Dogs Bite But Demons Deliver 

March 16, 2019 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Dogs Bite But Demons Deliver 

Match Report – Melbourne v Footscray

Liam Chambers

The Western Bulldogs had nothing to lose. Melbourne wanted revenge for last year’s final game when the Dog’s broke the Dees’ hearts.

Aliesha Newman got away early; seizing the ball and running to kick towards goal. Unfortunately only picking up one point. The Dees applied some good pressure but the Dogs fought back driving play into Melbourne’s half.

The Dees were dominant though and a good mark from Tegan Cunningham set up Kate Hore to have a shot on goal. However Melbourne was denied their first goal.

Again and again the Dees made good runs into the Dogs’ inside 50 but they couldn’t find that sweet spot between the uprights. Finally a great kick by Elise O’Dea (revelling in her new role as co-captain) was marked by Cunningham directly in front of goal. Tegan slotted through for Melbourne’s first six pointer.

The score of 0-11 at the end of the first quarter didn’t reflect the Dees’ superior effort over the Dogs. The Dogs opened the scoring at the start of the second quarter courtesy of a Katie Brennan free kick. Again Melbourne dominated the Dogs’ inside 50 but were unable to convert.

A free kick and a 50m penalty saw Naomi Ferris get the Dogs’ second. Tyla Hanks had a good opportunity but her turn and snap was marked by a Dogs’ player to thwart a great effort.

Melbourne continued to push forward and was rewarded with a quality goal from Karen Paxman (after a team spirited pass from Newman). The Dogs were determined though and a good mark by Patterson prevented a further goal.

Then Isabel Hunnington’s kick to goal was marked on the line by Aisling Utri who converted for the Dogs to make it 18-18 even. The Bulldogs took all their chances in the quarter with Aisling McCarthy getting their fourth to lead 24-18 at half time.   It only got worse at the start of the second half. Kristy McLeod struck with her first and the Dogs’ sixth. The Melbourne faithful were given something to cheer when Maddi Gay slotted home after a good run of play; especially from Kate Hore with some fancy footwork  and passing.

Tyla Hanks almost reached the ball as it was bouncing towards goal. She just missed grabbing it before the ball bounced awkwardly for a behind. Melbourne was in dire need of a hero.

Then the most inspirational moment of the game came when Eden Zanker marked well and converted beautifully from a difficult angle approximately 20m from goal. It was now a very tight game at 32-31 going into the final quarter.

The Dees needed to dig deep if they were going to win and keep their finals hopes alive. This would be a huge test of character. That test suddenly got a little more difficult when Isabel Huntington kicked the opening goal to give the Dogs a seven point lead.

A real nail biter was compounded when Tegan Cunningham missed a shot on goal. Then it was pressure and counter pressure as Melbourne was tackling for it’s very survival. The Dogs were determined to push the Dees as hard as they could and Melbourne couldn’t make any inroads into Doggie territory.

Then with 2 minutes to go and reminiscent of a cheesy Hollywood screenplay, Tegan Cunningham marked the ball 30m out from the Bulldogs’ goal. Under enormous pressure, the set shot Queen made no mistakes and put the Dees ahead 38-39.

For the next 90 seconds, Melbourne defended and tackled like their lives depended on it. When the siren sounded the sense of elation and relief from players and fans alike was palatable. The Dees were one step closer to their first finals appearance.

Next week’s game against Adelaide will the toughest yet. Melbourne has lost only two games this season. Both have been at Casey Fields. Both have been by only four points. We can definitely beat the Crows but the girls will need all their ingenuity and skill to be triumphant.


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