Spring has sprung… Melbourne Demons are the AFLW Premiers!

December 3, 2022 by
Filed under: AFLW, Daisy Pearce, NSW Demons, Our history 
Tayla Harris goals in grand final

AFLW – Grand Final Brisbane V Melbourne

Nigel Dawe

Watching, and then trying to convey something about a team winning a grand final at any level, let alone your own team’s inaugural premiership, at the most elite level – is like seeing a pinata torn wide open from a great height, and then trying to determine which goodie you want to find and explain first.

Well, after seven seasons the AFLW crown has finally gone to the Daisy Pearce-led Melbourne Demons, at a location that few of us had even heard of little more than a fortnight ago… but one now, that none of us will ever forget – Springfield.

Heading to the game by car, I knew it was going to be a good day when the first turnoff from the highway to the ground heading north was #31, and the second was #11, all we then needed was a turnoff #2, and that would’ve been the most famous three guernsey numbers in the club’s history.

There was no turnoff #2, but once we arrived at the ground it became quite evident that the numbers were stacked in the Lions favour… to the tune of 20 (Lion fans) to each of our 1.

Which only meant the barracking had to be more vigorous and committed than at any other time or at any other game we could ever be in the attendance of (as such, I’m hoping I get my voice back at some stage between now and Christmas!)

Having watched footy my entire life, I can’t recall a game (let alone a grand final) that was more on a knife-edge for the whole duration of play, than this one. Throughout the day I kept pondering a comment Norm Smith once made along the lines, “Football is one hundred minutes of agony, but it’s an agony I love.”

Never did solitary acts and singular, selfless deeds across the entire field become so consequential and determining of a final result. As such, if Hanks’ lunging contested mark on the outer wing with 20-seconds of the game to go, didn’t seal the win, then her next possession – a laser-like pass to Purcell, forward of the centre square – certainly did.

With little more than one straight kick in it all day, the final result provided an eerie parallel with Melbourne’s first ever VFL premiership, 122-years prior – which was by the same margin against the same team – a four-point win against the then Fitzroy Lions!

But that said, November 27th, 2022 will eternally belong to the women in the team of the red and the blue, they clocked and thoroughly locked in this day as their very own, forever! With grit and a steely-eyed will to win, they took the grand old flag to a place – against all odds, it has never been before – the Premiership dais of the AFLW.

As a doting Dad who took his own 9-year-old daughter to her very first game of footy on the weekend; the beauty and lasting resonance of this occasion wasn’t lost on me for a second. It’ll be something I tuck away at the back of my mind in highlight fashion, like the day she was born and handed to me wide-eyed and curious of her surrounds. Or the day I wrote her the haiku poem: ‘Every daughter is a rainbow across the sky of her father’s soul.’

But it’s thanks to the women, both on and off the field last Sunday, like Daisy Pearce and Kate Roffey who have paved the way – so my own little girl might one day share the big stage (of whatever forum) without any constraints caused by gender, or because of any subsequent preferential bias given to boys.

Thus, leaving the stadium, holding my daughter’s hand and both of us singing A Grand Old Flag, I couldn’t have been more chuffed; at not just the game our team had won, but what it represented for my own little girl, and girls like her across the country – for the dreams and opportunities it now makes infinitely possible.

That my Alina was the happiest and most delighted I’ve ever seen her, is a measure and gleaming testament to something I just can’t wait to see much more of.


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