How The West Was Won

October 21, 2023 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLW, NSW Demons 

Round 7 – West Coast Eagles V Narrm

Liam Chambers

Narrm off to a flying start.

The Eagles may have only one victory to their name this season but after last week’s disappointment, Narrm wouldn’t be taking anything for granted. Alyssa Bannan kicked the opening goal for the Dees with a running kick from 15m after receiving a hand pass from Casey Sherriff.

A tactical error in defence gifted Kellie Gibson a 50m penalty and she converted her 20m set shot for West Coast’s opener. The home crowd would have been happy with their teams’ performance at that stage, considering they had only one inside 50 but were also only trailing by one point.

It didn’t take Narrm long to strike back though. After winning the bounce, the ball was straight inside 50, where Bannan went from nought to sixty in a flash, collecting the bouncing sherrin and hammering home her second. Bannan had back to back goals within a minute after being taken down 30m from home. Her set shot was perfect, and she claimed her hat trick.

With a minute remaining, Aimee Mackin scored the Dees’ fourth after a stoppage, with a grab and snap at goal.

The Eagles keep the visitors from adding to their goal tally.

After Narrm’s complete dominance in the first term, West Coast upped the pressure in the second; tackling well and preventing the Dees from getting into scoring positions. There were a couple of opportunities; Georgia Campbell had a set shot from the pocket that resulted in a minor score, but overall Narrm’s chances were few and far between.

Then shockingly, Courtney Rowley marked inside 50 and kicked the 30m set shot.

It was a disappointing second quarter for the Dees. After all their attacking football in the term, they only had another two points to show for it at half time.

Narrm gets back on track.

Having been held goalless for the entire previous quarter, Narrm needed a confidence building early goal after the main break.

It came in the first minute when last week’s goal hero Eden Zanker marked a Bannan kick, then slotted the 20m set shot.

After the goal, Narrm was all over West Coast, but the hosts fought hard, restricting their rivals to three minor scores before Alyssa Bannan was able to pluck the ball out of the air and speed towards goal, kicking her fourth from 15m out.

The Dees seventh goal was beautifully set up by the Mackin sisters with Blaithin evading the tackle and passing to Aimee, whose acrobatic centering kick from the boundary was marked by Casey Sherriff on the edge of the square. Aimee Mackin was also involved in the next major when her superb kick from the pocket landed the ball directly in front of goal where Kate Hore controlled, collected and chipped it through the uprights.

The Dees wrap it up.

With their reputation as strong finishers, Narrm was in the drivers’ seat at the start of the final quarter. The visitors quickly added to their forty six point lead when Kate Hore kicked her second from a 20m set shot.

Eden Zanker also kicked her second goal, a few minutes later, to give the Dees an insurmountable fifty nine point lead, with just under twelve minutes remaining on the clock.

Alyssa Bannan was playing a blinder, slotting her fifth after marking a nicely placed centring kick from Lily Mitten, then converting the 15m set shot.

After that, Narrm basically set up camp in their forward 50. The overall score could have been much higher but West Coast’s defence fought hard to hold the Dees to a series of minor scores.

In the end, it was a comprehensive seventy point win for the reigning champions, and it sets them up nicely for their clash with second placed North Melbourne in Round 8.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


Dees’ Fightback Falls Agonisingly Short

October 15, 2023 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 6 – Melbourne V Adelaide

Liam Chambers

The Dees keep their opponents in line.

The top two sides met for the first time this season and there could only be one winner. Melbourne had the home advantage; however the other side were seasoned travelers and dangerous on any ground.

Eden Zanker took a contested mark 20m in front and opened the scoring for the Dees with her clinical set shot.

Melbourne were in control early on, but the Crows slowly eased their way into the game attacking the Dees backline. Our defence held up well and got the ball out, allowing the midfield to counter-strike.

Up the other end, Zanker took another, even more spectacular, mark. This time however, she was unable to convert, instead shaking the upright with the kick.

Melbourne continued to set the tone but struggled to make the most of their chances, only landing a few minor scores.

Zanker was determined to make amends for the previous set shot miss, outpacing two Adelaide players, before soccer kicking her second from the goal square.

The Crows turn the scores around.

Melbourne may have dominated the first term, but the Crows began to look dangerous at the start of the second quarter.

The visitors managed a couple of minor scores early on before Danielle Ponter juggled and landed a difficult mark, then kicked her set shot from 30m.

Having closed the gap to eight points, Adelaide continued to pile on the pressure. It paid off with Ebony Marinoff scooping up the ground ball from a stoppage, then turning to snap it through.

The Crows made the most of their new found momentum, tackling hard and preventing Melbourne from playing their natural game.

The Dees defence was under tremendous pressure but having finally managed to break free, they were turned around when they were only halfway up the ground.

Again, Melbourne held off the Adelaide storm; this time until the dying seconds when Jessica Waterhouse marked deep in the pocket. She converted for a minor score, and it was all even at sixteen points apiece.

Adelaide have all the momentum.

It had been a game of two quarters, with the Dees’ early dominance being flipped to the Crows favour during the second term.

Adelaide continued their good form in the minutes after the main break, again applying extreme pressure to the Dees’ defence.

Anne Hatchard kicked the first goal of the second half after she took a contested mark at the top of the square.

Then Ebony Marinoff slotted her second from a difficult pocket shot, giving the Crows a twelve point lead.

The situation only got worse for Melbourne when Caitlin Gould marked to the right of goal. She tapped it back to Eloise Jones, who kicked cleanly from 20m.

All the momentum was with Adelaide now; Melbourne having failed to score a single point since the first quarter.

The, with one minute remaining, Danielle Ponter found herself on the receiving end of a lucky bounce in the square and she snapped through the Crows sixth of the game.

All was not lost however, and with twelve seconds to go in the quarter, Eliza McNamara was able to snap one on the run from 20m, keeping the Dees in contention.

Melbourne launch comeback.

Melbourne desperately needed to score the opener of the final term and Eden Zanker duly obliged. Her contested mark from 15m in front was perfect and her conversion was spot on.

Two minutes later, Zanker had her fourth, after marking at the top of the square and kicking the set shot.

It was an initial whirlwind start to the quarter for the Dees, but Adelaide were able to recover and started applying some pressure on the hosts.

Unfortunately the Crows were gifted a downfield free kick for an infringement on the 50m arc. A dubious call if you ask me.

Hatchard took the set shot and extended the margin back out to fifteen points.

Melbourne hit back immediately after the bounce, winning the ball and heading for goal. McNamarra took a handpass from Eden Zankar and ran on to snap from 20m and claim her second goal.

Zanker was having the game of her footy life when she was awarded a free kick from 30m out. She smashed the set shot to land her fifth major of the afternoon.

Suddenly it was a three point game after the Dees had trailed by twenty five points later in the third quarter.

Sadly it was not to be, as Adelaide was able to launch a final attack which allowed Caitlin Gould to run into the open goal and seal the deal.

It was a valiant fightback by Melbourne, but it proved too difficult to achieve in the end.

It’s off to Perth for the Round 7 game against West Coast. It should be a win for the Dees, but they won’t be underestimating their Western rivals.


Vale Ron Barassi

September 20, 2023 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons, Our history 
RDB in full flight

Ronald Dale Barassi – the greatest of them all.

Nigel Dawe

“O Captain! My Captain! rise up and hear the bells; Rise up – for you the flag is flung – for you the bugle trills… For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning; … The ship is anchor’d safe and sound, its voyage closed and done, From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won.” (Walt Whitman)

FEW people from any era, the world over, ever attain the status of icon, let alone ever becoming synonymous with their chosen, albeit God-given talent for a vocation they come to define, altering its entire landscape through their deeds in such a way that it is never the same again.

Bradman was one, Einstein another; individuals that represent the unsurpassable pinnacle of some given branch of human endeavour. In our code of football, none encapsulate the essence, soul or mythical substance of the game itself at the highest level more than Ronald Dale Barassi Jr.

Everything about this legendary figure reads like a tale of fantastically crafted fiction; from living under the same roof as the equally immortal Norm Smith, to playing and starring in six premierships for the club (a period uneclipsed by any other side in all of the sport’s history) to wholly embodying the tenacity, grit and commitment it takes to reach the top in a sport that plays no favourites, let alone bless a player in such a way as it did our ultimate strong heeled General – Ron Barassi.

Wearing the same number (31) as his war hero and premiership winning father; the legend that is Barassi Jr will forever far exceed the capacity of any of us to remotely convey even the broadest sweep of it. That said, one of my favourite and earliest footy tales pertains to the game’s first ruck-rover (fancy there being no position as such, prior to your involvement in a sport?) But years ago, I remember hearing the yarn about someone ducking and weaving through the mystical halls of heaven in a red and blue guernsey that had the number 31 on its back… it merely turned-out being Jesus Christ – making out that he was Ron Barassi!

The fact our club’s greatest and most celebrated warrior passed away the very day after a heartbreaking loss in a final, is testament that football is rarely a place for genteel swan songs or fairy tales, if not ones that end perfectly for their heroes every time. It is however a place for deeds that demand recalling season after season so that they might remain fresh and vibrant, and live long in the minds of us all.

There isn’t always glory in triumph, but there can often be the purest tinge of glory in defeat; and the laurel of having not given up, is one more pristine and worthy of a champion’s brow than the one given for having won without exceeding extremes. As such, my favourite picture of Barassi, is the airborne one of him in the 1961 Preliminary Final, clearly doing all he could to will a win that would’ve put his side into a record 8th straight Grand Final – that wasn’t to be – but his clear weight-of-the-world expression seems to encapsulate for all-time what being an all-time great means.

I didn’t know Barass, in fact I only ever met him the once, after sneaking out of my workplace for a book signing of his at Dymocks years ago. But I remember saying to him that I wish I were born many years before I actually was, just to have been able to see him play; and to this day that would certainly be one of my wishes if I were ever granted three by some unbottled and bestowing genie.

One thing I also would’ve loved to have done, and genuinely wish that I had, would be to sit in a deserted MCG with Ron and ask what came to mind when he looked out over that hallowed ground. Because for many of us, it is a fully sanctified field of dreams, but for fortune’s most favoured number 31, it must’ve surely been something infinitely more – something akin to a physical realm of pure realised dreams.

Rest In Peace Ronald Dale Barassi, there will never be a more worthy or true warrior-like flag bearer of the grand old flag than you!

What a mark!


Swans Dive at SCG

September 6, 2023 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: AFLM, NSW Demons 

Round 24 – Sydney V Melbourne

Liam Chambers

The Swans start strongly.

Sydney had everything to play for; sixth spot and a home game for their elimination final. The Dees, on the other hand, had already locked in number four on the ladder with the top three positions settled whether we win or lose. A victory though, albeit symbolic, would also be a statement to the other finalists, that the Demons are serious contenders.

The Swans made their intentions clear from the start and brought the game to Melbourne. Logan McDonald scored Sydney’s first, after ten minutes of play, with his 20m set shot.

Bailey Fritsch announced his return from injury with a nicely taken contested mark before slotting the set shot from 45m.

The reply from Sydney came quickly with Errol Gulden receiving a hand pass as he sprinted down the ground. He launched from 50m sending the sherrin straight through the uprights.

Any expectations that Fritsch would have a quiet game after his enforced hiatus were quickly put to bed when he slotted his second from 30m after being a awarded a free kick. Jake Melksham had the Dees in front when he marked the ball on the edge of the square, then ran around to snap it through.

Melbourne build momentum.

After a fairly even first term, the second quarter started in a similar fashion, with neither side gaining the upper hand. Finally though, Sydney took back the lead when Callum Mills’ running kick from 45m sailed through.

Jake Melksham continued his good form with a contested mark, then went back to nail the set shot from just inside 50.

Then, in the shadow of half time, Angus Brayshaw was able to get a kick away, through traffic, from 40m out. The ball landed just over the line, evading the last gasp effort of the Swans’ defender.

The Swans make a break for it but are eventually reeled back in.

Undoubtably Melbourne had the best of the first half, preventing Sydney from taking control of the match. The pressure of expectation to secure a home final would also have weighed heavily on the Swans and they urgently needed to up the desperation stakes.

Both sides came out looking determined after the break, but it was first blood to Sydney after Sam Wicks’ mid-air soccer kick from the goal square hit the back of the metaphorical net. Then Hayden Mclean made it back to back goals for the Swans when his 50m set shot from deep in the pocket hit the target.

Directly after the clearance, the ball was back in Sydney’s forward 50 where Callum Mills marked, then passed to Errol Gulden, who again happened to be running past. The midfielder launched from the 50m arc to make it three in a row for the hosts.

The Swans were piling the pressure on Melbourne in a desperate attempt to take advantage of the momentum they’d created after their opening minutes ambush. The tactic paid off with a fourth goal for Sydney when Chad Warner’s set shot from 45m split the middle.

In fact it was beginning to look like plain sailing for Sydney, especially when Bailey Fritsch limped off to have his injured foot checked out by the medical team. To compound the injury woes, Jake Melksham also made his way to the sidelines with a suspected knee injury.

Then just when the situation for the Dees was looking it’s darkest, Christian Petracca burst through the pack and across the 50m line, to launch a bullet from 45m. The ball sailed over the top of the Swans’ defence to give Melbourne their first goal of the quarter.

The Demons’ cause received another boost, with forty seconds left on the clock, after Kozzie Pickett jumped to take a contested mark 30m from home. His subsequent set shot just slipped inside the left hand upright, and it was a four point game.

Melbourne shatters the Swans home final aspirations.

The Dees came out at the start of the last term with the look of a team hell bent on sending a message to the other sides in the top eight. They were not there just to make up the numbers.

Bailey Fritsch was back on the ground and looked even more determined to send his own message. He took his third inside 50 mark for the game and made it three goals from three set shots with his kick from 48m.

The Dees were back in front and pressing their advantage with Sydney frantically defending against the visitors’ onslaught.

They valiantly protected the goal area but were unable to find anything against Jacob van Rooyen’s excellent contested mark to the left of the square and his around the corner set shot kick which put Melbourne ten points ahead.

Sydney then proceeded to embark on a counter offensive but were unable to break through the Dees defence before Melbourne wrested back control, with Bailey Fritsch scoring his fourth from an around the corner snap 25m from goal. The high scoring forward wasn’t finished yet and he slotted a fifth after his 40m snap hit the bullseye.

With just over three minutes remaining, there was no coming back for the Swans.

It was a bittersweet victory however, as it’s since been confirmed that Jake Melksham’s injury is an ACL tear, meaning he misses yet another finals campaign. Sad news indeed for Melbourne fans.

However, we next take on the Pies for a chance to automatically go through to a preliminary final.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


Dees Go Fourth

August 25, 2023 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: NSW Demons 

Round 23 – Melbourne V Hawthorn

Liam Chambers

Dees Go Fourth

Hawks get off to a flying start.

Late to the party Hawks have caused a couple of big name upsets in the last two weeks. They would be hoping to add Melbourne to that list as they raced to the finish line.

The visitors were off to the perfect start when Will Day received a hand pass in the square and smashed the sherrin over the line. Luke Breust then collected the tap down before running around and kicking from 20m, landing the ball in the square, where it bounced over Lachie Hunter, who was unlucky not to get a touch as it sailed past.

Hawthorn’s pressure was so impressive, it took the Dees over fifteen minutes to score their first goal. It happened when Joel Smith received a hand pass form Kade Chandler at the top of the square and just managed to kick the ball over the line before being brought down.

The Hawks then had their third when Connor McDonald was paid a mark 25m out and scored from the set shot.

With just over two minutes left on the clock, it looked like being a low scoring quarter for the Demons. That was until Angus Brayshaw launched from the 50m arc to steer the ball over the goal line.

After that Jacob van Rooyen marked inside 50, was awarded a 50m penalty, and scored from point blank range to level the game.

Hawthorn had the last say though when first gamer Henry Hustwaite was awarded a free kick and scored from 30m in front.

Melksham makes his move.

Melbourne was being put through their paces by the young Hawks, but they finally got the opening goal, when Kade Chandler marked in the square. The small forward went back to slot his twenty fifth of the season and put the Dees in front for the first time.

Jake Melksham has been highly influential since his return to the top flight and already had a few chances go astray earlier in the match. Odds on though, if you present him with enough chances, you’ll get a decent return on your investment. His opportunistic soccer kick from the edge of the square was perfectly timed.

Hustwaite was having a dream debut when he kicked his second goal after marking and scoring from 40m. Hawthorn reclaimed the lead when Denver Grainger-Barras marked 45m out and kicked his set shot from the arc.

The Dees were back in front just prior to half time when Jake Melksham marked in the pocket and sent his around the corner kick through the posts.

The Hawks prove difficult to shake off.

Tom Sparrow kicked the opener of the second half when Jack Viney passed him the ball after a stoppage, and he launched from 45m.

Hawthorn hit back straightaway after the bounce when Luke Breust marked, turned and snapped his second from 20m.

Melbourne extended their lead to eight points after Joel Smith’s set shot from 40m bent back beautifully to slip inside the upright.

Connor Macdonald then clawed it back to two points when he marked and converted his 40m set shot.

It ping ponged out to eight again with Melksham scoring his hat trick via a 20m snap.

The Dees now looked comfortably in control, having dominated inside 50 for the quarter, and when van Rooyen extended the lead further to fourteen points, it looked like Melbourne’s game for the taking.

Melbourne’s quality comes to the fore.

The Hawks hadn’t given up yet though and took control of the footy after the opening bounce, getting it inside 50, where Dylan Moore gathered and snapped it across the line.

It was a last hurrah for the Hawks, but it still took another ten minutes for Melbourne to get their first of the term after van Rooyen took a contested mark 25m out. His precise set shot returned Melbourne’s lead to thirteen.

The game was still open though, with Demons only kicking a couple of minor scores before they moved up a gear.

Clayton Oliver, playing only his second game after returning from injury, had been restricted by the Hawks all afternoon. They couldn’t restrict him for the whole game however, as he proved with a brilliant snap form then top of the goal square, after a stoppage.

Now with a twenty one point lead and under ten minutes on the clock, it was looking like a very difficult climb back for the young Hawthorn side.

If it looked difficult before, it seemed like a case of mission impossible after Christian Petracca’s superb individual effort from 30m out.

In the end, it was a twenty seven point win for Melbourne who also locked in fourth spot on the ladder. A fitting result for captain Max Gawn’s 200th game.

It’s the final game of the regular season on Sunday and we travel to Sydney. The Swans could potentially land the number five spot if they beat us and Carlton lose to GWS, so it still all to play for.
Bailey Fritsch is back and here’s hoping for a brace of goals on his return.

Go the Mighty Dees!!!


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