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EYES ON THE PRIZE by Meggs


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The Stinear/Pearce partnership has evolved over the 7 AFLW seasons and they have built a team with talented, committed footballers who play for each other and execute a highly entertaining brand of footy.

On Sunday can a premiership be added to this legacy?

This may well be the last time we see Daisy in the mighty red and blue as she contemplates her start date for a coaching role ‘Down at Kardinia Park’.  Last week’s sensational sealer in the Prelim showed everybody that Daisy could surely play on if she chooses but let’s focus on Sunday.

Melbourne, the Season 6 runners-up in April, has earned itself a shot at grand final redemption, to be played at the newly completed Ipswich training ground built by flag favourites, the Brisbane Lions.

Weatherzone forecasts game time temperatures to be circa 34-35°, with a slight chance of rain, humidity of 55%, and 18-20km/h winds.  So much for moving the season from the hot months.

Our girls will hold a training session on the new turf on Saturday to help get acclimatised to the ground.

It will be the stadium’s inaugural footy match so not there’s not likely to be much of a home ground advantage for Brisbane.

Can’t wait!

Following last season’s grand final loss to Adelaide, Mick Stinear and his coaching team assessed what went wrong and implemented and rehearsed a revamped gameplan during the off-season.

In Round 1 Melbourne convincingly reversed the Grand Final result to win by 18 points and then knocked off Adelaide a second time comfortably by 21 points in the Qualifying Final.

On the flip side, they beat Brisbane in the last season’s Preliminary Final, and the Lions were also super keen on redemption.  They did their homework and won well in Round 4.  So pleased with themselves that they lost the next week in an upset to Richmond, their only loss for the season (so far 😊).

Brisbane had 4 players named in the 2022 NAB AFLW All-Australian Team.  Defenders Bre Koenen (their skipper) and Nat Grider plus dangerous forwards Jesse Wardlaw and Greta Bodey.  Ally Anderson won the AFLW’s Best and Fairest but was curiously overlooked for AA selection.  Wardlaw, Grider, small forward Courtney Hodder and ruck Tahlia Hickie made the Under 22 AA team.

For Melbourne, one of its midfield stars Liv Purcell finished 5th in the B & F and was selected in the AA Team along with vice-captain Kate Hore.

On to the game.

Melbourne’s defence is the stingiest in the competition with an average of 18.9 points scored against it.  Brisbane has the most potent forward line averaging 52.5 points.

Jesse Wardlaw is the AFLW leading goalkicker, with a record 22 goals for the year, and has kicked a goal in every game.  They have dangerous smalls in Hodder, Ruby Svarc and Great Bodey and other marking options in Dakota Davidson and Taylor Smith.

Libby Birch and Tahlia Gillard have been strongly intercepting all year and supported by a whole team defensive strategy which is working.  The key backs have lots of help from Goldrick, Heath, Gay, Lampard, and Chaplin.  That adage of defence wins premierships comes to mind.

Brisbane has a great midfield group in Emily Bates, Anderson, Cathy Svarc, Conway and O’Dwyer.  It will be a terrific challenge for the Demon warriors Hanks, West, Purcell, Mithen, Paxman and Mackin.  They have been the best contested ball team this year with which shows one of their key strengths.

The ruck combo of Lauren Pearce, Harris and Eden Zanker is sure to be a focus for Brisbane coaches.

But it’s the forward group that has a point of difference.  Harris, when she rests forward, Hore, Daisy, Bannan, and Zanker provide a range of difficult matchups, but Brisbane’s defensive unit is one of the best too.

Meggs watched the girls train at Gosch’s Paddock last night.  Some of the foot passing by the girls was most impressive.  Tayla Harris looked in mint condition so she’s right to go.  Bannan too moved without concern for her ankle while Gay and Sherriff appeared to be on light duties.

Expect the team to be named as unchanged.

Brisbane boasts a full-strength list.  Farquharson a chance for a recall possibly at the expense of Bella Smith.

Melbourne’s all-time winning percentage stands at 74.6% versus Brisbane’s 67.7%.  Brisbane has played in 9 finals (4 wins) while Melbourne has played 7 (5 wins).

The best two teams of Season 7 go head-to-head in the Queensland heat on Sunday afternoon with both teams having won 11 games and lost only 1 so far.

Meggs predicts that #demonspirit will flourish on Sunday and that skipper Daisy Pearce will lead the beloved Demons to victory and hold the Season 7 Premiership Cup aloft when the final siren sounds at Springfield.

Hoping for a 4-quarter effort, accurate goalkicking and lots of #deearmy cheering on the telly!

Melbourne by 2 points

THE GAME

Melbourne v Brisbane Lions at Brighton Homes Arena, Springfield on Sunday 27 November 2022 at 1:40pm local time (2:40pm Melbourne time).

HEAD TO HEAD

Overall Melbourne 5 wins Brisbane 2 win

At Springfield: Melbourne 0 wins Brisbane 0 wins

The Coaches Stinear 5 wins Starcevich 2 wins

MEDIA

The game will be broadcast on the Seven Network, Fox Footy (channel 504) and Kayo Sports as well as live streamed on womens.afl and the AFLW official app.

THE LAST TIME THEY MET

Naarm (Melbourne) 4.3 (26) was defeated by the Brisbane Lions 6.6 (42) at Casey Fields, 18 September 2022

The only loss for the season was the Round 4 clash against Brisbane.

Brisbane had lost their previous five games against the Dees.

It was a crazy weather that day.  Hail, lightning, thunder, and lots of rain making the ground slippery.  Eerily the game started in the eye of the tornado with no wind for the whole match.

Naarm, missing Tayla Harris to suspension and the injured Sinead Goldrick, started well and led by 4 points at three quarter time.  However, Brisbane’s relentless pressure stymied the Demons’ handball and run game and they went harder for longer, eventually wearing them down in the final quarter with 3 excellent goals via their dangerous runners, Conway, Hodder, and Ruby Svarc.

It was Lily Mithen’s 50th game and she played well while Kate Hore kicked 2 goals.  Mackin debuted promisingly and looked like she belonged out there.

The win propelled Brisbane to outright flag favouritism.

GOALS

Naarm K Hore 2 Hanks Zanker

Brisbane Lions Wardlaw 2 Conway Farquharson Hodder R Svarc

BEST

Naarm Hanks Mithen L Pearce Gay

Brisbane Lions Anderson C Svarc Grider Conway

THE TEAM

As in all of the previous finals in this campaign, the team is unchanged.

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AFLWPreviewGF2022.png

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