite make the distance but the Dees were able to scramble another point. Brisbane almost had a game winning chance but Melbourne again played clever defence to deny the favourites. The last fifty seconds was hard fought and there was still one more twist to come. Greta Bodey was awarded a free right on the siren and the crowd held it’s collective breath. Fortunately her kick didn’t make the distance and Melbourne secured a famous victory.

The win means the Dees have a home final. It won’t be easy though and Fremantle will want to avenge their loss from Round 8. On current form though I feel comfortable having a flutter on Melbourne.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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