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NOT A MOMENT TO MISS by Meggs


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The AFLW Season 7 fixture was carefully crafted to purposely handicap the better teams and give the expansion and developing sides an easier draw.  Nonetheless, this weekend’s Preliminary Finals will showcase the Lions, Demons, Crows and Roos, teams widely accepted as the best 4 in the competition.  

In Friday night’s Prelim 1 the minor premiers, Brisbane, will start warm favourites at home against Adelaide.  

On Saturday afternoon at Ikon Park, Prelim 2 between Melbourne and North is expected to be a tighter affair. The Dees and Roos have met five times and all the games have been close. The average winning margin has been less than a goal and their most recent encounter at the MCG in Round 2 was 2-point nailbiter.

The Roos navigated the tough draw playing 7 matches against the final top 8 teams, losing only only to heavyweights, Melbourne (by 2 points), Adelaide (14) and Brisbane (7).  Melbourne played 4 matches against Top 8 teams winning 3 and losing to Brisbane.  

Meggs musings on the opposition

North have followed a similar upward trajectory to Melbourne, noticeably building and improving across Season 7.  Their recent convincing victories against Collingwood in Round 9 and Richmond in the Semi Final demonstrate their premiership challenger bona fides.

Initially North supporters were worried about offseason player movements with Kashy, Duffin, Gilroy, Bannister and Daisy Bateman departing but concerns have been allayed. Their Irish replacements: speedster Erika O’Shea (subject to a fitness test this week) and the powerhouse Vicki Wall, have rapidly adapted to our game.  

The development in young players such as Mia King, Tess Craven, Taylah Gatt, Bella Eddey and Alice O’Loughlin is evident.  

Darren Crocker has his team firing at the right time and would be pleased with his structure and game plan.

Tahlia Randall with her contested marking and 11 goals this year is a key forward success. Skipper Emma Kearney is now a leading dashing halfback commander. Defenders Brown and Bresnehan have likewise performed well this season.

North possess, arguably, the best player in the competition in Jazzy Garner and have excellent midfield depth with the skilful Jenna Bruton, ball-magnet Ash Riddell and tyro Mia King.

North has an excellent competitive ruck combination in Kim Rennie and Emma King (who plays mainly as a forward/ruck).  

Amy Smith has emerged as a key tagger, has played every game this year, and boasts a Melbourne connection in her brother @joelsmithh44.

Another Melbourne connection is young defender Hannah Bowey, sister of @jakebowey.  But if O’Shea is declared fit, expect Hannah to unfortunately make way.

North’s small forward group of Abbatangelo, O’Loughlin, and Eddey have looked dangerous at times this season, kicking 20 goals between them.  

How Melbourne wins

This game promises to showcase two highly skilled teams.  Both sides are strong at the contest and play an attractive attacking game style, switching and heading down the corridor.  

The Demons’ courageous midfield group led by the silky skilled Tyla Hanks, extractors Liv Purcell and Westy, and aerobic wingers Paxy, Mithen and the marvellous Mackin are all ready to unleash their firepower on the Kangaroos.  

The midfield battle will be fierce.  

Loz Pearce and Tayla Harris, with support from Zanker match up well against Rennie and King. I’m expecting the Dees to hold sway in the ruck on Saturday.

That miserly defence, statistically in S7 the meanest, is led by Libby Birch and emerging youngster Tahlia Gillard. The key backs are well supported by Goldrick, Gay, Lampard, Chaplin and Heath. This group will make it tough for North to score.  None of North’s small forwards are quick but they can be dangerous.

The point of difference (other than when Tay is rucking) is the range and strength of forward targets.  Vice-Captain Kate Hore is having her best season, Bannan is a highlights reel, Zanker will be a difficult match up for Wright or Ferguson, while Daisy is so wily and Harris when forward is a strong target. Plus, Sherriff and Fitzsimon bring the forward pressure.

It has been joy watching the Dees this year.  

Here’s hoping Mick Stinear has the team firing right from the outset after we failed to light the fuse in the first quarter of the Qualifying Final.  

Since joining the AFLW North has a 71.1% winning record and Melbourne even better at 74.2%.

Meggs expects no changes for us this week.
 
Everyone should be refreshed with the week off.  

We love playing at Ikon Park and this is our third game there this season.  

Demon fans should not miss a moment of this game. I’m expecting them to play with lots of #demonspirit, get the job done and ultimately earn their place in the Season 7 Grand Final next week.  

Melbourne by 8 points
 
THE GAME

Melbourne v North Melbourne at Ikon Park, on Saturday 19 November 2022 at 3:10pm (Melbourne time).  

The weather forecast says there may be rain, but the ground will be in prime condition.
 
HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Melbourne 4 wins North 1 win

At Ikon Park Melbourne 4 wins North 3 wins (they have never played against each other at Ikon)

The Coaches Stinear 3 wins Crocker 0 wins
 
MEDIA

TV live on 7mate and Kayo. Check your local guides.

Radio - check your local guides.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET  

Melbourne 3.8 (26) defeated Kangaroos 4.0 (24) at the MCG, 2 September 2022

There was a late venue switch for this Round 2 clash against North Melbourne which became a curtain-raiser to the AFL Qualifying Final between Melbourne v Sydney at the MCG.  

It was a cold evening and North defended valiantly all night. Daisy only had four kicks during the match but thankfully two of them were opportunistic goals.  

The Dees racked up 3.8 with several very gettable shots missing the target while North had only four shots on goal and snagged them all.  

Key defenders Birch and Gillard mostly did well but did look vulnerable when the ball hit the ground.  

Bannan threatened to break away during the match on several occasions, but North’s Irish speedster Erika O’Shea had her covered for pace.  
However, in the final minute of the game, this time matched up on Brooke Brown, Alyssa Bannan weaved some of her magic to kick a miraculous goal and Melbourne snuck past North to win by two points.

GOALS

Melbourne D Pearce 2 Bannan

North Melbourne Emma King 2 Gavalas Smith
 
BEST

Melbourne Paxman Hanks Purcell Birch Heath

North Melbourne Rennie Bruton Riddell Garner Wright

THE TEAMS 

MELBOURNE - No change

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2F0A9CF5-2933-48CF-B4FE-5B6931FCE35A.thumb.jpeg.a5a74a9a424ff7b1d4dc382fb758882f.jpeg

AFLWPreviewPF2022.png

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