Heaven 17 – Melbourne v North Melbourne

February 20, 2021 by
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons 

Liam Chambers

I’m not sure what the players had for breakfast but both sides began at a frenetic pace that barely slowed for the entire game.

Kate Hore had an early chance but only managed a minor score. Karen Paxman was typically on form apart from a miskick back across goal which was collected by North Melbourne, allowing Grace Campbell a set shot in front of goal. Then Melbourne were penalised for not returning the footy and Emma Kearney slotted the Roos’ second.

The Dees would have been frustrated to give the opposition two easy goals so early in the game but they fought on, tackling hard. They were rewarded when Shelley Scott marked the ball thirty five metres out but disappointedly converted for a minor score. Then Kate Hore’s banana kick from the sideline was marked by Jacqui Parry from the pack in front of goal. Her easy miss from Round 2 would have been in the back of her mind, however she didn’t miss this time and Melbourne went in at quarter time only trailing by four points.

The second term started at 100mph. Jacqui Parry continued to mark well and her passing play was impressive. You could see the Dees upping their game as Kate Hore kicked their second. When Tegan Cunningham marked and scored from thirty metres, the margin stretched to eight points. Melbourne’s tackling was ferocious and effective; especially Lily Mithen who seemed to be everywhere. Niamh McEvoy’s kick to Scott was marked and kicked for one of the goals of the match.

The Dees onslaught was interrupted briefly when Daisy Bateman got one back. North Melbourne were good in defence but the Dees were making the most of their opportunities. Parry didn’t waste her chance when she was awarded a free kick twenty metres in front of goal. Melbourne was pouncing on everything and everything was going their way. Tegan Cunningham got her second from another free to increase the lead to twenty points. However the icing on the quarter came when Parry launched a superb running kick in the last minute of the term to score her hat trick.

After an incredible second term, the Dees needed to be careful not to let their guard against such a quality opposition. However, nothing was going to stop the Roos’ attempt to redress the balance. Jasmine Garner’s opening goal of the second half was an important strike for North Melbourne and put the Dees on notice as the margin was reduced back to twenty points.

The Roos were going in hard and Melbourne struggled to hold them off despite the valiant effort in defence. Daria Bannister was channeling Alyssa Bannan from last week when she scored back to back goals for North Melbourne in less than a minute. With Dees nerve’s fluttering, Karen Paxman provided the perfect antidote with her kick from thirty five metres in front of goal.

The Roos continued to push hard but Melbourne’s defence fought equally hard. Unfortunately Sinead Goldrick gave away a free kick in front of goal and Sophie Abbatangelo didn’t miss from point blank range. With the difference only seven points North Melbourne threw everything at their goal. The Dees were equally motivated to prevent a last minute tragedy. Then Goldrick redeemed herself brilliantly by marking the ball in front of goal with only seconds to go.

Melbourne knew they couldn’t afford to sit back trying to protect their lead for the full final term so they went in hard to try and sew up the result. Now it was North Melbourne’s turn to scramble in defence as the Dees tackled hard, hoping to get the upper hand. With the Roos getting a break against the run of play, Captain Daisy Pearce, stellar in defence all night, made an important smother and chased the attack to the sideline. The Dees defence was in overdrive.

Suddenly back up the other end, Casey Sherriff tried a soccer kick at goal but only just missed, slipping wide for a minor. Just as suddenly, the Roos were on the of Melbourne’s defensive inside 50 and Isabella Eddey received a good pass before kicking directly into goal and reducing the Dees’ lead to two points.

Melbourne went on the offensive, desperate not to lose, having been twenty seven points ahead at half time. Alyssa Bannan has a chance from 35 metres out but only managed a minor score. The Dees kept pushing forward and the Roos, under extreme pressure, got a lucky break when a high tackle on Goldrick was overlooked by the Umpire. Instead a free was awarded to North Melbourne. The Roos made it all the way to their inside 50 with ninety seconds left but a free kick was given Melbourne’s way.

It was back and forth for the next minute until Bannan snared a free kick on the sideline half way down the pitch. As the ball made it’s way towards the uprights, Bannan reappeared but her kick to goal is touched. However Shelley Scott was taken high as she scrambled for possession. As the siren sounded, it was all academic but Scott took two steps and kicked beautifully to give Melbourne a nine point win.

The victory put the Dees on top of the table for the second Saturday night in a row. This time though, their position was less precarious as they claimed three wins from three games. Last week I felt we were being sorely underestimated when the tipping competition had us a 17% chance to win. Fast forward a week and we’re currently an 82% chance to defeat the Bulldogs on Sunday.

The Dogs have two wins under their belt and a close loss against the Saints, so they won’t be a pushover. If we can play sustain the fighting spirit and skill that’s got us this far, then we’re in a good position to make it an unprecedented four wins in a row.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!

AFLW – Heaven 17 – Melbourne v North


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