Dees Get The Jump On Kangaroos

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

Round 8 – Melbourne V North Melbourne

Liam Chambers

Welcome to Casey Fields. Wind speed 30 kmh. Not quite blowing a gale but enough to frustrate the potential goal kickers. After Melbourne’s impressive away win against premier hopefuls Brisbane, tonight would be a fierce fight for second spot on the ladder, against another formidable opponent.

The Dees looked good early on, pushing forward but it was North who had a chance to open the scoring when Daria Bannister’s set shot was touched on the line by Tahlia Gillard.

Melbourne responded with Alyssa Bannan snapping what looked like perfect shot, only for the wind to act as proxy goalkeeper and deny the Dees. No matter. The ensuing stoppage had Jacqui Parry forcing her way out of the pack and managing a wild high kick which floated back towards goal. Kate Hore was in the right place and jumped for the contested mark. The number ten got her number eight for the season and the Dees were up and running.

Melbourne was able to double their score when Karen Paxman was the beneficiary of the confusing and inconsistent 50m rule. Paxy wasn’t complaining though and slotted from near point blank range.

With two goals versus two behinds, Melbourne was in the driving seat at the start of the second term. Within a minute however, the Dees were shaken out of their comfort zone when Jasmine Garner received the ball from an inside 50 stoppage. Her driving kick towards goal was wind assisted and crossed the line untouched.

Even though Melbourne conceded the early goal, they quickly reset, raising the intensity of their attack. All that effort was in vain though until Tayla Harris was awarded a free kick for a lingering tackle in the middle of the ground. Due to a mix up between two of North’s players as to whose kick it was, Harris was awarded a 50m penalty. Her powerful 35m kick was perfectly balanced; reading the breeze to a tee. As a result, the Dees went into the main break leading nineteen to ten.

The second half started brilliantly for Melbourne. A mixture of brute force and clever tactics drove the ball to inside 50 where Tayla Harris was waiting to receive. Harris went for the ball, was deemed held and a free awarded. The forward had no trouble kicking her second and the Dees’ lead was extended to fifteen points.

The Dees pressure was impressive and they continued to threaten their goal. The Roos had a chance or two but otherwise it was all Melbourne. One of the highlights of the quarter was when the Dees strung together a masterclass in transition play down the right side of the field. Involving five Demons, starting with Mithen to Bannan to McNamara to Mithen to Paxman to Mithen and finally to Heath whose shot from the pocket tragically hit the post. Had Shelley Heath scored, it would have been the goal of the year. That run of play epitomised the depth and strength of the Dees and why they are so dangerous.

While Melbourne had the best of the third quarter, the Roos were too good a side not to launch a fightback in the final term.

True to form, North came out swinging. All night the Dees had targeted attempts at neutralising the Roos best players. Shelley Heath again shadowed Emma Kearney, limiting the midfielder’s capacity to influence the game. North required three unanswered goals to win and Kearney would be pivotal if they were to reach that target.

Initially Melbourne had the answers to North’s persistent incursions but eventually Kaitlyn Ashmore was able to outpace Daisy Pearce and launch a rocket from 25m out. It sailed high through the uprights and the margin was back to ten points. Now the Dees would need all their skill and experience in order to contain the rampaging Roos.

Melbourne was having to play a containment game, occasionally making it up to their forward 50 but essentially just frustrating North’s efforts. Each time the visitors got the ball inside 50, the Dees were able to defuse the danger. With the minutes ticking down, Melbourne pounced on every loose ball, ensuring the Roos couldn’t get a break.

The last couple of minutes was a frantic clash of bodies inside 50 but the Dees’ wall proved impenetrable.

The win propelled Melbourne into the top two with a chance to cement that spot when they travel to Perth in Round 9. The Dockers are a good side and will have home advantage but the Dees are in the form of their footy lives and I wouldn’t bet against another upset being on the cards.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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