Dees Stare Down Suns

February 4, 2021 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

AFLW Round 1 – Gold Coast Suns V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

It was a shaky start for the Dees. The Suns began aggressively and were rewarded almost immediately when Jamie Stanton opened the scoring. Fatigue was a concern for Melbourne after an early morning flight to the Gold Coast and the long wait before the game. There was plenty of fumbling and dropped sherrins in the attempt to infiltrate the Suns inside 50.

Tyla Hanks stood out early on; tackling and marking well but Melbourne struggled to find any flow. When Leah Kaslar kicked the Gold Coast’s second, they looked comfortably in control. The Dees’ play was sloppy and they turned the ball over too frequently. Even though Gold Coast only got inside 50 twice in the first ten minutes, they took advantage both times.

Finally though Melbourne got a break when Hanks’ great kick to Kate Hore was nicely marked and the forward converted cleanly for the Dees’ first of the afternoon. The next goal had a little assistance from the Suns when Tegan Cunningham was awarded a 50m penalty. The ensuing shot in front of goal gave the Dees a confidence boost.

Unfortunately Sarah Perkins, having lost none of her abilities as a play maker decided it was time to respond. After some good interceptions and kicks, she marked the ball twenty five metres out just before the siren, the conversion was a foregone conclusion. Perkins was apparently ineligible to be drafted by Melbourne in 2021 despite having played finals for us last season. We can only speculate what a difference she would have made to the Dees side this year. One thing’s for sure, she has that relatively rare ability to be a game changer.

When Melbourne got the first goal of the second quarter via an Eden Zanker mark in front of goal, they looked to have shifted up a gear. Karen Paxman was stamping her mark on the game. Maybe the Capperesque style haircut was having an impact. Tyla Hanks continued to display some very accurate kicking, influencing the run of play. It was Paxman’s great kick from the 50m line to the goal square that set up Melbourne’s fourth. The ball sailed into the pack where it was knocked down and quickly gathered up by the dynamic Krstel Petrevski, who kicked it straight between the uprights.

The misfortunes continued for the Suns when another infringement gave Shelley Heath the chance to score her first goal. Then Cunningham was awarded a free kick, after being ankle tackled from behind, and scored the Dees’ fourth unanswered goal.

The Suns had a chance to get one back with a brilliant run of play involving the kicking abilities of Sarah Perkins; giving Brittany Perry a chance to score from a set shot in front of goal. The footy gods were smiling on Melbourne though and she sent it wide. Kate Hore wrapped up the quarter with her second goal, scoring from 20m after being awarded a penalty for a high tackle. The Dees went in at half time with a handy twenty two point lead.

Having tallied up 19 disposals in the first half, Karen Paxman went straight the top of the Suns’ most wanted list. Her first touch of the second half saw her brought down by three of the opposition players. Time for Karen to take a step back and find other ways to influence the game. Daisy Pearce continued in her defensive role, strategically marking and kicking when the Suns got too close. Lauren, the other Pearce, was also having a positive game and taking important marks.

The Dees next goal came from another Gold Coast infringement thought. Having made progress with some aggressive forward pressured Melbourne was rewarded when Krstel Petrevski had a set shot opportunity from 35 metres out. However, confusion over the new rules meant she kicked her second goal from point blank range. However, Brittany Perry made amends for her previous miskick and penalty giveaway by slotting in the Gold Coast’s fourth from another set shot.

The Dees reacted immediately with Lily Mithen putting herself behind the group in the goal square. When the ball fell behind the other players, Lily was able to scoop it up and evading two Suns’ defenders, kicked Melbourne’s ninth of the afternoon.

Gold Coast continued to mount the pressure but Daisy Pearce was doing a sterling job at the back. Tyla Hanks was also in top form thwarting the Suns play and even tackling Sarah Perkins into the bargain. Perkins had her revenge though when she caught the Dees’ defence napping with a minute to go. She judged the kick coming from the 50m line perfectly and converted the mark for her second. With Gold Coast’s confidence boosted, Melbourne were left defending desperately with less than sixty seconds on the clock; only just denying the Suns right on the siren.

The last term was a case of all or nothing for Gold Coast and they went storming in. Fatigue was starting to show with the Dees fumbling and dropping the ball, reminiscent of the early part of the first quarter. Daisy got a bit complacent and didn’t see Sarah Perkins in the rear view mirror until she felt the Suns’ forward embrace bringing her down to earth.

Melbourne were being corralled as the Gold Coast maintained their forward pressure. Occasionally the Dees would break free and head towards goal. Kate Hore almost broke through for her hat trick but she bounced too early, slowing and was brought down inside 50. Lauren Pearce’s marking in the final term was pivotal in containing the Suns but it was Shelley Scott who almost put in the final nail when her kick from thirty five metres just sailed wide. In the end, the Suns were unable to take advantage of the all the pressure they put on Melbourne. Experience showed and the Dees managed to slow down the game with each side only managing one minor score a piece for the quarter.

Next round is against Richmond at Casey Fields. Even though the Tigers have improved since their very poor debut season last year, we would be wise not to take anything for granted.

Go The Mighty Dees!!!

Melbourne: Cunningham 2, Hore 2, Petrevski 2, Heath, Mithen, Zanker.
Gold Coast: Perkins 2, Perry, Kaslar, Stanton.

Shelley v Tex

Petrevski goals


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