January 22, 2023 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons 

An evening with Daisy Pearce

Star-struck young girls and boys were among an enthusiastic crowd of Melbourne Football Club fans who came to see Daisy Pearce talk about life, the universe and the AFL Women’s Comp last Thursday night at the Pullman Quay Grand on Sydney Harbour. Despite the classic Sydney views visible from the hotel reception room’s windows, all eyes were on Daisy as the iconic Sydney ferries sailed by ignored.

Autographs were signed and some very junior hands shaken before the humble, generous and self-possessed Melbourne Football Club’s women’s comp captain told the audience of her love for AFL as a kid growing up in the Victorian country town of Bright. Disappointment followed when she reached an age where she could no longer play in games with the boys.

The older Melbourne-born women among us sighed in recognition and regret, remembering the 1970s when girls who dared bring their Sherrin to primary school had it confiscated until the end of the day with that infuriating headmaster’s refrain: “Football’s too dangerous for girls.”

Fielding questions from magazine editor Jackie Frank and later from an engaged and responsive audience, Daisy spoke of the contrast between the more DIY-style women’s AFL – where you strap up your own ankles and even clear rubbish from the ground before you play – and the newly established professional AFL Women’s comp where physios and other assistance are all on hand.
But before we get too pleased with the progress of women’s AFL, let’s remember that unlike her AFL competition-playing male counterparts for whom it’s a full-time gig, Daisy still has a day job.
She works as a midwife at Melbourne’s Box Hill hospital, something she says she also loves and that keeps her grounded. So there’s still a fair distance to go. But to quote an old advertisement: “You’ve come a long way baby.”

Sonya Voumard
2 March 2017

Spring has sprung… Melbourne Demons are the AFLW Premiers!

December 3, 2022 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons, Our history 
Tayla Harris goals in grand final

AFLW – Grand Final Brisbane V Melbourne

Nigel Dawe

Watching, and then trying to convey something about a team winning a grand final at any level, let alone your own team’s inaugural premiership, at the most elite level – is like seeing a pinata torn wide open from a great height, and then trying to determine which goodie you want to find and explain first.

Well, after seven seasons the AFLW crown has finally gone to the Daisy Pearce-led Melbourne Demons, at a location that few of us had even heard of little more than a fortnight ago… but one now, that none of us will ever forget – Springfield.

Heading to the game by car, I knew it was going to be a good day when the first turnoff from the highway to the ground heading north was #31, and the second was #11, all we then needed was a turnoff #2, and that would’ve been the most famous three guernsey numbers in the club’s history.

There was no turnoff #2, but once we arrived at the ground it became quite evident that the numbers were stacked in the Lions favour… to the tune of 20 (Lion fans) to each of our 1.

Which only meant the barracking had to be more vigorous and committed than at any other time or at any other game we could ever be in the attendance of (as such, I’m hoping I get my voice back at some stage between now and Christmas!)

Having watched footy my entire life, I can’t recall a game (let alone a grand final) that was more on a knife-edge for the whole duration of play, than this one. Throughout the day I kept pondering a comment Norm Smith once made along the lines, “Football is one hundred minutes of agony, but it’s an agony I love.”

Never did solitary acts and singular, selfless deeds across the entire field become so consequential and determining of a final result. As such, if Hanks’ lunging contested mark on the outer wing with 20-seconds of the game to go, didn’t seal the win, then her next possession – a laser-like pass to Purcell, forward of the centre square – certainly did.

With little more than one straight kick in it all day, the final result provided an eerie parallel with Melbourne’s first ever VFL premiership, 122-years prior – which was by the same margin against the same team – a four-point win against the then Fitzroy Lions!

But that said, November 27th, 2022 will eternally belong to the women in the team of the red and the blue, they clocked and thoroughly locked in this day as their very own, forever! With grit and a steely-eyed will to win, they took the grand old flag to a place – against all odds, it has never been before – the Premiership dais of the AFLW.

As a doting Dad who took his own 9-year-old daughter to her very first game of footy on the weekend; the beauty and lasting resonance of this occasion wasn’t lost on me for a second. It’ll be something I tuck away at the back of my mind in highlight fashion, like the day she was born and handed to me wide-eyed and curious of her surrounds. Or the day I wrote her the haiku poem: ‘Every daughter is a rainbow across the sky of her father’s soul.’

But it’s thanks to the women, both on and off the field last Sunday, like Daisy Pearce and Kate Roffey who have paved the way – so my own little girl might one day share the big stage (of whatever forum) without any constraints caused by gender, or because of any subsequent preferential bias given to boys.

Thus, leaving the stadium, holding my daughter’s hand and both of us singing A Grand Old Flag, I couldn’t have been more chuffed; at not just the game our team had won, but what it represented for my own little girl, and girls like her across the country – for the dreams and opportunities it now makes infinitely possible.

That my Alina was the happiest and most delighted I’ve ever seen her, is a measure and gleaming testament to something I just can’t wait to see much more of.

Demons Storm the Bastille

December 1, 2022 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, Sponsoring Olivia 

AFLW – Grand Final Brisbane V Melbourne

Jacqui Parry

When the Demons squad are standing out on the field and they hear the Lions song before the start of the Grand Final on Sunday – we’ll be singing these words:

We are the pride of Springfield town
We wear the Demons Red and Blue
We will fight like Hell for victory
Like the Demon Squads of old

All for one and one for all
We will answer to the call
Go Lions back to Brisbane – (without that Shiny Cup)
We’ll kick the winning score
You’ll hear our mighty roar – (and then you’ll hear):

The Grand Old Flag

It’s a grand old flag, it’s a high-flying flag,
It’s the emblem for me and for you,
It’s the emblem of the team we love,
The team of the Red and the Blue.
Every heart beats true, for the Red and the Blue,
And we sing this song to you,
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the Red and the Blue.
Oh, the team played fine in the year Thirty-nine,
We’re the Demons that no one can lick,
And you’ll find us there at the final bell,
With the spirit of Twenty-six.
Every heart beats true, for the Red and the Blue,
And we sing this song to you,
Should old acquaintance be forgot,
Keep your eye on the Red and the Blue.

We are going to Paxinate them!!

Dees overturn Grand Final result

September 2, 2022 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons 

AFLW – Round 1 – Adelaide V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

Adelaide’s intent was obvious from the first touch. The premiers were going to go hard and fast in attacking the Dees. The Crows’ pressure paid off early with Ash Woodland able to get boot to ball in the goal square and notch up the first of the night.

Initially the demons looked shell shocked by Adelaide’s pressure, but slowly they started to find their feet. As Melbourne got more hands on the footy, they grew in confidence. They had some early opportunities but it wasn’t until Kate Hore’s centering ball from the pocket bounced favourably that the Dees had their first goal. Thank you lack of goal review system in AFLW.

The goal inspired Melbourne and their pressure and tackling became more ferocious; matching the Crows’ efforts. In the end, it was an even quarter with the Dees holding a slim advantage.

Melbourne made some good progress in the second term, penetrating the Adelaide defence but was unable to add to their goal tally. Both sides have strong back lines so potential scoring opportunities were quickly closed down.

The Demons were giving it their all; showing great skill, stringing hand passes together and trying to break through the Adelaide fortress. Finally the pressure paid off with Taylor Harris finding enough space 25m out to snap and claim the only goal of the quarter.

At the start of the second half, the Crows came out firing on all cylinders. They had the ball between the uprights within two minutes as Ash Woodland snapped her second, reducing the margin to four points. Then Woodland claimed her hat trick when she found enough room to the left of goal and chipped the ball off the outside of her right boot.

With Adelaide leading by a point, Melbourne kept their cool and started hunting for the next goal. It came via a Tyla Hanks’ effort. The midfielder was able to collect and control the tapped down ball before snapping goalward and watching it bounce across the line.

It was another Demon six pointer when Lauren Pearce marked at the top of the goal square and went back for the set shot. The Ruck’s initial kick was smothered by the player on the mark but Captain Daisy pounced on the rebound and snapped to claim the goal.

The Crows landed the first goal of the final term when Danielle Ponter snapped from 25m out to bring it back to five points.

Then Eden Zanker took an uncontested mark directly in front and slotted another for Melbourne. Finally Karen Paxman iced the cake with her mark and set shot from 30m to give the Demons a deserved eighteen point victory.

It’s going to be an interesting season now that there is the full quota of eighteen teams in the competition. Also, the fact that the top players are getting a half decent wage means they can devote more time to improving their skills and knowledge. The Dees are well place to repeat the success of season six with a good chance to go one better and claim their first flag.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!



Dees’ Double Dream Dissolves

April 20, 2022 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce 

Grand Final – Adelaide V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

Going into their first Grand Final as underdogs, the odds were very much against a Melbourne victory. Adelaide had the advantage of a home game plus the experience of three previous finals and being crowned premiers twice. That experience would prove pivotal, as would having the best defence in the competition.

The Demons were understandably nervous and started warily. The Crows were more confident and it showed in their marking and kicking efficiency. Despite Adelaide’s pressure in their forward 50, Melbourne’s back line up was holding tight. Tellingly though, the Crows were spending over three times more in their forward half than the Dees and eventually something would have to give.

The pressure paid off when Jasmyn Hewett marked the ball right next to the upright. She slotted and Adelaide had their first major. After the goal, the Dees started to make some inroads. There were half chances but the Crows defence pounced and tackled ferociously. Some dubious calls also favoured Adelaide, making it difficult for Melbourne to gain any momentum.

The woes continued for the Dees after the break. A series of dropped marks and turnovers threatened to gift Adelaide another goal but Melbourne somehow managed to hang on. Maddie Gay limped off injured but fortunately she was was able to return to the field once strapped up.

Melbourne did make headway towards their goal but Adelaide were much more determined and aggressive in their tackling, thereby limiting the Dees’ chances.
Then, while Melbourne was still to register a point on the scoreboard, the Crows struck again. Erin Phillips saw a half chance and gather the ground ball before chipping over the pack at the edge of the goal square. The ball luckily bounced the right way and crossed the line.

Now the margin was seventeen points and Melbourne needed to make some serious changes if they were going to avoid a shellacking. The Dees realised that they needed to be more aggressive and started to push deeper into their forward half. Tayla Harris was again the go to player inside 50. She attempted the mark but again she was surrounded by Adelaide’s defence.

With a minute to go to half time, Melbourne finally got a break. As the ball was being kicked between defenders, Alyssa Bannan stole an intercept mark and ran on into the waiting goal. The impact was instantaneous and the Dees lifted. Adelaide scrambled to claw one back before the siren, but Melbourne managed to hold them off.

It was still all to play for in the second half but it was the worst possible start for the Dees when Danielle Ponter marked right on the goal line. It was an easy conversion and the deficit was back to sixteen points.

Melbourne was marking and controlling the ball better but were still hesitant when they needed to move faster. The delays gave Adelaide plenty of time to set up behind the ball while the Dees looked around, considering their options.

Just when it looked like the Crows were going to continue their dominance, Melbourne had another breakthrough. A well targeted and weighted kick by Tayla Harris picked out Kate Hore deep inside 50. Hore marked and ran on, getting a kick away towards goal before being mowed down. The gap was back to ten points and the Dees were back in contention.

The goal energised Melbourne and within a minute, Tayla Harris had marked a Daisy Pearce kick. At 40m out, Harris opted not to try for goal, instead kicking to Karen Paxman. Paxman was a little closer but the 45 degree angle was a more difficult shot. Paxman made clean contact with the ball but her effort drifted right and only registered a minor score.

The Dees pressure continued to mount and they were causing Adelaide all sorts of problems. Melbourne made repeat incursions to their forwards 50 but were unable to finish due to the relentless tackling by the Crows’ defence. Lily Mithen had a set shot in front of goal late in the quarter but was unable to convert. Demon fans were left lamenting what could have been.

With the clock ticking Melbourne knew it was now or never as they ran out at the start of the last quarter. They were determined to not die wondering. Maddie Gay had a half chance from just inside 50 but the ball didn’t bounce back far enough and just missed the goal. A few minutes later and Gay had another half opportunity but that missed to the other side.

As so often happens, Adelaide absorbed all the Dees’ pressure before breaking out and racing up the field. Danielle Ponter took another mark just inside 50, then took the advantage to run on, take a bounce and launch a kick 20m from goal. The Crows were thirteen points ahead with only six minutes left to play.

Although Melbourne fought valiantly to the end, they were unable to notch any more points on the scoreboard and the final result was 29-16 in Adelaide’s favour.

It was a great experience for the Dees and they will have learned a good deal about what it takes to win a Grand Final. All Demon fans will be hoping that Daisy Pearce hangs around for one more effort.

Now that next season starts this August, maybe the AFLW legend and footy pioneer can be tempted to give the dice another roll?

Go the Mighty Dees!!!

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