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The Saturday afternoon picnic atmosphere of Casey Fields was filled with expectations for this top of the ladder clash of AFLW heavyweights Melbourne and Adelaide.  
 
The majority of supporters present were dee-voted red-and-blue patrons, but everyone had to endure the blaring announcements and music.  
 
Thankfully the notorious wind was manageable.  
 
In the first quarter the visiting Crows failed to score while the Demons put 16 points on the board.
 
Everyone around us seemed quietly content at quarter time. Season Eight business as usual?  
 
It could have been more had Edo not hit the post from a set shot and Lampy (who had scored two goals the last time Melbourne played Adelaide) missed a golden opportunity.
 
At quarter time Matthew Clarke, the Crows Coach, must have said something inspirational as his charges visibly amped up their pressure to have scores level by half-time.  
 
As we walked around the ground the Dees supporters appeared ominously quiet, possibly sensing an upset (or maybe going deaf from the PA).
 
It was a third quarter domination by Adelaide to which Mick Stinear commented afterwards had rattled his Dees. The bigger Crows bodies and pressure around the contest caused our defensive systems to break down and enabled them to kick six unanswered goals during this period.  It was reminiscent of how the Demons lost both games to the Crows in Season Six.
 
Mick tried Goldie, Blaithin Mackin and Kate Hore in the middle at times trying to stem the flow.  
 
Maddi Gay was one winner for us in defence but overall, we seemed overwhelmed and just couldn’t find the footy.
 
Deep in the third quarter and against the run of play, Eliza McNamara kicked a desperately needed running goal which lifted the collective spirits of Demon hearts around the ground.
Melbourne’s reputation as fourth quarter specialists was again on show, delivering a strong comeback to get within three points.  But it wasn’t enough.  The Crows kicked two goals in the last quarter to win by 10 points and ended our 14-game winning streak.  
 
The last 4 games of the Season are WCE away, North at Ikon, Freo at Casey, and Brisbane away.  
 
The match was a quality contest and highly entertaining. Despite the disappointment of losing this clash, we have laid a very good foundation for Season 8.  We should remain ambitious for a Top 2 finish from where we can launch our premiership defence.
In terms of the game:
 
Q1
 
 A centre clearance from the opening bounce leads to an inside 50 mark and conversion by Eden Zanker. Off to a flying start.
 
Unfortunately, Edo hits the post on a set shot from a contested mark. She then kicks her second goal off the ground with under 5 minutes to play.
 
We see Aimee Mackin has gone off with an ankle injury.
 
¼ time: Dees 2.4.16 Crows 0.0.0
 
Q2
 
Ponter marks in front of her opponent and converts.
 
Crows pressure is coming this quarter and Ebony Marinoff kicks a nice goal from a scrimmage.
 
A couple more points from the Crows and we are all square at half time.
 
½ time: Dees 2.4.16 Crows 2.4.16
 
Q3  Tremendous physical pressure coming from the Crows, and the Dees can’t get hold of the footy. Hatchard takes a strong contested mark in the goal square against Blaithin Mackin and converts.
 
A strange holding the ball decision against Goldie in the forward pocket is taken by best on ground Marinoff and she duly converts. Nice goal Ebony.
 
Adelaide’s Caitlin Gould marks on the point post and is able to pass off to Eloise Jones who was unmarked, and she kicks truly.  Melbourne’s defence is shaky.
 
The Dees fail to clear the ball and it comes back so quickly with the dangerous Ponter taking full advantage of a bouncing ball to kick the Crows’ 6th goal in a row to lead by a game-high 25 points.
 
With less than 30 seconds left to play in the quarter, a Lampy smother allows Kate Hore to grab the footy and launch an inside 50 where some Demon teammates get the ball to Eliza McNamara who kicks a wonderful goal on the run.  
A crowd and team lifter for sure.
 
¾ time: Dees 3.4.22 Crows 6.5.41
 
Q4 Melbourne, the 4th quarter specialists, have a goal inside the first minute after a contested mark by Eden Zanker directly in front.  The home crowd enjoyed that one.
 
Next Harris bombs it long inside 50 and Zanker does it again.  Edo is a star, her 4th goal today.
14.26 left on the clock.  
 
Hopes are rising before a Tayla Harris overzealous bump on Marinoff results in a down field free kick to Hatchard who goals.  
 
Melbourne’s day is not done yet.  
 
Goldie, who is playing really well today, takes a loose ball and bombs it inside 50 where Hore, and then Zanker pass it to the running McNamara who kicks her second brilliant running goal.  Go Lize!
We see later that Lize’s game time was only 51%.  
Not sure why?
 
When Eden Zanker wins a free kick, goes back and slots it, it’s a three-point game!  
 
The crowd is going bananas.
 
However, with less than 2 minutes to play from a throw up on the grandstand wing, Marinoff knocks it out to Adelaide’s advantage and the ball eventually ends up with Gould running into an open goal.  Colvin, Birch, and Gillard watch on, unable do anything to stop it.
 
The Crows generated eight more inside 50s, laid 13 more tackles, and won 10 more intercept possessions for the match to be too strong in the end.  
 
Our last quarter effort showed real self-belief.  It just wasn’t our day.
 
Dees 7.4.46 Crows 8.8.56.
 
Coaches and next week
 
Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear stated that the Crows pressure spiked in the middle part of the game which created trouble when exiting our defensive half.  Adelaide had plus 40 possessions in that third quarter.  But he was pleased with how his team played out the final quarter.  The Crows taught us some lessons today he said.  He referenced the similar loss in Round 4 loss to Brisbane last season and hopes to take away some more learnings.
 
Crows coach Matthew Clarke said it was a great game and ended up a bit closer than he would have liked.  A sluggish start but the way his team worked their way into the game was outstanding, particularly the third quarter to which he referred to the ‘stand out feature’.  Melbourne has been the leading team of Season 8, and their forward efficiency is a real strength.  He praised Zanker’s 5 goal game as outstanding.
 
Next week we travel to Perth to take on the West Coast Eagles at 5:05pm Sunday 15 October 2023.
 
Mick said he has 3 or 4 players pressing for selection and that Paxy is recovering from her home concussion accident. Aimee Mackin (ankle injury), Casey Sherriff, and Gaby Colvin were quiet and there weren’t alone.  Twelve Demon players had less than 9 possessions for the afternoon. 
 
MELBOURNE 2.4.16 2.4.16 3.4.22 7.4.46 ADELAIDE 0.0.0 2.4.16 6.5.41 8.8.56 GOALS MELBOURNE Zanker 5 McNamara 2 ADELAIDE Hatchard Marinoff Ponter 2 Gould Jones BEST MELBOURNE Zanker Hanks Hore Purcell Gay ADELAIDE Hatchard Marinoff Allan Ponter Kelly Newman INJURIES MELBOURNE A. Mackin (ankle) ADELAIDE Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil ADELAIDE Nil UMPIRES Adams Clamp Nippress VENUE Casey FieldsAFLWReportRd062023.png
 
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    TROUBLE by The Oracle

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