Helter Skelter – Melbourne V Richmond

February 13, 2021 by
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Bannan goals

Liam Chambers

With the breeze at their back in the first term and an away win last week, the Dees could have been forgiven for feeling confident. However, they were on the back foot from the opening minute when Sabrina Frederick snared the ball from the pack in front of goal. Tegan Cunningham, sitting on the bench, could only look on as Frederick put the Tigers on the score sheet.

Melbourne was possibly a little complacent against the unfancied Tigers but were quickly shaken out of their comfort zone by a determined opposition. While Richmond were going full throttle, Melbourne scrambled to get into their forward half. When they succeeded, ex Dee Harriet Cordner was there to spoil the play and pick up the wayward sherrin. Why do our former players always try extra hard against us?

Richmond was looking in total control until Tegan Cunningham marked and converted from a tight angle, using the breeze to her advantage. However, even though Richmond were kicking and marking well, they fumbled and dropped important marks in their forward fifty. The Dees had to go hard and fast to contain the Tiger’s onslaught but Daisy Pearce and Tyla Hanks in particular were making important interceptions.

Sinead Goldrick showed great kicking ability to get the ball to Shelley Scott, who marked it beautifully but unfortunately couldn’t convert. A clever kick to Courtney Wakefield almost gave Richmond a confidence boosting goal after the siren but it was just outside her range.

After being dominated for the best part of the opening quarter, we needed to strike back early on. On cue, Alyssa Bannan duly obliged. First by taking a mark from an excellent Jacqui Parry kick, which she converted for her first goal. Then, less than a minute later she took another mark, this time from a booming long kick courtesy of Shelley Scott and notched up her second AFLW goal.

Richmond could have been forgiven if they viewed these events as a setback but they continued to play on with even more determination. It was testament to Melbourne’s experience that they were able to contain the waves of aggressive play from the Tigers. The veterans Daisy Pearce and Karen Paxman have showed no signs of slowing this year and Shelley Scott almost added to the score sheet but was unable to hit the target.

With Krstel Petrevski continuing her good form from last week, there was some promising signs from the young guns. While we still scrambled in defence, we frustrated the Tigers, who just couldn’t get the reward for all their intense effort. When Katie Brennan hit the post near the end of the term, I almost felt sorry for Richmond. Almost.

With a two goal buffer, Melbourne need to consolidate their lead at the start of the second half. The in form Lily Mithen’s kick to Kate Hore was cleverly tapped off the outside of her boot to extend the Dees lead. An unfortunate injury for Krstel Petrevski saw her limping off the field, having to be supported after what looked like a damaged hamstring. Hopefully it doesn’t spell the end of her season. Our bad luck continued when Jacqui Parry, having marked beautifully in front of goal missed from her ensuing set shot.

Tyla Hanks, always under the radar, continued to show great vision and kicking ability. The Tigers were pouncing on everything though, not giving Melbourne any free passes. Kate Hore was lucky to be awarded a free kick for a dubious sling tackle in front of goal. She wasn’t complaining though and took advantage of the opportunity to kick her second goal and give the Dees a comfortable twenty three point lead heading into the final quarter.

Richmond surged again, continually pushing into Melbourne’s defence but couldn’t quite break through. Though the Dees scrambled, they looked very dangerous when they got the chance to push forward. Karen Paxman’s superb kick to Eden Zanker was beautifully marked but was a wasted opportunity with the Dees unable take advantage.

At the other end the Tigers weren’t paid for Harriet Cordner’s tackle as their run of bad luck continued. Even though Richmond looked the better side at times, it was the Dees’ experience that showed. Lily Mithen was having a good game, turning and kicking, frustrating the Tigers. Then a brilliant Tegan Cunningham mark on the edge of the 50m line, eventuated in Shelley Scott marking the ball to the left of goal. Scott doesn’t missed too many set shots from that position.

With the game in the bag, Melbourne relaxed and were marking better, able to slow the play to their advantage. Even in a mad goal square melee, Shelley Scott was able to flick the ball out to another veteran in Karen Paxman. Paxman didn’t waste any time snapping the loose ball between the uprights.

Richmond fans would have been truly frustrated to see their team play so well and lose so badly. Finally though, after the Tigers threw everything at Melbourne, Sarah Hosking got a break and put through Richmond’s second from a set shot.

We face North Melbourne in Round 3 at Casey Fields but we are the undisputed underdogs and the tipping competition gives us a 17% chance of a win. The Roos will be the real deal but I seriously object to being given such a miserly chance of success. Come on Dees! Let’s wear our 17% with pride and kick some Kangaroo butt!


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