Dees Launch Comeback In Lions’ Den

February 25, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons 
Melbourne win v Brisbane

Round 7 – Brisbane V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

With only four games remaining, a win at Metricon would make the road to the finals a little less steep. The odds were stacked against the girls and they would need to dig deep to come away with a result. Playing away against the reigning premiers was daunting enough but throw in the hot, humid conditions plus a team that has won their last five games, meant the odds were well and truly stacked against the Demons.

The pressure on our defence was intense from the opening. It only took a fumble for Orla O’Dwyer to gather the loose ball and snap the Lion’s first from 30m out. After the centre bounce, Brisbane didn’t waste any time getting back to their inside 50. It looked like someone had pressed the fast forward button and the Dees were frantically looking for ways to clear the ball. Whenever Melbourne got it out, the Lions brought it straight back in.

At times the Dees defence was producing miraculous tackles in front of goal, preventing Brisbane from adding to their tally. Eventually Melbourne found a path down the field and to the waiting Tayla Harris. The scoreboard proved a bridge too far though and the quarter ended with the Dees trailing by nine points.

Being held scoreless at quarter time would have evoked unpleasant memories of our earlier loss to Adelaide in Round 4. The fightback then came too late and the Coach would have been conscious of not delaying a change of tactics.

Daisy Pearce dropped back to bolster the defence but initially the change made little difference. With the Lions bearing down, a clever tap from Courtney Hodder to Sophie Conway, allowed the midfielder to run in Brisbane’s second.

Within a minute of that goal, the Umpire blew his whistle and Greta Bodey took advantage of the advantage given and launched a kick from 30m to clinch the Lion’s third of the night. There was no sugar coating it, the Dees were in big trouble at twenty one points down.

Brisbane were showing few signs of fatigue resulting from their condensed schedule of three games in eight days. In fact they seemed to be increasing the pace. Melbourne desperately needed a circuit breaker but they couldn’t get any momentum going; dropping catches and turning the ball over. The Dees were literally scrambling to get a foothold in the muggy conditions as the Lions dominated the tackle count eighteen to three.

Finally Melbourne got the break they so critically needed when Eliza West took a hand pass from Sinead Goldrick and ran through the middle before kicking the ball to Alyssa Bannan who was waiting inside 50. Bannan turned and ran on after marking, kicking from 30m out, then watched the ball bounce across the goal line. There was more relief than celebration amongst the players as the team regrouped with only a minute remaining before half time.

The Dees were only too aware of how important Alyssa Bannan’s late goal had been and they started the second half with a renewed determination. When Karen Paxman’s kick from the 50m line to the top of the goal square was plucked from the air by Bannan, you sensed the tide was turning. Two marks and two goals for the tall forward.

Now the girls started to look more comfortable; their kicking and passing more accurate and fluid. However Brisbane wasn’t relenting that easily and a smart handpass from Jesse Wardlaw to Zimmorlei Farquharson allowed the young forward to run on into an open goal.

Despite the setback, Melbourne still looked to have the momentum and they settled into a focused and determined attack on their opponents. When Lauren Pearce took the mark from a clearance kick, the ruck sent it straight back in and saw her effort marked by Tayla Harris. The leading goal kicker made it twelve for the year when her 40m set shot sailed through.

While the Dees looking ever more in charge, there was an uncertainty creeping into Brisbane’s game. Melbourne was tackling more, getting more of the ball and creating more chances. When Harris brought the ball to ground 30m from goal, Eliza West pounced, gathering up the crumb and snapping powerfully to score her first major as a Demon. That goal made it a one point game and guaranteed a blinder of a final term.

The match was the Dees for the taking and they duly ramped up the pressure to eleven. The effort paid off when another Lauren Pearce kick to the goal square again found Tayla Harris. This time it was lucky thirteen for the star player.

As the clock ticked down, it became as much a battle of wills as of skills with both sides fighting ferociously. When Greta Bodey’s shot on goal scraped the inside of the upright, you got the impression that the footy gods were wearing red and blue on the night.

At the other end, Harris missed a chance to claim her hat trick and further ease the pressure on the team. Then adding to the tension, Brisbane got their second wind and again ran hard at the Dees defence but could only add a couple of points to their overall score.

Then right on the siren, Greta Bodey was awarded a free kick 40m from goal. It was almost a carbon copy of last season’s clash but luckily for Demon fans she was unable to redeem herself and the ball fell short of the target giving Melbourne a fantastic win.

Next Round it’s back to Casey Fields and a showdown with North Melbourne. The Roos are in excellent shape having only lost once so far this season; co-incidentally also to the Adelaide Crows. The girls will take great confidence from their comeback against the odds win on the Gold Coast and should fancy their chances against a formidable foe.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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