Mithen Crash Tackles Giants In Last Gasp Act

April 4, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
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Semi Final – Greater Western Sydney Vs Melbourne

It was very sad to hear that both the AFLW and the AFL seasons have come to a premature end. Even though there’s a slim possibility that the AFL season will recommence after 31st May, it’s also highly unlikely.

The AFLW season though has officially been cancelled and no premiership will be awarded. I choose to believe that Melbourne would have beaten Fremantle in the Preliminary Final before going on to win their first Grand Final. Based on their fourth quarter performance against GWS, I don’t believe I am being overly optimistic.

I read a few post match articles that suggested GWS were the underdogs and that Melbourne were the firm favourites. The fact that Melbourne has suffered a string of injuries as well as losing their two Irish recruits; leaving them with a depleted bench of twenty one seemed to have escaped the critics’ notice. In addition, the Giants had a home ground advantage, albeit a silent one. Finally, Melbourne was coming off a Round 6 defeat that had threatened their place in the finals.

Against all these odds, the Dees performance was stellar. We’ve been accused of being wasteful in front of goal and not making the most of scoring opportunities. We had our chances early on but so did the Giants. In fact we were in danger of being over run by a rampant GWS but held our nerve and were saved by the upright on a couple of occasions.

However the fact that we turned in our best fourth quarter of footy in the Club’s short history is testament to the players’ depth of character. Melbourne looked down for the count at the end of the third quarter. They hadn’t scored a single point for the term while the Giants continued to gain confidence with Cora Staunton giving them a three goal advantage ten seconds from the siren.

After the Dees initial fourth quarter burst, it was all GWS; pushing into Demon territory and determined to take home the win. Melbourne weathered wave after wave of onslaught from the Giants before Shelley Scott marked the ball thirty metres out from goal midway through the term. Scott had a relatively quiet afternoon up until then but the mark from a Lily Mithen kick saw her ensuing set shot reduce the margin to nine points.

Suddenly there was hope in the Dees’ Camp and a flutter of doubt crept into the minds of the GWS players. For the next three minutes the Giants defended desperately while Melbourne struggled to gain another six pointer. Finally a free kick was awarded to Sarah Perkins forty metres out and to the right of goal. When Perkins kicked what was one of the most important goals of her career, it was a like an arrow plunging into the heart of Greater Western Sydney. Now with just three minutes to go, it was a ‘next one who scores wins’ scenario.

Melbourne had to go hard and get a third goal and ensure that GWS got nowhere near their inside 50. A terrific mark by Shelley Scott on the edge of the Giants’ inside 50 added to the drama. GWS had every player back defending as Melbourne kept thundering towards the goal. The Giants were trying to maintain possession but then Harriet Cordner was award a free kick at the centre of the field. Ailesh Newman missed the mark but applied enough pressure to cause a stoppage. Lauren Pearce won the hitout and got the ball to Kate Hore who kicked to Lily Mithen who marked the ball in almost the exact spot as Scott a few minutes earlier. It was also near the spot where she had kicked her inaugural goal in the second quarter.

With one minute to go Lily Mithen had a chance to kick her second and potentially the winning goal in a Semi Final. Lily Mithen who hadn’t scored a single goal in her entire AFLW career before this game and now she was the focus of all the Melbourne fans watching around the Country. All those fans were asking the same question: “Can she hold her nerve?” I’ve tried to imagine how it must feel to have that much pressure weighing down on you while you take the most important kick of your career. How do you block out those voices of doubt saying if you miss this opportunity, there are no second chances. We all seen the best players miss a crucial goal in the dying seconds of an all important game. Kick it and it and you’re the hero. Miss it and you’ll play it over and over again in your mind wondering what went wrong.

Well Lily proved that she has the depth to shut out all the external chaos and to focus her mind inwards enabling her to score the goal of her life. If there had been a stadium full of supporters watching, they would have erupted in a massive outburst of euphoria. There was a massive outburst of euphoria in my lounge room as the reality sunk in. When the last twenty five seconds were finally run off the clock, the sound of the siren was like most beautiful aria ever written.

While the celebrations were short lived as the AFL’s decision hit home, we will always have one of our most unlikely victories. In the end though it’s a game and we just have to put off our dreams of Grand Final glory for another year. Let’s hope that once all this virus pandemic passes, the game as we know it can recover and go from strength to strength.

GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 0.2 1.4 3.7 3.8 (26)
MELBOURNE 0.1 1.5 1.5 4.5 (29)
GOALS
GWS: Schmidt, Staunton, Dal Pos
Melbourne: Mithen 2, Scott, Perkins

Watch Lily’s interview after the heroics of the semi final:

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Demons Suffer From The Blues

March 20, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
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Farewell Irish

Round 6 – Melbourne Vs Carlton

Liam Chambers

I had written Round 6’s report when I heard that the two remaining AFLW Rounds had been cancelled.

It means that Melbourne has made their first final but it’s not the ideal way to have qualified. Having said that with all our injuries and now the departure of the Irish contingent, we probably would have struggled to remain in the top three. Collingwood’s defeat of Brisbane made it essential that we won the last two games.

Anyway, we’re there so lets enjoy it and make the most of the opportunity. Of course the season may yet be suspended or cancelled if COVID 19 continues to throw the sporting world into chaos. That would be a great shame. Whatever happens regarding the virus, it will be beyond the Clubs’ control and probably the control of the AFL.

Back to last Saturday’s match, the Dees started well, again dominating inside 50 but their accuracy let them down. Melbourne’s determination paid off late in the quarter though with a brilliant snap goal from the inspirational Kate Hore. Celebrations were short lived however as Brooke Walker kicked the Blues goal first less than a minute later. The Dees’ advantage was restored when the talented Sarah Perkins kicked a forty metre set shot that never looked like missing. At the other end, Libby Birch kept Carlton at bay and the Dees maintained their lead at the end of the term.

Melbourne continued to play well in the second quarter but Carlton looked in danger of taking control especially after Georgia Gee scored the Blues’ second. To add to the Dees’ woes, Sinead Goldrick hobbled off with an injured leg. With just over a minute to go, Lily Mithen had a chance to score a goal but instead kicked it to the reliable Shelly Scott. Scott’s kick from thirty five metres out sailed through the uprights beautifully for the Dees’ third of the afternoon.

The second half belonged to Carlton and Melbourne’s eight point lead was reduced to three when the legendary Tayla Harris kicked a goal from twenty metres out. Just prior to that goal Melbourne suffered another injury when Darcy Vescio collided with Sarah Lampard resulting in Lampard being stretchered off the pitch. It looks like another ACL injury and will mean Sarah Lampard missing the remainder of the season. Then a lucky bounce from a Grace Egan kick saw the Blues take the lead for the first time in the game. Elise O’Dea had a chance to put Melbourne in front at the end of the third quarter but kicked it wide.

Carlton sensed the game was there for the taking in the last term and when Madison Prespakis kicked a spectacular goal midway through the quarter, their confidence skyrocketed. Melbourne was kept goalless for the second half but Walker’s second for the Blues just rubbed salt into the Dees’ wounds. Her opportunistic kick in front of goal saw the sherrin bounce in favour of the Blues. All the luck seemed to be with Carlton and Melbourne would have to fight another day.

We’ve drawn GWS in our first finals game. Both sides have won four games so it should be a close contest. Of course we have a very sparse bench due to a long list of injuries and the loss of Niamh McEvoy and Sinead Goldrick. I think we will given under dog status which may work in our favour. I’m sure the girls will give it a red hot go whatever happens.

Go the Under Dees!!!

MELBOURNE 2.3 3.3 3.5 3.6 (24)
CARLTON 1.1 2.1 4.1 6.4 (40)
GOALS
Melbourne: Hore, Perkins, Scott
Carlton: Walker 2, Gee, Harris, Egan, Prespakis

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Demons Land Eagle

March 14, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
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Round 5 – Melbourne Vs West Coast Eagles

Liam Chambers

Sunday’s win was a great result for Melbourne. It was a hugely important game in the highly contested Conference B. A loss would have severely hurt our chances of qualifying for the finals in April. Honourable mention goes to Karen Paxman who has been a huge inspiration in driving the Dees’ success this season.

The Eagles came out firing but Melbourne took control early on thanks to a free kick awarded to debutant Sarah Perkins. By the way welcome to the Dees Sarah. We were on the receiving end of some of her brilliant goals in the first two seasons of the AFLW, so it’s nice to have her on our side now. Welcome also to Brenna Tarrant. Perkins perfectly placed kick to Eden Zanker was marked and dispatched for Melbourne’s first goal.

As usual the breeze played a big part at Casey Fields. Melbourne had the advantage in the first term but struggled to make the most of it. Despite dominating inside 50, the Dees were unable to make West Coast pay until Sinead Goldrick crashed through the Eagles’ defence and hand balled the sherrin to compatriot Niamh McEvoy. McEoy ran on to kick Melbourne’s second with two minutes to go in the term.

West Coast knew they got off lightly in the first quarter and started the second determined to take advantage of wind which now favoured their side. That determination paid off when Maddy Collier’s running kick from forty five metres hit the ground in front of goal and bounced over nicely to give the Eagles their first score.

After that Melbourne was able to hold off their opponents but struggled to extend their lead. That was until Shelley Scott marked near the Eagles’ inside 50 and similar to last week kicked it to Jacqui Parry who was uncontested. Parry passed to Kate Hore who passed to Sarah Lampard who kicked the Dees’ third for the match. Melbourne went into the half time break with an eleven point advantage.

The Dees were nicely settled in the drivers seat at the start of the second half. Within a minute, Melbourne had cemented their advantage when a well placed kick from Kate Hore gave them their fourth goal. After that, the major scores started piling up with Zanker getting her second from a free kick in front of goal. Melbourne then applied relentless pressure to the Eagles’ defence which paid off when Shelley Scott’s set shot launched from thirty metres out ended in a perfect goal.

Chantel Emonson got her first when a well placed kick from Tyla Hanks found her unmarked about twenty five metres to the right of the Dees goal. Finally, Tegan Cunningham got her second for the season with a wind assisted kick from forty metres out. Cunningham’s game has been improving recently and looks promising coming into the latter part of the competition.

Melbourne started the last term with a forty four point advantage but were determined to build on the superior percentage count. Tyla Hanks had a chance to score her first major but unfortunately put it wide. Once Hanks gets her goal scoring to match the other aspects of her game, she will be unstoppable. Aliesha Newman also had a chance to goal tally several minutes later but sadly put it through for a minor score.

With three minutes to go, Sarah Perkins kicked a beauty which was disallowed as the Umpire had awarded a free kick for high contact on Jacqui Parry.
Parry made sure of the goal though with the ensuing set shot. In the dying seconds of the game, Lily Mithen dived to mark the ball twenty metres in front of goal. Her kick was unfortunately touched and rushed behind for a point.

The drama wasn’t over yet as a Maddy Gay’s kick from the edge of inside 50 was again marked by Mithen. This time Lily opted to kick wide to her team mates and the ball fell into the waiting arms of Sarah Perkins. Having being denied a couple of minutes prior, it seemed like poetic justice that Perkins should get a second chance right on the siren. She didn’t disappoint. With a perfect kick from thirty five metres out and against the wind, she iced the cake with Melbourne’s tenth goal of the afternoon.

This week is arguably (I would say definitely) the Dees’ most important game of this campaign. If we beat Carlton, we will have gone a long way in securing a spot in the top two. As we play competition favourites Fremantle in Perth in Round 7, we cannot afford a lost in Alice Springs. We are well capable of beating Carlton as we are even with them on points but they will be just as determined to get the win on Saturday night.

Go the Fantastic Dees!!!

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Pies Well And Truly Served

March 5, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
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Round 4 – Collingwood Vs Melbourne

Liam Chambers

After last week’s somewhat erratic performance, the Dees had rediscovered their winning ways.

It started well with Harriet Cordner on the receiving end of a good run of play from the Dees; her shot sadly bouncing the wrong way for a behind. The Pies piled on the pressure for the first half of the term but then Melbourne found a way back down the field when Shelley Scott was awarded a 50 metre penalty. Scott kicked to new recruit Jacqui Parry who marked it on the edge of inside 50. Parry is no stranger to the big sticks having averaged five goals per game in the Canberra League last season. Her job was made easier by another Collingwood encroachment and Parry kicked her first goal from five metres out.

Kate Hore doubled the advantage a couple of minutes later when she launched a spectacular kick from thirty metres out. Collingwood managed a point late in the quarter but the Dees went to the break up twelve points.

The Pies’ got a boost at the start of the second term when Sharni Layton was awarded a free kick after a push in the back from Eden Zanker. Layton converted from forty metres out to score Collingwood’s first goal. Lambert got the Pies’ second a minute later when a free kick was given for a high tackle twenty metres from goal. Suddenly the outlook was less rosy for the Dees with their advantage whittled away in a matter of minutes.

Luckily Eden Zanker wasn’t paying attention and got one back for Melbourne before anyone noticed that the Pies were trying to take control. Collingwood kept attacking but the Dees defence handled the pressure well and almost scored a fourth with a Tyla Hanks’ effort on the back of some clever play via Chantel Emerson and Shelley Scott. Finally though, the out of form Tegan Cunningham marked the ball forty metres out and kicked a beautifully executed goal to extend Melbourne’s lead to thirteen points; where it stayed until half time.

The Dees went in to the second half determined not to let Collingwood regain the advantage. The quarter remained scoreless until a Kate Hore shot was touched on the line. Then some great play from Melbourne gave the ball to Casey Sherriff who kicked it to an empty goal from thirty metres out to get the Dees’ fifth of the night. Sarah Rowe reduced Melbourne’s lead a few minutes later with a free kick in front of goal. However the amazing Shelley Scott restored the Dees’ twenty point advantage with a minute to go. Unfortunately the Pies suffered a second injury for the night when Ash Brazill was stretchered off with a suspected damaged ACL.

The Dees were well and truly in the driver’s seat at the start of the fourth but they didn’t rest on their laurels. The sight of Zanker hobbling off after a couple of minutes was a worry but it turned out to be just cramp. Despite some high pressure play neither side was able to add to the scoreboard until a minor score from the Dees with five minutes to go. Then a beautifully taken mark by Jacqui Parry from an Elise O’Dea kick had the fans excited. Her ensuing shot across the face of goal was incredibly plucked from the air by Maddie Gay. Incredible because she was surrounded by several taller Collingwood players. Maddison didn’t disappoint when she tapped it in from five metres to extend Melbourne’s lead to twenty seven points.

The Pies did get one back with a minute to go. This marginally reduced our percentage count but overall it was a very pleasing display from Melbourne who now have three wins from four. We still have some tough games ahead, especially Carlton in two weeks time and then Fremantle in Perth in Round 7.

No point in getting ahead of ourselves though as it’s West Coast at home next week. Complacency is the greatest enemy of the ambitious so we can’t take anything for granted. The Eagles just won their first game in Round 4, against an underachieving Bulldogs. West Coast will get a boost from the win but so far are not regarded as a threat in Conference B. However, we don’t want them to soar at Casey Fields.

Interestingly, Melbourne have conceded the least amount of goals of any team in the competition. We may not always hit the target but we are difficult to score against. Just saying.

Go the Incredible Dees!!!

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Demons Dispatched By Saints

February 28, 2020 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 3 – St Kilda Vs Melbourne

 

Despite a valiant effort, the Dees were unable to emulate their terrific Round 2 performance. Pre season Commentators had modest expectations of Melbourne but their strong showing last week put them firmly in the ones to watch category. Unfortunately St Kilda had other ideas and their standout player of the night Caitlin Greiser delivered the winning goal in spectacular fashion.

The Dees dominated early in the first quarter and made the Saints work in defence. No matter how hard Melbourne tried though, St Kilda managed to keep them at bay. The Dees play was less fluid this week and they missed opportunities to take advantage of the breeze which favoured their goal in the first term.

Tellingly, the first chance the Saints had to get the ball to Melbourne’s inside 50, St Kilda’s Kate McCarthy was able to kick the ball to Greiser who marked it close to goal. Greiser converted to put the Saints in front. Luckily, one of the Dees’ star players, Shelley Scott got one back just before the siren to put Melbourne in front going into the break.

The start of Q2 added to Melbourne’s woes as promising new recruit Sinead Goldrick was taken off due to the concussion rule and sat out the remainder of the game on the benches. In addition, Maddie Guerin hobbled off with a suspected ACL injury. Aliesha Newman had a chance to replicate her goal of the year from a couple of seasons ago but was only able to score the single point.

St Kilda looked a lot more confident as they started to take the game to Melbourne in a low scoring quarter. Then Greiser showed her influence when she got the ball to Darcy Guttridge in front of goal, who tapped it through for the Saints’ second.

In the second half, St Kilda continue to look increasingly assured. The Dees were going to have to dig deeper to break through. Another minor score from Zanker left the girls frustrated at their lack of points on the board. The longer the scores remained level the more the Saints seemed to be taking control of the game. The Dees defence was were being tested more regularly.

Melbourne did have some serious surges later in the quarter but St Kilda remained calm in defence. Some great opportunities to stretch the lead went begging as the Saints were able to thwart Melbourne’s best efforts. The Dees were clearly dominating the inside 50 tackles, leading by 19 to zero but their kicking kept letting them down. Karen Paxman in particular was ferocious but to no avail. A great mark by Tegan Cunningham failed to make the distance when converted and seemed to sum up the Dee’s night.

St Kilda started Q4 with a belief that their first win was in sight. Greiser almost put the Saints in front with a brilliant kick that just landed wide. Then the combination of the Saint’s McCarthy and Greiser again saw Greiser mark the ball on the inside 50 edge. With a superb kick she secured her second and the St Kilda’s third goal.

Melbourne were now struggling to contain the Saints. As the quarter continued St Kilda looked like the team to beat, despite the best efforts of Paxman to drive the troops forward. Unfortunately it proved too difficult for Melbourne regain the lead and the Saints got their first win.

Melbourne will certainly have learned some harsh lessons. They’ll need to use the loss to their advantage when the take on Collingwood at Marvel Stadium on Friday night. The match will be a double header with Victoria Vs All Stars in the bush fire relief game. There will be a full house and an electric atmosphere so I’m sure there will be more than a few nervous players.

We need to win that game to have a chance of finishing in the top two of the very competitive Conference B. Round 3 will have shaken the Dees a little but I’m confident they have the character to put the loss behind them and come out swinging against the Pies.

Go the Awesome Dees!!!

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