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GRAND NEW FLAG by Meggs


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Daisy was at pains to tell everyone who asked that the grand final story was NOT the Daisy Pearce story.  She wanted people to focus on the Melbourne Football Club, our wonderful players and non-playing teammates, her legacy buddy head coach Mick Stinear, the assistant coaches, the Club volunteers, the Board, the administrators, #DeeArmy, all supporters, in fact anyone who bleeds for the red and the blue. 

But it is also a bit about the pioneer, role model, mother who is Daisy Pearce. The Daisy Chain that is today the Demon Chain that celebrates the club’s first AFLW premiership.
Her leadership and partnership with Stinear were the driving forces behind the creation of the incredibly professional club it is today.  It’s an environment that nobody wants to leave, where everyone wants to unselfishly play for each other and simply work bloody hard to improve themselves.
It was a fascinating final, heart in mouth stuff, played with such fierce courage from both teams.  
From Round 5 through to the Preliminary Final no team was able to kick a goal against Melbourne in a final quarter.  Well, our grand final opponent didn’t score a goal in any of the last three quarters.  Dakota Davidson went close with a gettable set shot right on ¾ time but that was it.
Competition leading goalkicker, Jesse Wardlaw, had scored a goal in every game this year.  Guess what? Our 18-year-old 190cm fullback made sure that record was broken. Wardlaw had some reasonable delivery early on Sunday, but Tahlia Gillard’s excellent closing speed, anticipation and long arms prevented any of her chances. Tahls was awesome. Wardlaw had 3 disposals and a pair of zeros.
Won’t it be interesting to see who gets the key back jobs in 2023 with the return of Gaby Colvin?
 
Statistically, the teams were even in most of the key stats. Both teams oddly had exactly 118 kicks and 56 handballs.  But to Meggs’ eyes from the second quarter the Demons appeared to be in control even though we weren’t able to score the goals. Brisbane star Emily Bates commented that she felt it too. Her side seemed to lack some spark and that was due to the relentless Demon pressure and sapping weather.
In the end it was the collective mindset and uncompromising effort of the Dees that won the day.  
Meggs loved the performance of Hanks who is one of the most underrated players in the AFLW.  A ripper.  West and Paxy were awesome too.  Westy’s grunt and attack on the footy together with her running mate Liv Purcell (after quarter time) just wore Bates and Anderson down.  
Everyone in the 21 contributed something really good on the day and no one ever gave up.
Unheralded strong Brisbane defender Shannon Campbell played on Daisy and as a full back sweeper to great effect. Surprisingly from the losing team she was voted the best on ground.  
 
Collingwood star Chloe Molloy suggested that Eliza West had spearheaded Melbourne’s revival from their slow start and was certainly her nomination for best and most influential player on the ground. However, the judges saw it differently with Campbell 12 votes and West 11.
Meggs shed a tear upon the final siren and would dearly have loved to have been in Springfield but settled for the couch with family.  
Loved hearing those #DeeArmy and fellow supporters cheers through the telly.
Thanks for reading Meggs’ musings.  It has been a pleasure to contribute to the #DemonSpirit.
Q1
 
We had chance in the opening minute with D Pearce missing a snap on her left. Not a fairy-tale start.
Thereafter it was all Brisbane with their only two goals of the match.  The first from a nice lead and set shot from Davidson and the second, a centre clearance and then a Cathy Svarc free and goal.
In the last minute of the quarter a promising Demons play sees Megan Fitzsimon about the score a running goal but AA young gun defender Nat Grider runs her down.  It was most definitely the loudest cheers by the hometown crowd for the entire day. Little did they know.
Shortly after the siren sounds, the teams head towards their respective quarter time huddles and a moral victory is claimed by the Lions.
At quarter time Brisbane 2.0.12 to Melbourne 0.1.1
Q2
Tayla Harris missed a set shot early but finally after 10 minutes, a nice quick collect and handball to the running Mackin resulted in our first goal. Only 3 points in it now.  
Brisbane skipper Bre Koenen was injured in the same play and goes off for treatment for what we later learn may be a PCL.
Tayla Harris collides hard with Bella Dawes and comes off with blood streaming down her cheek. Tay is tough. Dawes is off too.
Sherriff has a set shot from the boundary but misses.
At half time Brisbane 2.0.12 to Melbourne 1.4.10
 
Q3 
 
Melbourne continues to dominate the territory battle but it’s furiously tight.
After five minutes Liv Purcell, with strength, extracts to Kate Hore who passes deep to Harris in the goal square. The Dees hit the lead!
Heath has kept the dangerous forward Courtney Hodder out of the game.  Shelley always gets her jobs done and usually very well.
Sherriff has an opportunity off the ground but hits the post.
Conway kicks it through the goals, but thankfully it is touched. It’s tense.
Brisbane has a number of late chances to score. Our team defence is holding up, just.  
Davidson with a mark and a miss right on ¾ time.
  
Whew.
Brisbane 2.3.15 to Melbourne 2.5.17, a 2-point game.
Q4
The last quarter is a nail-biting affair right to the very end.
Gillard showing her poise with another saving mark.  Purcell showing incredible courage and strength to win a one on two.  Gay has been great today marking and defending.  Davidson kicks out on the full and Birch gives her an earful.  Paxman goes off with a bad cramp.  She has run herself into the ground.  Sherriff having some nice moments.  Mick has thrown Hore back to defend this slender lead, a good move.  
Finally, Zanker has a chance to score but her long kick is touched through.  
Melbourne attack with a long shot from Gay that is touched through yet again.
It’s inside 1 minute now.  Brisbane has one more forward foray but Kate Hore marks well at half back and kicks toward Hanks who takes an excellent diving mark.  
Tyla perfectly weights her long pass to Purcell who then kicks towards Zanker.  Fitzsimon roves the loose ball but then the siren sounds.  
It’s a 4-point win and the Mighty Demons are the Season 7 2022 Premiers.
Brisbane 2.3.15 to Melbourne 2.7.19
Time for presentations and celebrations and then on to Mad Monday!
The Coaches:
 
Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear said we seem to have struck the right balance with just enjoying the moment and playing for each other.  When under pressure we just have this strong belief in each other that we get the job done.  Indeed, we did Mick.  We are the Premiers!
Brisbane coach Craig Starcevich was proud of his girls.  He highlighted their record over the last three seasons with 9:2 (wins:losses), 9:3, & 11:2.
  
The Lions have played in four Grand Finals now and been competitive in all.  Melbourne kept it in tight today, and surprisingly looked stronger the longer the game went on.  A very tough match up today.

MELBOURNE 0.1.1 1.4.10 2.5.17 2.7.19

BRISBANE LIONS 2.0.12 2.0.12  2.3.15 2.3.15

GOALS

MELBOURNE Harris Mackin

BRISBANE LIONS Davidson C Svarc

BEST

MELBOURNE Hanks West Gay Purcell Gillard L Pearce Paxman

BRISBANE LIONS Campbell Grider C Svarc Anderson Bates Ellenger

INJURIES

MELBOURNE Paxman (head)

BRISBANE LIONS Koenen (right knee)

REPORTS

MELBOURNE Nil

BRISBANE LIONS Nil

CROWD 7,512 at Brighton Homes Arena, Springfield

POTWAFLWGF2022.png

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