Heaven 17 – Melbourne v North Melbourne

February 20, 2021 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons 

Liam Chambers

I’m not sure what the players had for breakfast but both sides began at a frenetic pace that barely slowed for the entire game.

Kate Hore had an early chance but only managed a minor score. Karen Paxman was typically on form apart from a miskick back across goal which was collected by North Melbourne, allowing Grace Campbell a set shot in front of goal. Then Melbourne were penalised for not returning the footy and Emma Kearney slotted the Roos’ second.

The Dees would have been frustrated to give the opposition two easy goals so early in the game but they fought on, tackling hard. They were rewarded when Shelley Scott marked the ball thirty five metres out but disappointedly converted for a minor score. Then Kate Hore’s banana kick from the sideline was marked by Jacqui Parry from the pack in front of goal. Her easy miss from Round 2 would have been in the back of her mind, however she didn’t miss this time and Melbourne went in at quarter time only trailing by four points.

The second term started at 100mph. Jacqui Parry continued to mark well and her passing play was impressive. You could see the Dees upping their game as Kate Hore kicked their second. When Tegan Cunningham marked and scored from thirty metres, the margin stretched to eight points. Melbourne’s tackling was ferocious and effective; especially Lily Mithen who seemed to be everywhere. Niamh McEvoy’s kick to Scott was marked and kicked for one of the goals of the match.

The Dees onslaught was interrupted briefly when Daisy Bateman got one back. North Melbourne were good in defence but the Dees were making the most of their opportunities. Parry didn’t waste her chance when she was awarded a free kick twenty metres in front of goal. Melbourne was pouncing on everything and everything was going their way. Tegan Cunningham got her second from another free to increase the lead to twenty points. However the icing on the quarter came when Parry launched a superb running kick in the last minute of the term to score her hat trick.

After an incredible second term, the Dees needed to be careful not to let their guard against such a quality opposition. However, nothing was going to stop the Roos’ attempt to redress the balance. Jasmine Garner’s opening goal of the second half was an important strike for North Melbourne and put the Dees on notice as the margin was reduced back to twenty points.

The Roos were going in hard and Melbourne struggled to hold them off despite the valiant effort in defence. Daria Bannister was channeling Alyssa Bannan from last week when she scored back to back goals for North Melbourne in less than a minute. With Dees nerve’s fluttering, Karen Paxman provided the perfect antidote with her kick from thirty five metres in front of goal.

The Roos continued to push hard but Melbourne’s defence fought equally hard. Unfortunately Sinead Goldrick gave away a free kick in front of goal and Sophie Abbatangelo didn’t miss from point blank range. With the difference only seven points North Melbourne threw everything at their goal. The Dees were equally motivated to prevent a last minute tragedy. Then Goldrick redeemed herself brilliantly by marking the ball in front of goal with only seconds to go.

Melbourne knew they couldn’t afford to sit back trying to protect their lead for the full final term so they went in hard to try and sew up the result. Now it was North Melbourne’s turn to scramble in defence as the Dees tackled hard, hoping to get the upper hand. With the Roos getting a break against the run of play, Captain Daisy Pearce, stellar in defence all night, made an important smother and chased the attack to the sideline. The Dees defence was in overdrive.

Suddenly back up the other end, Casey Sherriff tried a soccer kick at goal but only just missed, slipping wide for a minor. Just as suddenly, the Roos were on the of Melbourne’s defensive inside 50 and Isabella Eddey received a good pass before kicking directly into goal and reducing the Dees’ lead to two points.

Melbourne went on the offensive, desperate not to lose, having been twenty seven points ahead at half time. Alyssa Bannan has a chance from 35 metres out but only managed a minor score. The Dees kept pushing forward and the Roos, under extreme pressure, got a lucky break when a high tackle on Goldrick was overlooked by the Umpire. Instead a free was awarded to North Melbourne. The Roos made it all the way to their inside 50 with ninety seconds left but a free kick was given Melbourne’s way.

It was back and forth for the next minute until Bannan snared a free kick on the sideline half way down the pitch. As the ball made it’s way towards the uprights, Bannan reappeared but her kick to goal is touched. However Shelley Scott was taken high as she scrambled for possession. As the siren sounded, it was all academic but Scott took two steps and kicked beautifully to give Melbourne a nine point win.

The victory put the Dees on top of the table for the second Saturday night in a row. This time though, their position was less precarious as they claimed three wins from three games. Last week I felt we were being sorely underestimated when the tipping competition had us a 17% chance to win. Fast forward a week and we’re currently an 82% chance to defeat the Bulldogs on Sunday.

The Dogs have two wins under their belt and a close loss against the Saints, so they won’t be a pushover. If we can play sustain the fighting spirit and skill that’s got us this far, then we’re in a good position to make it an unprecedented four wins in a row.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!

AFLW – Heaven 17 – Melbourne v North

Mithen Crash Tackles Giants In Last Gasp Act

April 4, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, NSW Demons 

Semi Final – Greater Western Sydney Vs Melbourne

It was very sad to hear that both the AFLW and the AFL seasons have come to a premature end. Even though there’s a slim possibility that the AFL season will recommence after 31st May, it’s also highly unlikely.

The AFLW season though has officially been cancelled and no premiership will be awarded. I choose to believe that Melbourne would have beaten Fremantle in the Preliminary Final before going on to win their first Grand Final. Based on their fourth quarter performance against GWS, I don’t believe I am being overly optimistic.

I read a few post match articles that suggested GWS were the underdogs and that Melbourne were the firm favourites. The fact that Melbourne has suffered a string of injuries as well as losing their two Irish recruits; leaving them with a depleted bench of twenty one seemed to have escaped the critics’ notice. In addition, the Giants had a home ground advantage, albeit a silent one. Finally, Melbourne was coming off a Round 6 defeat that had threatened their place in the finals.

Against all these odds, the Dees performance was stellar. We’ve been accused of being wasteful in front of goal and not making the most of scoring opportunities. We had our chances early on but so did the Giants. In fact we were in danger of being over run by a rampant GWS but held our nerve and were saved by the upright on a couple of occasions.

However the fact that we turned in our best fourth quarter of footy in the Club’s short history is testament to the players’ depth of character. Melbourne looked down for the count at the end of the third quarter. They hadn’t scored a single point for the term while the Giants continued to gain confidence with Cora Staunton giving them a three goal advantage ten seconds from the siren.

After the Dees initial fourth quarter burst, it was all GWS; pushing into Demon territory and determined to take home the win. Melbourne weathered wave after wave of onslaught from the Giants before Shelley Scott marked the ball thirty metres out from goal midway through the term. Scott had a relatively quiet afternoon up until then but the mark from a Lily Mithen kick saw her ensuing set shot reduce the margin to nine points.

Suddenly there was hope in the Dees’ Camp and a flutter of doubt crept into the minds of the GWS players. For the next three minutes the Giants defended desperately while Melbourne struggled to gain another six pointer. Finally a free kick was awarded to Sarah Perkins forty metres out and to the right of goal. When Perkins kicked what was one of the most important goals of her career, it was a like an arrow plunging into the heart of Greater Western Sydney. Now with just three minutes to go, it was a ‘next one who scores wins’ scenario.

Melbourne had to go hard and get a third goal and ensure that GWS got nowhere near their inside 50. A terrific mark by Shelley Scott on the edge of the Giants’ inside 50 added to the drama. GWS had every player back defending as Melbourne kept thundering towards the goal. The Giants were trying to maintain possession but then Harriet Cordner was award a free kick at the centre of the field. Ailesh Newman missed the mark but applied enough pressure to cause a stoppage. Lauren Pearce won the hitout and got the ball to Kate Hore who kicked to Lily Mithen who marked the ball in almost the exact spot as Scott a few minutes earlier. It was also near the spot where she had kicked her inaugural goal in the second quarter.

With one minute to go Lily Mithen had a chance to kick her second and potentially the winning goal in a Semi Final. Lily Mithen who hadn’t scored a single goal in her entire AFLW career before this game and now she was the focus of all the Melbourne fans watching around the Country. All those fans were asking the same question: “Can she hold her nerve?” I’ve tried to imagine how it must feel to have that much pressure weighing down on you while you take the most important kick of your career. How do you block out those voices of doubt saying if you miss this opportunity, there are no second chances. We all seen the best players miss a crucial goal in the dying seconds of an all important game. Kick it and it and you’re the hero. Miss it and you’ll play it over and over again in your mind wondering what went wrong.

Well Lily proved that she has the depth to shut out all the external chaos and to focus her mind inwards enabling her to score the goal of her life. If there had been a stadium full of supporters watching, they would have erupted in a massive outburst of euphoria. There was a massive outburst of euphoria in my lounge room as the reality sunk in. When the last twenty five seconds were finally run off the clock, the sound of the siren was like most beautiful aria ever written.

While the celebrations were short lived as the AFL’s decision hit home, we will always have one of our most unlikely victories. In the end though it’s a game and we just have to put off our dreams of Grand Final glory for another year. Let’s hope that once all this virus pandemic passes, the game as we know it can recover and go from strength to strength.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 0.2 1.4 3.7 3.8 (26)
MELBOURNE 0.1 1.5 1.5 4.5 (29)
GWS: Schmidt, Staunton, Dal Pos
Melbourne: Mithen 2, Scott, Perkins

Watch Lily’s interview after the heroics of the semi final:

Demons Suffer From The Blues

March 20, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, NSW Demons 

Farewell Irish

Round 6 – Melbourne Vs Carlton

Liam Chambers

I had written Round 6’s report when I heard that the two remaining AFLW Rounds had been cancelled.

It means that Melbourne has made their first final but it’s not the ideal way to have qualified. Having said that with all our injuries and now the departure of the Irish contingent, we probably would have struggled to remain in the top three. Collingwood’s defeat of Brisbane made it essential that we won the last two games.

Anyway, we’re there so lets enjoy it and make the most of the opportunity. Of course the season may yet be suspended or cancelled if COVID 19 continues to throw the sporting world into chaos. That would be a great shame. Whatever happens regarding the virus, it will be beyond the Clubs’ control and probably the control of the AFL.

Back to last Saturday’s match, the Dees started well, again dominating inside 50 but their accuracy let them down. Melbourne’s determination paid off late in the quarter though with a brilliant snap goal from the inspirational Kate Hore. Celebrations were short lived however as Brooke Walker kicked the Blues goal first less than a minute later. The Dees’ advantage was restored when the talented Sarah Perkins kicked a forty metre set shot that never looked like missing. At the other end, Libby Birch kept Carlton at bay and the Dees maintained their lead at the end of the term.

Melbourne continued to play well in the second quarter but Carlton looked in danger of taking control especially after Georgia Gee scored the Blues’ second. To add to the Dees’ woes, Sinead Goldrick hobbled off with an injured leg. With just over a minute to go, Lily Mithen had a chance to score a goal but instead kicked it to the reliable Shelly Scott. Scott’s kick from thirty five metres out sailed through the uprights beautifully for the Dees’ third of the afternoon.

The second half belonged to Carlton and Melbourne’s eight point lead was reduced to three when the legendary Tayla Harris kicked a goal from twenty metres out. Just prior to that goal Melbourne suffered another injury when Darcy Vescio collided with Sarah Lampard resulting in Lampard being stretchered off the pitch. It looks like another ACL injury and will mean Sarah Lampard missing the remainder of the season. Then a lucky bounce from a Grace Egan kick saw the Blues take the lead for the first time in the game. Elise O’Dea had a chance to put Melbourne in front at the end of the third quarter but kicked it wide.

Carlton sensed the game was there for the taking in the last term and when Madison Prespakis kicked a spectacular goal midway through the quarter, their confidence skyrocketed. Melbourne was kept goalless for the second half but Walker’s second for the Blues just rubbed salt into the Dees’ wounds. Her opportunistic kick in front of goal saw the sherrin bounce in favour of the Blues. All the luck seemed to be with Carlton and Melbourne would have to fight another day.

We’ve drawn GWS in our first finals game. Both sides have won four games so it should be a close contest. Of course we have a very sparse bench due to a long list of injuries and the loss of Niamh McEvoy and Sinead Goldrick. I think we will given under dog status which may work in our favour. I’m sure the girls will give it a red hot go whatever happens.

Go the Under Dees!!!

MELBOURNE 2.3 3.3 3.5 3.6 (24)
CARLTON 1.1 2.1 4.1 6.4 (40)
Melbourne: Hore, Perkins, Scott
Carlton: Walker 2, Gee, Harris, Egan, Prespakis

Dees Top Dog In Stormy Encounter

February 25, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, NSW Demons 

Round 2 – Western Bulldogs Vs Melbourne

Liam Chambers

After last week’s close contest, the Dees showed that they are shaping up to be genuine contenders for the premiership cup.

From the opening siren, Melbourne were off and running. Wave after wave of intense pressure was applied to the Bulldogs’ defence. A shell shocked Dogs finally succumbed when a long kick from debutante Niamh McEvoy was picked up by Aliesha Newman and handed to Chantel Emonson who opened the scoring for the Dees.

Comeback Queen Daisy Pearce was right at home at half back with an almost telepathic connection to the brilliant Karen Paxman. The accuracy of their marking and kicking has reached new heights. A rebound effort from Elise O’Dea was cleaned up by Paxman who then scored Melbourne’s second with ruthless efficiency.

At the other end, Sinead Goldrick made an unfortunate rookie error when she dropped the ball both literally and metaphorically, giving away a fifty metre penalty. It gave the Dogs’ player Deanna Berry a chance to put her team on the scoreboard with a free kick right in front of goal.

Melbourne kept up the momentum in the second quarter with impressive confidence; marking, passing and kicking skillfully in increasingly wet conditions. Shelley Scott showed her immense talent by marking and placing herself in goal kicking positions. Unfortunately she was unable to convert her scoring opportunities.

In the second half Melbourne continued to impress with Eden Zanker showing her skills with two behind points in quick succession. The Dees could easily have been four to five goals in front at this stage of the game. Scott continue to mark well inside 50 and was instrumental in Melbourne’s third goal when she strategically kicked the ball towards goal giving Casey Sherriff the chance to run down the sherrin and soccer kick it between the uprights.

The Dees were now in a commanding position. That was cemented when Maddi Gay kicked her first and Melbourne’s fourth to stretch the margin to twenty six points. Maddi Gay was able to do what all great players do in set shot situations; kick the ball accurately in understandably tense conditions. The fact that it was raining and she was the best part of thirty metres out made it even more impressive. Melbourne looked unbeatable from that point.

The final quarter saw the Bulldogs take the fight to the Dees but Melbourne remained competitive in defence. Some impressive tackling held the Dogs at bay until Bonnie prove “too good” for the Dees’ defence. Apologies for the terrible pun. Even though Melbourne remain scoreless in the final term, they continued to soak up the pressure before moving up the field to put themselves into potential scoring positions.

Unfortunately victory came at a cost for Ainslie Kemp who injured her knee just before the final siren and looks set to miss the rest of the season. Apart from that it all bodes well for Round 3 against St Kilda. Melbourne’s biggest threat will be their own complacency but from what we saw this week, I’m sure the girls will be careful not to pop the champagne quite yet.

Go the Insanely Good Dees!!!

AFLW – Dees Win A Tonic For The Troops

February 13, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons 

Round 1 – Melbourne Vs North Melbourne

First game of the season and expectations were modest. Last season was disappointing after getting so close to qualifying for the finals; especially having secured more points in Conference A than the two top sides in Conference B. A win for Melbourne was vital therefore as the AFLW has decided to keep the Conference system for the 2020 season.

It was a forgettable first quarter for the Dees. They conceded two goals. The second as a result of an encroachment. The umpires were unforgiving in their determination to enforce this sometimes confusing rule. There were opportunities for Melbourne to score but they didn’t take their chances and were down by thirteen points at end of the term. Definitely not an ideal start to the campaign.

The second quarter was much better with Kate Hore slotting home two goals. The second one came right before the siren. Eden Zanker calmly kicked the sherrin across the face of goal to Hore who was then able to score from point blank range. As a bonus, the Kangaroos were kept scoreless for the quarter.

The pendulum swung back to North Melbourne in the third quarter when it was the Dees’ turn to remain scoreless. A chance for Tegan Cunningham to score went behind for the point. The wind didn’t favour either side but it was frustrating at times to see potential chances thwarted.

The final quarter saw the Dees in the driver’s seat after Eden Zanker found herself in the perfect position when Ainslie Kemp kicked down the field towards goal. A favourable bounce and Zanker was able to collect and run with the ball ultimately kicking Melbourne’s third for the afternoon. The Dees maintained control of the game from that point. North tried to seize back seize back the initiative but Melbourne held on to secure the win and get the points on the table.

With strong wins for four of the teams in Conference B, the Dees will have to keep winning to ensure a top two spot. They travel to Whitten Oval to face the fancied Bulldogs on Friday night. A loss there would be a huge set back. However, Melbourne will feel confident after their first round victory in a game they were not expected to win.

Daisy Pearce played well in her first game back after a two year sabbatical to raise her twins. Silvie and Roy made an appearance at the end of the game to congratulate their mum on a job well done.

Other debutantes included Sinead Goldrick from Dublin’s fair city. It’s nice to see some Irish players in the side, though the other Hibernian Niamh McEvoy was unable to play due to injury. Hopefully we will see both players on the field together in the near future.

Go the Mighty Dees!

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