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  1. Congratulations to the Brisbane Lions. Undefeated in all 6 matches against the top teams (North Melbourne, Adelaide, Geelong, and Melbourne). They are worthy winners of the 2023 AFLW premiership. Our ambition for a Season 8 back-to-back premiership was derailed. In round 6 Adelaide spilled the beans on the template to outplay us. From there news spread fast to other top teams who applied similar intense physical pressure at the source which crushed our gameplan to execute via quick hands to runners. We had moments of competitiveness against Adelaide and Geelong, but both the 2023 Grand finalists had our measure at the pointy end of the season. Finishing 2023 Top 4 and exiting in straight sets was an unhappy outcome for supporters, especially given the men’s team finished the same way. But MFC Chair Kate Roffey reminded members that no one will be more disappointed in how we finished the year than the players themselves, they will be determined to bounce back. For Mick Stinear, his football department, Kate Hore and the playing group, it will be back to base camp in 2024, fitter and stronger, and the introduction of some new faces to get excited about. Meggs is optimistic. At the beginning of the season, Demons supporters were regularly posting how much they were enjoying watching women’s footy. It was true, we were playing some really entertaining and skillful football, our best footy is super exciting. Following are reflections on Season Eight 2023: What went right For any team to win a back-to-back premiership, almost everything has to go right. Offence Finishing 2nd with 8 wins and a percentage of 222.9, our ‘points for’ of 653 is the highest in AFLW competition history. Our forward stars Eden Zanker and Kate Hore jointly shared the AFLW Goalkicking Award with a record 20 goals for the Home and Away Season. Edo also snagged three goals in the final against Geelong to finish with 23 for the season, another league record (equal with Brisbane’s Dakota Davidson). One Club - McLelland Trophy Winners = $1 Million MFC Chair Kate Roffey praised how competitive our Club’s men’s and woman’s programs are when highlighting the honour of accepting the revamped and relaunched 2023 McClelland Trophy. She said that while the $1 million prize money is welcomed, the real value is the recognition of the ‘extraordinary commitment it takes across the entire Club to field and support two extremely high performing teams each weekend’. The Daisy replacement No one was surprised about the Club’s appointment of Kate Hore as Captain of the Melbourne Football Club as she was the standout candidate. From the outset of her captaincy tenure our Number 10’s leadership was evident. Her teammates see her as an inspiration on and off the field. Kate does everything well yet appears so humble. Statistically 2023 was her best ever year. She led the league for average score involvements with 6.5 a game, was an equal league-leading goalkicker and averaged 4 marks and 4 tackles per game. External recognition of Kate’s outstanding year came from her peers as the AFL Player’s Association’s Best Captain for 2023 and from the media for by being selected as a forward and captain of the 2023 AFLW All-Australian Team. Last Quarter Bandits New AFLW rules for 2023 included 17-minute quarters and a 60 interchange-limit and these changes advantaged the Dees with our deep fleet of seasoned midfield runners able play out quarters and matches and kick higher scores. Our extended run of unbeaten last quarters ran from Round 4 of Season 7 until North undid us in the Qualifying final, an AFLW record of 19 games. Some exhilarating 4th quarter footy was witnessed by the Demons faithful during the season: Eden Zanker mesmerised the highly rated Crows defence at Casey in Round 6 and then repeated that with three last quarter goals in the losing semi-final against the Cats. Other notable last quarter efforts include seven goals against the Giants in Round 2 and four goals against the Cats in Round 5. Irish Eyes Are Smiling Goldie and the Mackins add so much run and competitiveness and are vital cogs in our gameplan. Blaithin had a tremendous second season, a big improver. Goldie always rises to the challenges of big games and lifts her teammates. Aimee looks a natural forward so injury free and with a full pre-season we have found a footballer. All-Australians Other than the aforementioned great seasons of Kate and Edo, our generational key defender Tahlia Gillard and our uber talented Vice Captain Tyla Hanks also made the All-Australian Squad. Tahls is building an impressive CV of big-name scalps while Tyla, our most skillful playmaker, is now widely recognised for her week in, week out, football genius. What went wrong (the excuses) All was going swimmingly until quarter time in Round 6 against Adelaide at Casey Fields. The Draw Was our draw too soft? In six games against bottom eight teams we had a percentage of 323% whereas in the six games against the top eight teams our percentage was 96.4%. Why were we out of form at the wrong time of year? Mick, this is really a question for you. Did being the hunted, not the hunter, eventually weigh us down? Injuries didn’t’ help Maddi Gay, Aimee Mackin, Tayla Harris and Paxy all missed multiple matches. Lampy broke her wrist in Round 7, Sherriff re-injured her forearm in Round 10. Gabby Colvin only played 2 games. The unspoken illness that swept the team during the finals, was this truly a factor? List composition and game plan Improvement by other teams relative to us? Yes, definitely. Exposed at the source by stronger and more willing bodies. North laid 104 tackles (Dees 80) in the final and Brisbane 81 (Dees 57) in Round 10. Brisbane dominated uncontested possessions 133:75 and marks 51:27. Adelaide dominated us for two quarters in Round 6 but we were able to fight back but not so against Brisbane or North. In the Geelong final it was all going the wrong way until a last quarter hurrah. All four teams exposed not only our lack of midfield physicality but our leg speed and depth in defence. By not being able to exit the contest skilfully we coughed up the footy and back it came. Being 2022 reigning premiers, we already have an excellent core playing group, but all successful teams must renew and refresh their list. Premiers Brisbane lost Bates, Bodey and Wardlaw in 2022. Our shopping list should include some bigger bodies for the midfield and a strong key defender. All new recruits must be runners and competitors who come with established core footy skills. Do we know whether Casey girl Claudia Whitford would consider rejoining the Dees? She has starred for Gold Coast this year. Player movements The Trade Period opens on Thursday 7 December 2023 and closes 14 December. AFLW is reporting that Casey Sherriff, Libby Birch, and Eliza West may be off the Hawthorn. Gold Coast are apparently chasing Charlotte Wilson. We have another Father-Daughter selection in young speedster Jemma Rigoni which is exciting. In other news Georgina ‘Chook’ Fowler has retired from football and leaves the Dees without making her debut. The Draft is being held on Monday 18 December 2023. Speculation Meggs speculates that some end-of-season player reviews will be interesting. Fitzy, the ultra-skilled pressure forward, failed to kick a goal in her 8 games this season. She did have a career-high 15 disposals in the qualifying final against North and a career-high 10 tackles against Fremantle in Round 9. Could Fitzy play on the ball where she has done well in VFLW or even a defensive role? You want the ball in her hands because she has good skills and makes good decisions. Her housemate, the highly talented Alyssa Bannan, had some fine moments in 2023 including a 5-goal haul against the lowly West Coast Eagles. However, Alyssa was unable to consistently assert herself in the 6 key matches against the Top 4 teams, kicking just the one goal. Maybe play her on the wing? Getting fitter and stronger must be a focus for Banno in 2024. Best and Fairest In the AFLW Best and Fairest, Demons scored 46 votes. Kate Hore and Tyla Hanks earned 12 votes, Eden Zanker and Paxy Paxman 6., Alyssa Bannan 5, Eliza West and Lauren Pearce 2, and Liv Purcell 1. The Demons Best and Fairest is being held 9 December 2023. Meggs is tipping Tyla Hanks to win her second best and fairest. She has been our inspirational playmaker all year. Last year’s winner Kate Hore has been superb and might be thereabouts too. Melbourne FC has written a piece on some of the top-performing Demons of the season here: Tahlia Gillard   In just her third season at the top level, Tahlia Gillard has broken into the league as an upcoming star of the defensive 50. She’s improved with each week at the contest and on the rebound. The 19-year-old has managed to shut down some of the best forwards in the league, averaging 5.6 intercepts and 5.2 spoils, with her consistency earning her an inaugural selection in the All-Australian squad. Tyla Hanks   As vice-captain, Tyla Hanks’ impressive performances were a constant for the team in 2023, using her footy smarts, natural talent and silky skills to cement herself as one of the competition’s best midfielders. Statistically, she continued to reach new milestones, averaging a career-high 21.7 disposals, 5.6 clearances, 4.4 score involvements and 3.7 inside 50s. The midfielder finished the season with 12 votes in the league best and fairest count, an equal club-high. Shelley Heath  She might fly under the radar externally, but Shelley Heath is a highly celebrated Demon at the club for her versatility, strength and determination. Often tasked with locking down the opposition’s most influential players, this year has seen her talent showcased across both the backline and midfield, while also impacting in front of goals, kicking two during Round 1.   Kate Hore   This season has seen Kate Hore take on the new title of captain, embracing the responsibility and allowing it to push her game to another level. The crafty forward became the second player in league history to kick 20 goals in a home-and-season, earning her the title of leading goal-kicker alongside Eden Zanker. She also led the league for average score involvements with 6.5 a game.   Most recently, she became a three-time All-Australian forward and received the honour of All-Australian captain to go alongside her AFL Players' Association's Best Captain title. Blaithin Mackin   In just her second season at the club, Blaithin Mackin has further adapted into the sport, having only come across from Gaelic football last year. The speedy winger has been persistent in her develop of the AFL craft, her natural agility and creative skill an asset to the side. Her best performance came in Round 8 where she registered 21 disposals, six marks and four tackles.  Lily Mithen  A stalwart for the Demon line-up since the inaugural season, Lily Mithen has continued to be a pillar of strength for the team in 2023. The energetic and determined utility was impressive in the contest, her versatility an important quality for the side during integral games throughout the season. She averaged 16.6 disposals and kicked a career-high total of four goals.   Lauren Pearce No one does it quite like Lauren Pearce and in 2023 she continued her talented ways in the red and blue. Known for her impressive ruck craft, with the ability to follow up at ground-level, Pearce averaged 18.5 hitouts and 3.2 clearances a game, often seen changing the momentum of a game with a single tap. Despite missing one match in the middle of the season, Pearce’s impact across the year will no doubt put her in good stead for this year’s top honour. Olivia Purcell  A fiery midfielder who consistently steps up under pressure is Olivia Purcell, whose 2023 has been another testament to her talent. The bullish Demon is as competitive as they come, attacking the contest with an unmatched will to win. This season has seen her average 21.9 disposals, 4.5 tackles, 4.2 clearances and a career-high 4.6 score involvements.   Eden Zanker   Experienced Demon Eden Zanker produced a career-best campaign in 2023. The tall forward came into the season with perfected forward craft and a strength in the aerial contest, averaging close to four marks a game. She wrote herself into the history books as the first AFLW player to kick 20 goals in a home-and-away season and was named the league’s leading goal-kicker alongside Kate Hore.  She topped off her year with an inaugural All-Australian selection. Thank you readers Well, that’s all for Season Eight. It has been a pleasure writing about this wonderful team so thank you for reading. Meggs wishes you all the best for the festive season. MEGGS
  2. It was a hot afternoon at IKON where the ferocious Cats came to play, had read the manual on how to beat us and the Demons were unable to match them for the first three quarters. With physical pressure, they took the game on with relative ease and though our resistance seemed better than the previous two weeks it was still not good enough. Within the opening minute, Kate Hore marks within range, but her shot was a miss-kick, like a fat iron, and it kinda set a flat tone for the afternoon. Young Geelong stars Nina Morrison (clearly best on ground) and Georgie Prespakis were ferocious, while 3-time best and fairest winner Amy McDonald started proceedings with two great goals in the opening quarter. Maddi Gay did give the Demon faithful some hope after the half time siren with a terrific long-range goal from a mark. Only three goals in it at half time. The Cats came out strongly after the main break and put the game beyond reach leading by 30 points at ¾ time. An unassailable lead? That’s what everyone thought. Melbourne in eight seasons had never lost three games in a row. Well in the ¾ time huddle, with Harris hurt, Mick Stinear mixed it up. He threw Tahlia Gillard into the ruck, with dynamo Goldie, Kate Hore and the extractor Westy and within seconds of the commencement of the last quarter we had scored a goal. The season-long weight of expectation of being reigning premiers, the hunted versus the hunter, had somehow lifted from our players’ shoulders. Emerging belief. Nothing to lose. It was a very exciting last quarter comeback to watch at the ground but ultimately it was too little too late. After witnessing almost three weeks of un-Melbourne-like football at least we finally displayed some of our trademark exciting football in the last quarter of 2023. Demons Fans were building with excitement as we kicked five goals in the last to nearly pinch a win, falling sadly short by less than a goal. That Loz Pearce snap was agonisingly close to forcing extra-time. Eden Zanker started holding her marks and kicked three brilliant last quarter goals to finish on 23 goals for the season, an AFLW record. Congratulations Edo. Geelong Coach Dan Lowther was shown on the big screen several times looking highly nervous. The big Geelong contingent who came up on the buses sensed the danger too and started cheering loudly for their team as the margin kept whittling away. But fortunately for them the siren sounded before our last forward thrust could be completed. In the end the Cats deserved the win. For the Dees Goldie was strong throughout, Hanksy is our talented talisman, Maddi Gay plays so well in finals, Westy made a strong comeback, Liv Purcell is an important cog in the midfield along with Paxy and Loz Pearce while Zanker starred in that last quarter. There were several players who didn’t impact the match and really every time we win, we have an even contribution. Sadly, not this week. Sherriff and Lampy were missed. The Demons will now start all the end of season processes including players reviews and list management. There is obviously some work to be done to improve. Well, that’s the season wrap up from Meggs. It has been a pleasure going to matches, reporting and reviewing and he thanks you for taking the time to read these missives. Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear was gutted but said Geelong deserved to win. For three quarters Geelong got first use of the ball. Our belief kicked in in that last quarter and at least showed what the group is capable of. We were unfortunately out of form at the wrong time of year. Why was that Mick? Geelong coach Dan Lowther thought his side had enough of a buffer at ¾ time to win the match but was nervous towards the end and clearly relieved when that final siren sounded. He highlighted Hanksy’s outstanding last quarter. One concern for the Cats is their fading last quarters. In their 2 finals so far, Geelong has only scored 1.1.7 and their opposition 8.4.52. The Cats have earned a Preliminary Final contest next week against Brisbane at Ipswich starting at 7:45pm Melbourne time. It will be a tough assignment for them, and we wish them well.  MELBOURNE 0.2.2 1.4.10 1.7.19 6.9.45 GEELONG 2.4.16 4.5.29 6.7.43 7.8.50 GOALS MELBOURNE Zanker 3 Gay Hanks A Mackin GEELONG A.McDonald 2 Crockett-Grills Darby Moloney Parry Scott BEST MELBOURNE Gay West Zanker Gillard Purcell Hanks GEELONG Morrison A McDonald Webster M McDonald Parry Prespakis INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil GEELONG Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil GEELONG Nil UMPIRES Adams Scott Talbot CROWD 5,057 at IKON Park
  3. Following successive comprehensive defeats by fellow Top Four heavyweights the Demons play down a division this Sunday against the highly promising Cats. Strangely, no games against the Cats for five seasons and now we play them twice in one season. With the blueprint on how to defeat the Dees available on the dark web the real question is, will we crumble again under the finals pressure cooker or will we rediscover our #DemonSpirit and execute a turnaround? Make no mistake this semi-final against Geelong is an enormous challenge. In Round 5 at Mordor, they stayed in the contest for three quarters but ultimately it was our record breaking forward efficiency that won the evening. Our high scoring has vanished these past two weeks, kicking only 9 and 28 points respectively. Against Top Eight teams this year our record is not so strong with a percentage of 98% whereas it’s 323% against the bottom eight teams. The weather forecast looks good for Sunday, 24 degrees and sunny. So, come along to IKON if you can and support our wonderful team. Noting there are a couple of milestones this week to celebrate: Midfield dynamo Liv Purcell’s plays her 50th game (including 19 games with Geelong), and Mick Stinear is coaching his 75th game. Good luck to the milestoners on Sunday. Selection this week Eliza West is back to boost our contested midfield pressure while Georgia Cambell is omitted. Rhi Watt, Charlotte Wilson and Sammie Johnson are named as emergencies. Geelong has lost goalkicking dynamo Chloe Sheer to a collarbone injury. Our opponents, Geelong The Cats have a strong engine room led by league stars in Georgie Prespakis and Nina Morrison. Support comes from 3-time best and fairest winner Amy McDonald, Zali Frizwell, and Mikayla Bowen. Meg McDonald leads the Cats’ defence along with former Dee Chantel Emonson, Claudia Gunjaca a strong intercept mark, Becky Webster, and Georgie Rankin. Ex Dee Jacqui Parry is having her best season up forward with 13 goals and 46 marks. It’s nice to see Shelley Scott back playing against her old team but the loss of Scheer will weaken their forward line. The danger player is tall athletic Irishwoman Aishling Moloney. She was on fire last time we played kicking 3 goals and will no doubt be a handful for Birch and Gillard again. Expect their coach Dan Lowther to have extra pressure planned for our stars Kate Hore and Tyla Hanks. He has two ready-made terrorisers to unleash in Darcy Moloney and Rachel Kearns. Meggs view Supporters’ confidence is understandably low following the recent defeats. There have been external comments about the Dees having illnesses last week so let’s hope we are fully fit and ready to give it red hot go on Sunday. Meggs is confident that we will bounce back and see an even team contribution. In leading goalkickers Hore, Zanker, Bannan, Harris and others we have the firepower to win. Our defence with Tahlia Gillard, Libby Birch and Goldrick is solid, and our engine room led by Liv Purcell, Tyla Hanks and Loz Pearce is a real strength. Reducing the impact of Prespakis and Ash Moloney is a key to winning. All of our players must win or at least halve the one-v-one contests, its finals footy. We are looking for more energy and physical pressure this week, a rediscovery of our trademark run and carry game and hoping our all-conquering forward line stars get their mojo back. Go Dees! Melbourne to win by 7 points THE GAME Melbourne v Geelong at IKON Park, on Sunday 19 November 2023 at 3:05pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 1 win Geelong 0 wins At IKON Park Melbourne 1 win Geelong 0 wins (Against others - Melbourne 7 wins 1 loss Geelong 2 wins 1 loss The Coaches Stinear 1 win Lowther 0 wins MEDIA TV – 7 mate, Fox Footy, Kayo Mobile – AFL Live Official App Radio – ABC, AFL Nation, Tagalog FIL THE LAST TIME THEY MET (Season 8, Round 5) MELBOURNE 2.1.13 5.4.34 7.5.47 11.8.74 GEELONG 1.0.6 2.0.12 4.1.25 4.1.25
 GOALS MELBOURNE Hore 4 Paxman Zanker 2 Gay Hanks Mithen GEELONG A. Moloney 3 Morrison
 BEST MELBOURNE Hore Purcell Paxman West Gillard Hanks GEELONG Morrison A. Moloney A. McDonald Prespakis Webster INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil 
 CROWD 4,312 at GMHBA Stadium The Dees proved once again that they were the team to beat in Season 8 running away with a comfortable 49-point win. It was an intense battle and Geelong challenged us. Nina Morrisson was best with a game-high 30 possessions while Irish sensation Aishling Maloney was dominant everywhere and kicked three goals. Liv Purcell, with her typical ferocious play, contested strongly and was well supported by vice captain Tyla Hanks, Lily Mithen, Paxy, and Westy. Kate Hore had a fantastic game kicking four goals and our efficiency in the forward half was brilliant and the reason why we kicked away to win by so much. Mick Stinear said it was an even battle, the contest felt much tighter than the final result. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick M. Gay S. Heath C B. Mackin T. Hanks A. Mackin HF M. Fitzsimon P. Paxman E. Zanker F K. Hore T. Harris FOLL L. Pearce O. Purcell L. Mithen I/C A. Bannan M. Chaplin E. McNamara J. Ivey E. West EMG S. Johnson R. Watt C. Wilson IN E. West 
OUT G. Campbell (omitted) Milestones Olivia Purcell (50 games), Mick Stinear (75 games coached) GEELONG B C. Emonson C. Guniaca HB R. Webster M. McDonald G. Rankin C M. Bowen G. Prespakis N. Morrison HF R. Garing J. Parry K. Surman F S. Scott A. Moloney FOLL E. Hoare A. McDonald J. Crockett-Grills I/C K. Darby G. Featherston Z. Friswell R. Kearns D. Moloney EMG M. Bragg A. Kennedy B. Plummer IN K. Darby G. Featherston 
OUT M. Bragg (omitted) C. Scheer (collarbone) Injury List: Semi Final Rhi Watt - Concussion | Test Gaby Golvin - Achilles | 1-2 weeks Sarah Lampard - Wrist | 2 Weeks Casey Sherriff - Arm | Season
  4. We were expecting that after last week’s comprehensive defeat by Brisbane, our coach Mick Stinear would have his charges coming out breathing finals fire. Instead, it was North who had the aggression, the numbers, who blocked our scoring avenues and rendered us impotent, unable to match the Kangas during any phase of the match. Darren Crocker, the North coach, later highlighted that how to beat Melbourne is no secret following recent losses to Adelaide and Brisbane and now North. With the secret out, will Geelong be our next subduer? In fairness North was brilliant. They won across all three lines and made us look second rate. By jingo they laid 104 tackles. We were not able to generate any corridor switches, not helped by our many dropped marks and kicking errors. Our forwards were unable to halve contests, never ever seemed to be in front and ultimately the footy never stayed long enough near our goals. No surprise then that Melbourne, despite having the greatest attack in AFLW history, was unable to score a goal in the first 3 quarters. One goal three points is our second lowest score in history and the 41-point loss is our second highest loss. It was also unhappily our first loss at IKON Park. Libby Birch is excellent as the deep defender with her intercept marking and reading of the play. However North forced her to play one on one and you could see at ground level that she was being constantly outbodied and outsprinted. North has three talls in Randall, Shierlaw and Emma King and it would seem we were missing one key defender. Meggs watched all the AFLW finals games over the weekend and the standard of matches was really high. In a sliding doors moment, former Dee Brenna Tarrant left us for greater opportunities in Sin City. She has really blossomed and was the standout Swans key defender on Saturday. The North big three of Garner, Riddell and Kearney were superb. Expecting Heater to blanket the best player in the AFLW as a core strategy every time needs rethinking Mick. In terms of our team, Tyla Hanks and Liv Purcell worked tirelessly for 4 quarters. They along with others such as Goldie, Gay, Kate Hore, B Mackin, Paxy, Chaplin and Loz Pearce showed the level of physical commitment required to play in finals. Unfortunately, there was never enough connection to ever win this game. Anyway, enough doom and gloom. We are still alive in Season Eight. Let’s move on, cash in our double chance and bounce back like true defending champions against the Cats. In terms of the game: Meggs and Mrs Meggs sat amongst the players families this week which was lovely and engaged in some lively chats during the game. Q1 It was a mostly tight opening quarter. Tahlia Randall outbodied Loz Pearce in a ruck contest before slamming it onto her boot for the only goal of the quarter. North peppers the goals for points only and we feel lucky that no damage is done. Hansky has a late chance but mistimes her kick. ¼ time: Dees 0.1.1 Roos 1.4.10 Q2 We struggle to get the ball forward and when we do it comes straight out again. North scores the only goal of the quarter by Randall who outbodies Birch in a marking contest. It is swirly out there for footy but really sunny and warm in our seats. ½ time: Dees 0.1.1 Roos 2.4.16 Q3 Mick makes a move. Tayla Harris starts the quarter in the ruck, with Hanksy, Kate and Paxy and instantly we move the ball forward and Loz Pearce marks directly in front. Momentum is lost as she misses left a la Max Gawn. North then explode for their best quarter of the game. Three rather impressive goals by North to Randall and then Eddey on the run twice. The Dees double their score but it’s only 2 points in total. We can’t believe that the league’s most potent forward line has failed to fire a bullet. Zanks what’s happening? ¾ time: Dees 0.2.2 Roos 5.6.36 Q4 We are beaten in every quarter. Kate Hore marks nicely but hits the post from directly in front. A few moments later Bannan who has been mostly unsighted takes a nice mark and kicks truly for our only goal for the day. North’s Gatt runs 20 metres without bouncing it and O’Loughlin kicks North’s penultimate goal. Emma King then puts the final nail in our coffin for a 41-point drubbing. What has happened to the #DemonSpirit these past two weeks? Dees 1.3.9 Roos 7.8.50 Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear was thankful that our successful home and away performance allowed us the double chance. He said North’s defence was sound and they thoroughly deserved the win. We were scored against too easily and there wasn’t enough connection. North coach Darren Crocker said his side has built a unique defensive system over a number of seasons and was pleased how it held up in finals conditions. He referenced the tackling and pressure by Adelaide and Brisbane in their recent wins over Melbourne which demonstrated the method of how to beat us. For Melbourne, another huge task awaits Mick Stinear and his football department as they regroup for a battle against the confident Cats next Sunday at 3.05pm AEDT at IKON Park. MELBOURNE 0.1.1 0.2.2 0.2.2 1.3.9 NORTH MELBOURNE 1.4.10 2.4.16 5.6.36 7.8.50 GOALS MELBOURNE Bannan NORTH MELBOURNE Randall 3 Eddey 2 E. King O'Loughlin BEST MELBOURNE Purcell Hanks Hore Gillard Pearce NORTH MELBOURNE Garner Randall Kearney Riddell Eddey Ferguson Gatt INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil NORTH MELBOURNE Shierlaw (teeth/cut lip) REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil NORTH MELBOURNE Nil UMPIRES Adams Laycock Mitchell CROWD 5,431 at Ikon Park
  5. A sunny Sunday afternoon feast of finals footy awaits at our team’s favourite home ground, Ikon Park. Great vibes at Princes Park where we remain undefeated from 7 matches and counting. Expect the Dees to come out strongly, sparring and outmuscling the Kangaroos in the middle. With Paxy back firing and our gun forwards mesmerising, hopefully we catch ‘em on the hop. Melbourne, Adelaide and Brisbane have filled ten of the twelve Grand Final spots in AFLW history, and this dominance looks well placed to continue with all teams finishing Top 4 in Season 8. The North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos are desperately hoping to shatter this stranglehold. Kangaroos superstar Jasmine Garner is the runaway 2023 AFLCA best player for an incredible third time. Her team relies on her dominance because when she does, they do. Her leading midfield buddy Ash Riddell has 320 disposals this season, an average of 32 per game. No Demons come close to besting this stat. North has won 67.2% of its matches since entering the competition in 2019. Prima facie, a great record but stats can be misleading. History shows us that the Demons, Crows, and Lions have been the Kangas persistent nemesis. The Roos record against the Big 3 is miserable. Only 2 wins from 16 matches or 12.5%. Whereas its record against the rest of the competition is an impressive 88.1%. Listening to Goldie and Heathy during the week you can tell that we’ve moved on from last week’s disappointing match. The Demons coach was highlighting our impressive Season 8 home and away record of 8 wins, finishing second with a double-chance, and kicking the highest ‘points for’ by any club since the competition began. We also have goal kickers Captain Kate Hore and Eden Zanker with 20 goals each, an AFLW record. Plus having two players from the same team winning the goalkicking has never happened in men’s or women’s footy either. Melbourne’s emerging young talent was recognised during the week with Tahlia Gillard, Eliza McNamara and Alyssa Bannan named in the AFL Player’s Association’s 22Under 22 Squad. No rain but some wind this Sunday. It should be ideal playing conditions between two closely matched hard working teams. Please come along if you can and be entertained by two exciting and super talented teams. Selection this week Importantly Paxy has been greenlighted for Sunday. We need her run and creativity. We hear that Georgia Campbell is in the mix to replace Rhi Watt who is out with concussion. Armchair selectors are hoping Georgia plays this week and that Harris and Zanker stay forward, not seconded as backup rucks. Aimee Mackin and Maddi Gay are seemingly available too which is great news. Unfortunately, Casey Sherriff has broken her arm again and now out for the season. Her clever ball use, which has led to many goal-assists this year, will be missed. Georgia Gall, a surprise replacement last week, will be one omission. Our opponents, North Melbourne North has midfield bull Mia King as a test with neck soreness. Utility Lulu Pullar is also a test. With key defender Nicole Bresnehan now returned from a serious ankle injury, North is at full strength. The North engine room is highly respected by the Melbourne brains trust. Garner, Riddell, Mia King, tagger Amy Smith and the highly skilled Jenna Bruton are a formidable group. Kim Rennie and Emma King do the Kangas ruck work, but our wonderful Loz Pearce has had the edge lately and Georgia Campbell scored a goal last time they played. Statistically North has the best defence with only 213 points against. The defence is led by their illustrious skipper Emma Kearney, the only player to be named All-Australian in every season of AFLW’s existence. With the reliable Bresnehan (who didn’t play in Round 8), and talls Ferguson, Wright, Shannon plus the speedy Irish player Erika O’Shea, the North defence is the best in 2023. Expect to see O’Shea mark up on Banno again. Forward wise, we kept them to 2 goals last time. Kate Shierlaw, Tahlia Randall and Emma King resting are all capable and potentially dangerous marks. Our defenders led by young Gillard and co will match up well. Meggs’ view Adelaide and Brisbane have shown the competition how to beat Melbourne. The Demons coaching staff know this and will be expecting North to emulate the physical attack on the ball carrier, bring numbers and apply high intensity to turn over the ball. Melbourne must match the pressure, swarm like Brisbane did last week, lower their eyes and attack. The playing surface at Ikon is superb so there are no excuses for poor skills this week. Heathy hinted that she might be shadowing Garner. As we’d expect. Meggs would like to see Mithen take on Riddell. Eliza Mac could be an interesting match-up on the emerging Taylah Gatt. North has the best backline, and Melbourne the best forward line. It’s going to be a cracker of match watching Zanker, Hore, Tayla Harris, and Alyssa Bannan strut their stuff. Eyes on the prize, a week off. Meggs fears an uncomfortably close one coming up. Go Dees! Melbourne by 1 point THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos at Ikon Park, on Sunday 11 November 2023 at 3:05pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 6 wins North 1 win At Ikon Melbourne 2 wins North 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 5 wins Crocker 0 wins MEDIA TV – 7 mate, Fox Footy, Kayo Mobile – AFL Live Official App Radio – ABC Radio, NEMBC Media (Spanish Radio). THE LAST TIME THEY MET - Season 8 Round 8 at Ikon Park, 21 October 2023 NARRM 1.1.7 3.4.22 4.5.29 5.7.37 NORTH MELBOURNE 2.1.13 2.1.13 2.1.13 2.2.14 GOALS NARRM Campbell Hanks Hore Sherriff Zanker NORTH MELBOURNE Craven Martin BEST NARRM Hanks Purcell Hore Mithen B. Mackin Gillard
 NORTH MELBOURNE M.King Kearney Riddell Garner O'Shea INJURIES 
 NORTH MELBOURNE Nil LATE CHANGES NARRM Aimee Mackin (ankle) and Gab Colvin (Achilles) replaced in selected side by Megan Fitzsimon and Charlotte Wilson
 NORTH MELBOURNE Nil CROWD 2,704 at Ikon Park It was an impressive defensive display by Narrm at our favourite home ground, with North scoring a solitary point after quarter time. Our Vice-Captain Tyla Hanks was clearly the best player on the ground and earned the 10 coaches votes. Hanksy had great support in particular from Purcell, Hore, Mithen, B. Mackin, Gillard and Heath. Heathy ran with AFLW Coaches favourite, Jasmine Garner, and limited her usual output, earning praise from Mick Stinear. The Dees kept the Roos under constant pressure and Darren Crocker commented afterwards that his team couldn’t move the ball like they have against lesser sides. By the end of the night, it was Narrm, with our trademark #DemonSpirit, just too good for too long and back on top of the AFLW Season 8 premiership ladder on percentage. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick S. Heath M. Chaplin C B. Mackin T. Hanks A. Mackin HF A. Bannan M. Fitzsimon E. Zanker F T. Harris K. Hore FOLL L. Pearce O. Purcell P. Paxman I/C (from) G. Campbell M. Gay J. Ivey S. Johnson E. McNamara L. Mithen E. West C. Wilson IN G. Campbell M. Gay S. Johnson A. Mackin P. Paxman C. Wilson
 OUT G. Gall (omitted) C. Sherriff (arm) R. Watt (concussion) NORTH MELBOURNE B E. Shannon J. Ferguson HB E. Kearney S. Wright E. O'Shea C A. Smith M. King T. Gatt HF B. Eddey K. Shierlaw A. O'Loughlin F T. Randall E. King FOLL K. Rennie J. Garner A. Riddell I/C (from) N. Bresnahan J. Bruton L. Burke T. Craven L. McGrath N. Martin L. Pullar R. Tripodi IN L. Burke M. King L. McGrath L. Pullar OUT E. Gavalas (omitted) Injury List: Qualifying Final Maddi Gay -Hamstring | Test Aimee Mackin - Ankle | Test Paxy Paxman - Hamstring | Test Rhi Watt - Concussion | 1 Week Gabby Colvin - Achilles | 1-2 Weeks Sarah Lampard - Wrist | 3 Weeks Casey Sherriff - Arm | Season
  6. “Cold aggression”, Lions star full forward Dakota Davidson called it. Brisbane outmuscled, outran, and ultimately overwhelmed us. They certainly came to play and exorcised their 2022 grand final grudge defeating the Demons in the rematch by 25 points. Stats count and Brisbane won the key ones. Inside 50s 42 to 24, centre clearances 8 to 6, uncontested possessions 133 to 75 and 51 marks to 27. The Lions’ sustained pressure is the kind we usually bring for other teams. There was one brief moment, at the 13-minute mark of the second quarter, when Melbourne skipper Kate Hore put the Dees in front. Alas that was our last goal for the rest of the game. The match was eerily reminiscent of the second and third quarter shellacking that Adelaide delivered in Round 6. Disappointingly, there was no last quarter comeback this time as the Lions had completely blanketed the handful of soldiers bravely resisting. Melbourne’s renowned versatility and even contribution failed to emerge. Pearce, Hanks, Hore, Purcell, Gillard, Goldrick, Mackin and Harris were all willing but needed everyone to get more involved if we were to win. Star mid Paxy Paxman was ruled out before the game with hamstring awareness and replaced by last week’s debutant Georgia Gall. Rhi Watt was ruled out with concussion during the game. Maeve Chaplin was visibly upset as she was helped off the ground following her collision with Davidson. Encouragingly, she later re-emerged and finished out the match. Replacements are needed. No Maddie Gay next week and possibly no Paxy. We can only hope that Aimee Mackin and Gaby Colvin complete their recoveries and that no one else is added to the unavailable list. Some are concerned that Tyla Hanks may be in trouble for her dangerous tackle. A dispiriting way to finish the home and away season, but our second spot and a double chance has been well earned so let’s start over. Anything is possible in finals. In terms of the game: Q1 Brisbane starts with heat and Dakota Davidson scores the first goal from a nice mark on a lead. Meggs is concerned about leg speed over the ground as Brisbane carve Melbourne up through the middle with a long bomb running goal by Hampson. Gall for Paxy seems an odd replacement. We seem to be fumbling and dropping marks under the perceived pressure. Against the run of play, a chain of Demons sees Fitzy hit up Sherriff who marks in from of goal. The commentator mentions that Casey has kicked 4 goals 14 points over the past two seasons but thankfully she can’t hear Jason Bennett and kicks truly. ¼ time: Lions 2.2.14 Dees 1.0.6 Q2 We start stronger this quarter. Tayla appears to re-injure her shoulder but moments later marks and goals. Just as we look to be attacking Kate drops a chest mark under pressure and Brisbane take the ball coast-to-coast for a goal with some exhilarating ball movement. Hanks is taken high and goals from directly in front. Zanker is now on second ruck duties replacing the concussed Rhi Watt. A brilliant pick up and snap from Kate Hore on a tight angle sees the Demons in front. However, it doesn’t take long before Brisbane takes back the lead after Davidson scores her second goal. Brisbane showing us some more of their cold aggression right on half-time with a number of players pushing and shoving. ½ time: Lions 4.3.27 Dees 4.0.24 Q3 Brisbane dominate the opening of the 3rd term and score 2 quick goals. Meggs watches most Brisbane games and Jade Ellenger is not someone who opposition coaches would typically consider for a matchup. However, she is giving the Lions heaps of defensive drive, playing the best game of her career. No one appears to be playing on her. The weight of Lions inside 50s is overwhelming our defence and Ruby Svarc and Sophie Conway score late quarter goals. ¾ time: Lions 8.4.52 to Dees 4.1.25 Q4 An arm wrestle with no goals scored by either team this term. While the Dees failed to kick a goal in the second half, we are the 4th quarter specialists, and win last quarter by 2 points. Lions 8.5.53 to Dees 4.4.28 Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear said Brisbane was too good tonight and deserved to win. Defensively Brisbane was brilliant tonight and we struggled to navigate a way through. It was a physical game and Rhi Watt is out with concussion. He referred to really good depth in his squad. Lions coach Craig Starcevich said there was some passages of play by his team that were the best they’ve ever done. He felt he had his best team out there which helps. Brisbane having defeated all the other top four teams must be considered an equal flag favourite with Adelaide. Their qualifying final next week in Adelaide will be a blockbuster. For Melbourne, a huge task awaits Mick Stinear and his football department as they tend to bruised bodies and restoring self-confidence ahead of our all-important qualifying final against North Melbourne. Dees should start as favourites but recent wins count for nothing once the game starts. MELBOURNE 1.0.6 4.0.24 4.1.25 4.4.28 BRISBANE LIONS 2.2.14 4.3.27 8.4.52 8.5.53 GOALS MELBOURNE Hanks Harris Hore Sherriff BRISBANE LIONS Conway Davidson 2 Hampson Mullins Smith R Svarc BEST MELBOURNE Pearce Hore Purcell Hanks Gillard BRISBANE LIONS Ellenger Koenen Hodder Conway Anderson Dawes LATE CHANGES MELBOURNE Paxy Paxman (hamstring) replaced in selected side by Georgia Gall BRISBANE LIONS Nil INJURIES MELBOURNE R. Watt (concussion) BRISBANE LIONS Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil BRISBANE LIONS Nil CROWD 3,004 at Brighton Homes Arena
  7. Big stakes this weekend. For the winner, will it be a Dees minor premiership and potential home grand final or will it be a Lion‘s Top Four finish and a double chance? Huge interest circulates in the how the ladder unfolds over this weekend’s final round of the 2023 home and away season with some 10 teams vying for 8 places. It’s AFLW Pride Week, a celebration of people from all walks of life coming together, being respected, loved and accepted. Women’s football continues to be a benchmark when it comes to inclusivity and a safe workplace. Mick Stinear and Craig Starcevich are foundation coaches of their respective teams, and this is the 9th time they have met. Stinear leads with 6 wins and 2 losses. Milestones this week include Starc’s 75th match as coach and Libby Birch’s 75th AFLW game. The last match between these sides was the Demons inaugural premiership win in the Season Eight grand final at Brighton Homes Arena, Springfield. We’re back there this Saturday at 7:05pm for a rematch. Can’t wait. Selection this week The big selection news this week is that Tayla Harris has recovered from her hamstring injury. She will make her presence felt against one of her old sides. We also have Rhi Watt back, and a nice surprise with Jordey Ivey set to play her fourth game in the red and blue. Last week’s debutant Georgia Gall, Georgia Campbell and Charlotte Wilson have been omitted. Unfortunately, Maddi Gay is 1-2 weeks away. Such an important player for the Dees and was a standout in last year’s final series. Brisbane will bring back two of their best players in Sophie Conway and Cathy Svarc who missed last week in the Lion’s surprise loss to St Kilda, plus Ruby Svarc. Our opponents, Brisbane While, apart from Daisy retiring, no one wanted to leave the Demons during the offseason. Whereas the Lions lost their best mid Emily Bates and a proven goal sneak in Greta Bodey to Hawthorn. Plus, Jessie Wardlaw, the Season Seven competition leading goalkicker, signed with St Kilda. Brisbane, Adelaide, and Melbourne have filled 10 of the 12 available places in AFLW grand finals, dominating the landscape since the league’s inception. The Lions remain a force to be reckoned with. However, this season Brisbane has been upset by lower teams three times. By Richmond in Round 1, Collingwood in Round 6, and St Kilda in Round 9. Conversely, the Lions are undefeated against Top 4 teams with narrow wins over North (by 2 points in Round 4) and Adelaide (by 3 points in Round 9). This season Ally Anderson and Sophie Conway have really stepped up in the absence of Bates. Marking tall Dakota Davison has 15 goals this season and the exciting Courtney Hodder is a real handful at times. Brisbane has a great defence led by their captain Bre Koenen with good support from Nat Grider and Shannon Campbell. Their main ruck Tahlia Hickey wins plenty of hit outs but expect our Loz Pearce match her and have greater impact around the ground. Meggs view Expecting this match will be played in a finals-likemanner with significant consequences for both teams. Brisbane has already beaten Adelaide and North so will fancy themselves against us too. If things go awry during the match, remember that this team has incredible belief. Our coach Mick Stinear really rates his charges versatility and won’t be afraid to mix it up. Our forward line is the envy of the competition and we have scored 173 points more than the Lions this season. With Tay back to support Zanker, Hore and Bannan we have picked our best available lineup. Hopefully the sponginess of the playing surface is long gone, and we break the record for the highest all-time score at this ground also known as the Michael Voss Oval. Why not? Both midfields are high quality and bat deep, so we need to get our hands on the footy first and use our runners. The weather forecast says 20-21 degrees with a chance of rain. Let’s bring our own heat, put the Lions to sleep and win this Season 8 minor premiership. Go Dees! Melbourne by 18 points THE GAME Brisbane v Melbourne at Brighton Homes Arena, Springfield, on Saturday 4 November 2023 at 7:05pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 6 wins Brisbane 2 wins At Springfield Melbourne 1 win Brisbane 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 6 wins Starcevic 2 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy, Kayo. Mobile – AFL Live Official App Radio – WARF Radio. THE LAST TIME THEY MET - Season 7 Grand Final Melbourne 2.7 (19) defeated Brisbane 2.3 (15) at Brighton Homes Arena, Springfield, 27 November 2022 Playing the first ever match at a new venue with a spongy surface not ready-for-purpose did impact the ability of all players to execute skills, run and carry and thus a low scoring but engrossing affair ensued. A win by just four points was the final result but the Dees looked more determined on the day, particularly the final three quarters. Tahlia Gillard kept competition leading goalkicker Jess Wardlaw scoreless, while Westy, Hanksy and Liv P ultimately wore down their more highly decorated midfield opponents in Emily Bates and Ally Anderson. Tayla Harris was a real presence and kicked a goal while Irish player Blaithin Mackin scored our only other goal. But like so many Demon victories it was the collective mindset and uncompromising effort of the Dees that won the day. More contributors, a spread of the frenetic effort, plus the underrated gun players we have on every line. This mindset, our #DemonSpirit, has evolved from the coaching and mentoring abilities of AFLW pioneers Mick Stinear and Daisy Pearce and has been embraced by the whole club. 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 B. Mackin BRISBANE Davidson C. Svarc BEST MELBOURNE West Hanks Gay Paxman Gillard BRISBANE LIONS Campbell Grider C. Svarc Anderson Bates INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil BRISBANE: Koenen (right knee) REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil BRISBANE LIONS Nil CROWD 7,412 at Brighton Homes Arena, Springfield THE TEAMS BRISBANE LIONS B P. Boltz, S. Campbell HB B. Koenen N. Grider J. Ellenger C. O. O'Dwyer I. Dawes S. Conway HF L. Postlethwaite D. Davidson C. Mullins F T. Smith C. Hodder FOLL T. Hickie C Svarc A. Anderson I/C J. Dunne E. Hampson D. Heslop P. Monahan R. Svarc EMG A. McKee M. Pauga B. K. Smith IN S. Conway C. Svarc R. Svarc OUT A. McKee (omitted) M. Pauga (omitted) B. Smith (omitted) Milestone: Craig Starcevich (75 games as coach) MELBOURNE B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick S. Heath M. Chaplin C B. Mackin T. Hanks E. McNamara HF A. Bannan L. Mithen E. Zanker F K. Hore T. Harris FOLL L. Pearce E. West P. Paxman I/C M. Fitzsimon J. Ivey O. Purcell C. Sherriff R. Watt EMG G. Campbell G. Gall C. Wilson IN T. Harris J. Ivey R. Watt 
 OUT G. Campbell (omitted) G.Gall (omitted) C. Wilson (omitted) Milestone: Libby Birch (75 games) Injury List: Round 10 Gabby Colvin - Achilles | Test Tayla Harris - Hamstring | Test Aimee Mackin - Ankle | Test Maddi Gay - Hamstring | 1-2 Weeks Sarah Lampard - Wrist | 3-4 Weeks
  8. Hang out to your hats. The strong blustery conditions made it extremely difficult for either team to execute footy skills but nonetheless an entertaining match ensured for those brave enough to venture down to Casey Fields on Saturday. Impressive Irish player Aine Tighe was a late withdrawal for Freo. Maddie Gay was also a late change, and she was replaced with 19 year-old Georgia Gall, the 6-foot ex Melbourne Stars BBL cricketer who has been impressing the coaches in scrimmage games. Fremantle came to play, boosted in confidence by their impressive 24-point win against St Kilda the previous week. With total clearances at 30 each it was tough in the middle. Fremantle possess a strong army of physical mids in Kiara Bowers, Ange Stannett, Dana East, and skipper Hayley Miller and were competitive all day. Despite our four-quarter efforts, the Dockers still managed to kick a goal in each quarter. The Demons are noted 4th quarter specialists and kicked 3 goals to 1 which was enough to run out comfortable winners in the end by 33 points. For the Dees, Paxy was ubiquitous with a game-high disposal count of 27 including 10 contested possessions. Eliza McNamara (25, 10), Lily Mithen (20,7), Liv Purcell (20, 8), and Sinead Goldrick (19, 10) demonstrated the breadth of our contributors in the hard-fought win. With 10 tackles and 20 disposals Westy is back. Her efforts around the contest were awesome as was her crafty goal using the brute strength of West against (Dana) East. It was noticeable at ground level that Freo has many quick players and at times we looked slow in comparison. They achieved a couple of running goals by breaking down our defensive wall. Not as obvious on the telly but our well drilled side has several players who read the play so well and either regain possession via intercepts or half a contest with a tackle or create a stoppage. Goldie and Mackin typically do this so well, but Meggs wanted to praise Eliza McNamara for her efforts yesterday. On numerous occasions she confidently inserted herself in the play for intercepts or tackles. A very good game Lize. Gillard continues to elevate herself to be our premier defender. Our leading scorers Eden Zanker and Kate Hore kicked 2 goals each and top the AFLW goalkicking table (20 and 19 respectively). It was Shelley Heath’s 50th game and a banner celebrating her milestone had been jointly created by DeeArmy and the Melbourne players. Unfortunately, due to the strong winds which would have ripped it to shreds, the raising was postponed. No matter, it was nice for Heathy to have a win and contribute well during her big match and she feistily laid 7 of her trademark tackles. News of Brisbane’s loss to St Kilda at RSEA Park later in the afternoon was important for the Dees as we hope to lock in the $1m Dr McLelland Trophy prize. Meggs’ quick maths suggests even if the Pies thump Sydney and Richmond in the next 2 weeks and Melbourne is thrashed by Brisbane in Round 10, we would finish on top on percentage. Adelaide plays North and West Coast and is expected to win both games, therefore the result of next week’s grand final rematch at Ipswich next Saturday evening will decide whether it’s the Crows or the Demons as Season Eight minor premiers. In terms of the game: Q1 Freo wins the toss and kicks with the wind. Fremantle wins the 1st clearance and Birch takes a nice defensive mark. She then plays on, and the ball ends up coming straight back where Freo forward pressure wins a free in front of goal. Kauffman kicks the first of her three goals for the day. It’s tough conditions but eventually Hanksy, ever the opportunist, makes something out of nothing with a great check-side goal. The Dockers hit the post again and have not taken their opportunities with the wind. ¼ time: Dees 1.2.8 Dockers 1.3.9 Q2 We now have the wind. The game is being played in the Demons forward half, with Freo defending well. It’s only a matter of time until we score, and Kate’s poster is a highlight. Then in the space of a few minutes the Dees pile on three quick goals to Zanker, Paxy and Westy. Three goals and six points for the quarter means we have not taken our opportunities. Freo’s hard work is finally rewarded when they move the ball over our defensive wall and run with speed to kick a good team goal by Kauffman, who outsprints Wilson. ½ time: Dees 4.9.33 Dockers 2.3.15 Q3 Against the wind, Kate kicks a goal off the ground. Later in the quarter Goldie is surprisingly adjudged holding the ball and Freo’s Serena Gibbs converts from directly in front. A big quarter coming up. ¾ time: Dees 5.9.39 Dockers 3.4.22 Q4 Some untidy wind impacted play in the Demons forward line is finally rewarded via a long-range snap on goal by Blaithin Mackin. Brilliant B. Kauffman then marks and goals from up throw up. Freo are not going away. Some clever vision from Liv Purcell who long bombs into space to Sherriff who outruns her opponents cleverly taking control of the footy and giving to Kate Hore for a nice team goal. A defensive kick in error sees Zanker mark and goal to take back her outright leadership of the AFLW goalkicking table. And that’s that, a 33 point win. Dees win 8.13.61 to Dockers 4.4.28 Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear was really pleased with the outcome in the end. It was challenging conditions against a tough, physical side. A good four quarters with 21 scoring shots. He highlighted our versatility. Tayla Harris and Aimee Mackin should be available next week and provide him with a selection headache. A massive test on the road next week. Dockers coach Lisa Webb was disappointed they were not able to get the result but was particularly proud of their exceptional effort. She noted Freo were down a couple of soldiers, namely Aine Tighe and Ebony Antonio. Next week is the last round of Season Eight. The reigning premiers play a grand final rematch against Brisbane at the same venue, Brighton Homes Arena, Ipswich on Saturday evening November 4 at 7:05pm. Beat Brisbane and we finish minor premiers plus (if we make it that far) a home grand final at our fortress Ikon Park. MELBOURNE 1.2.8 4.9.33 5.9.39 8.13.61 FREMANTLE 1.3.9 2.3.15 3.4.22 4.4.28 GOALS MELBOURNE Hore Zanker 2 Hanks B Mackin Paxman West FREMANTLE Kauffman 3 Gibbs BEST MELBOURNE Paxman West McNamara Fitzsimon Mithen Hore FREMANTLE Kauffman Bowers Stannett East Lally MillerINJURIES INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil FREMANTLE Flynn (back) REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil FREMANTLE Nil UMPIRES Devenish Howard Talbot CROWD 1,650 at Casey Fields
  9. Foundation teams Fremantle and Melbourne clash early Saturday afternoon at the Demons’ fortress at Casey Fields in this penultimate round of the 2023 home and away season. It’s Shelley Heath’s 50th game this week and there is not one Melbourne supporter who doesn’t love Heater. The way she goes about it at 160 cms, big smiles and then takes on some of the biggest names in AFLW reducing them to shadows of their former selves. Her tackles are a joyful work of art to be savoured. Heater earned 1 coach’s vote last week for her efforts running with one of the league’s best players in Jasmine Garner. Meggs presumes Mick voted for Heath, but he cannot believe that North coach Darren Crocker gave Jazzy 1 one vote for her game. Gosh, Emma Kearney and Erika O’Shea were much better choices for him if he wanted a North player. Our group really jelled and felled North Melbourne last week and held them to a miserable 1-point for the last 3-quarters. Incredible team defence Dees. Such a driving force from Hanksy and Liv Purcell, with Tahlia Gillard an impenetrable wall with her punching and marking. Fremantle, who were Season Six preliminary finalists, haven’t defeated any team in the eight this season and their form line suggests nothing different will occur on Saturday. Selection this week Some were debating whether Tayla Harris is in our best side. Well to Meggs there is no doubt Tayla brings so much to this team. Selfless, incredible physical presence, arguably the best contested mark in the league, kicks the ball a mile, just makes a contest when it looks impossible. So, if Tay’s fit, she’s selected for sure. The selection committee will also have to decide whether to bring back Gaby Colvin at the likely expense of Charlotte Wilson. Willo was excellent last week in defence especially in the third quarter. Will there be mystery injury of the week? Maeve went down nastily last Saturday but we presume she’s good to go. A tough cookie is Maeve. Our opponents, Fremantle For Fremantle the bad news is that Ebony Antonio is out for the Season. Freo have a couple of tests for Round 9 in Amy Mulholland and the experienced Sarah Verrier. Irish export Aine Tighe is a tall, athletic, rangy player who has taken to AFLW and is really exciting to watch. Her pace and skills allow her to be such a dynamic forward and certainly a hard one to match up on. The Dees brains trust has a conundrum. Who has the pace and size to run with Aine? Expect it won’t be Birch but Gillard or more likely Goldie or Gay. In the midfield they have league champion Kiara Bowers, skipper Hayley Miller and Irish newcomer Orlagh Lally who was impressive last week against the Saints. Dana East was busy too. Ruck Mim Strom has impressed this year and will test Loz Pearce and Georgia Campbell on Saturday. Freo are 4 wins 4 losses and won well at home against St Kilda last week. Meggs’ view No rain is forecast for Saturday, and it will be sunny, a coolish 17-19 degrees with gusty winds. Meggs is heading down the Monash and anticipates a Dees victory but expects Freo to bring a committed effort. Hopefully our contested ball work and slingshot run and carry game style will prevail. It would not surprise if one of our top-drawer forward titans kicks a bag on Saturday. Having three league leading goal scorers in your side (Zanker, Hore and Bannan) must give Mick Stinear supreme confidence that his team can always kick a winning score. Watch out in the 4th quarter. Freo’s defenders will have their work cut out for them for sure. A little percentage boost won’t hurt our minor premiership aspirations so let’s win and win well. Keep our eyes on the prize. Go Dees! Melbourne by 38 points THE GAME Melbourne v Fremantle at Casey Fields, on Saturday 27 October 2023 at 1:05pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 5 wins Fremantle 2 wins At Casey Fields Melbourne 2 wins Fremantle 1 win The Coaches Stinear 0 wins Webb 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy, Kayo. Mobile – AFL Live Official App Radio – Casey Radio 97.7 fm from 12:35pm. THE LAST TIME THEY MET (Round 6, Season 7) Melbourne 10.6 (66) defeated Fremantle 5.6 (36) at Fremantle Oval, 2 October 2022 The Dees were unconvincing for 3 quarters as Fremantle at home were highly competitive and only down by 4 points at the 4-minute mark of the last quarter. Melbourne’s skilled ball movement and marking superiority proved too powerful in the last quarter with 4 unanswered goals to win by 30 points. This placed the Dees 5-1 and inside the top-four with Brisbane, Adelaide and Collingwood. Kate Hore starred with 3 classy goals, while midfielders Tyla Hanks (21 disposals and 5 clearances) and Liv Purcell (26 and five) set up the attacking chains that proved to be the difference in that final quarter. Eden Zanker and former Docker Sabreena Duffy kicked two goals each. Champion player Kiara Bowers (26 and eight inside 50s) and their captain Hayley Miller (17 and five clearances) were the best for the Dockers. MELBOURNE 2.1.13 5.2.32 6.3.39 10.6.66 FREMANTLE 2.1.13 3.2.20 5.3.33 5.6.36 GOALS MELBOURNE Hore 3 Duffy Zanker 2 Harris Pearce Purcell FREMANTLE Bowers Franklin Kauffman Miller
 Tighe BEST MELBOURNE Hanks Purcell Hore Zanker Paxman Harris FREMANTLE Bowers Miller, East Tighe O'Sullivan INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil FREMANTLE Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil FREMANTLE Nil THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick M. Gay M. Chaplin C B. Mackin T. Hanks E. McNamara HF A. Bannan L. Mithen E. Zanker F M. Fitzsimon K. Hore FOLL L. Pearce E. West S. Heath I/C G. Campbell P. Paxman O. Purcell C. Sherriff C. Wilson EMG G. Gall J. Ivey R. Watt No change FREMANTLE B E. O'Driscoll P. Seth HB R. Roux S. Gibbs M. Scanlon C J. Low G. O'Sullivan O. Lally HF H. Miller L. Pugh M. Kauffman F S. Wielstra K. Bowers FOLL M. Strom D. East A. Stannett I/C J. Flynn M. Hyde T. Mulder A. Mulholland A. Runnalls EMG E. Fiedler A. Hetherington M. Tuhakaraina IN A. Mulholland S. Wielstra OUT A. Tighe (knee soreness) M. Tuhakaraina (omitted) Injury List: Round 9 Gaby Colvin - Achilles | Test Tayla Harris - Hamstring | Test Aimee Mackin - Ankle | 1 Week Sarah Lampard - Wrist | 2 - 4 Weeks
  10. There was buzzing in the grandstand, for the word had passed around that the mighty Crows had fallen during the day. It had opened up a glitch for one of the two teams on the pitch to sit alone atop of the array. By the end of the night, it was Narrm, with our trademark #DemonSpirit, just too good for too long and BACK ON TOP, on percentage, of the AFLW Season Eight premiership ladder. It was an impressive defensive display by Narrm at its favourite home ground, with North scoring a solitary point after quarter time. The modest crowd numbers would have disappointed the powers that be but nevertheless, it was a pleasure to feel the twilight atmosphere at Ikon and witness the football spectacle on such an immaculate playing surface. The majority crowd were Narrm supporters who Meggs is sure thoroughly enjoyed themselves. Vice-Captain Tyla Hanks was clearly the best player on the ground and should earn the 10 coaches votes this week. The media heaps praise on coaches votes leader Jas Garner (who is typically outstanding) but she won’t vote this week thanks to Shelley Heath’s monumental containment effort. Liv Purcell too was prolific too with her characteristically strong performance. The Dees really spread the load having 13 different players with more than 10 possessions while North had only 9. Meggs had Hanks, Purcell, Hore, Mithen, B. Mackin, Gillard and Heath as the best players but there were quite a few others that could have been mentioned. It was said that Libby Birch looks comfortable behind the microphone and her defensive group was truly excellent on Saturday. Now having secured top spot, they need to maintain it by knocking off Freo next week at Casey and then defeat Brisbane in Round 10. If they do, we the minor premiership, Dr McLelland Trophy, a handy $1m plus first dibs on a home grand final. This season is so much fun to watch, hope you are enjoying it too. In terms of the game: Wurundjeri elder Uncle Bill Nicholson Jnr gives a rousing welcome to country, Emma Kearney with Mia King wins the coin toss and finally we are underway. Q1 Lots of talk from the commentators about how to stop Jas Garner. It doesn’t take them long to work out that the Narrm Coach Mick Stinear has sent Heater (Shelley Heath) to blanket her. North with some good pressure score the first goal by Irish player Niamh Martin, her first in AFLW. Meggs notices Fitzsimon, a late inclusion, picking up goal-sneak Alice O’Loughlin. A 50-metre infringement by Erika O’Shea leads to Casey Sherriff taking her shot from 30 metres and she nails it. All square. Isn’t it great to see Paxy back out there? Hanksy seems to be everywhere. The Dees fail to clear the ball and it ends up with North’s Tess Craven who kicks a long bomb from 45 metres to take the lead. ¼ time: Dees 1.1.7 Kangaroos 2.1.13 Q2 Maeve Chaplin is tackled by Amy Smith, sister of Joel, and goes off hurt. Soon Kate Hore takes a ripper contested mark 25 metres out and converts. Kate you star! The Dees are starting to win the ball and run and carry. Some exciting passages. Heathy is having a great quarter. Kate then gets on the end of good run but hits the post. Thankfully we see Chappy ready to come back on. She’s one tough cookie. Georgia Campbell wins a ruck infringement and goals. A very happy team celebration ensues. A good quarter from Narrm and Paxy confirms that it’s a hot contest out there. ½ time: Dees 3.4.22 Kangaroos 2.1.13 Q3 Narrm continues to apply team pressure. Hanksy outclasses everyone from a ball up, showing off her speed and skill, to kick a brilliant goal. With the first four inside 50s for the quarter it feels like Narrm is in control. But then the final few minutes of the quarter are played out in North’s forward half. Charlotte Wilson with stoic defence has some of her best moments in a Narrm jumper. No score for North that quarter. ¾ time: Dees 4.5.29 Kangaroos 2.1.13 Q4 Narrm proves yet again they are the 4th quarter specialists by keeping their opponents goalless. Gilliard taking lots of contested marks while Purcell, Hanks, Heathy and everyone are buzzing and making it impossible for North to get back into this game. Eventually Zanker takes a strong contested mark and superbly goals from 40 metres out and it is game over Roos. Dees 5.7.37 Kangaroos 2.2.14. Coaches and next week Narrm Coach Mick Stinear said it was a really tough game of footy and we showed effort for four quarters. He was particularly pleased with the strength of our team defence and our ability to maintain the ball in the forward half. He wasn’t worried about the lack of scoring, citing a couple of misses on the goal line. He praised Shelley Heath for her run-with roll on Jasmine Garner, using her speed to limit Jas’ usual output. North coach Darren Crocker said his team tonight was not the real North Melbourne, that’s not the way we want to play. He said to Narrm’s credit they put North under a lot of pressure and his team couldn’t move the ball like they have against lesser sides. Next week we are back at Casey Fields to take on Fremantle at 1:05pm Saturday 28 October 2023 while North journey to the City of Churches for another testing Top Four clash against Adelaide next Sunday. NARRM 1.1.7 3.4.22 4.5.29 5.7.37 NORTH MELBOURNE 2.1.13 2.1.13 2.1.13 2.2.14 GOALS NARRM Campbell Hanks Hore Sherriff Zanker NORTH MELBOURNE Craven Martin BEST NARRM Hanks Purcell Hore Mithen B Mackin Gillard NORTH MELBOURNE Riddell Kearney M King Garner O'Shea Ferguson LATE CHANGES NARRM Aimee Mackin (ankle) and Gab Colvin (Achilles) replaced in selected side by Megan Fitzsimon and Charlotte Wilson NORTH MELBOURNE Nil INJURIES NARRM Nil NORTH MELBOURNE Nil REPORTS NARRM Nil NORTH MELBOURNE Nil UMPIRES Howard Morgan Simmonds CROWD 2,704 at Ikon Park
  11. In the second of the Indigenous rounds at Narrm’s favourite home ground, Ikon Park, expect the crowd to be buzzing with anticipation for this huge clash of two of the best skilled teams in AFLW. The Saturday night match sees the best offensive team take on the best defensive team and to the winner goes the spoils of a Top Two spot on the AFLW Season Eight premiership ladder. The extended quarters, interchange rotation limits, and our elite fitness, have allowed the Demons to now average the equivalent of 12.5 goals a game while North has the stingiest defence conceding only three goals per match. Narrm has three players in the top seven of the goal kicking table. The reigning premiers have won the previous five clashes but it’s always a nail biter and we should expect Saturday to be no different. Get along if you can and support our team. During the week Meggs read an AFLW article about the biggest improvers in Season Eight. They listed two Adelaide players, North’s Mia King, and Brisbane’s seasoned winger Sophie Conway (really?). So Meggs went poring through our list and reckons they missed Irish sensation, Blaithin Mackin. Blaithin’s career disposal average prior to 2023 was 8.6 per game and this year is 13.7. Tackles were 1.4 are now up to 2.4 per game and meters gained is 160.9 up to 315.9. A star is B! Selection this week Midfield maestro Paxy Paxman, utility Maddie Gay, first ruck Loz Pearce and defender Gab Colvin all return for the big clash. Unlucky to miss are Rhi Watt and Charlotte Wilson. Lampy has fractured her wrist and will miss at least three matches. Megan Fitzsimon is omitted and has been quiet in her three games so far in 2023. North Melbourne has named an unchanged team for this week. Our opponents, North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos Considered by many as the league’s best player, Jasmine Garner will be pivotal for the Roos on Saturday. Her midfield sidekicks include the indefatigable Ash Riddell, the clever Jenna Bruton and inside bull Mia King. They are a group highly respected by the Demons brains trust. Mick maybe sends Heater to run with Ash? Their defence is missing vice-captain Nicole Bresnehan, but defensive leader Emma Kearney, has good support in talls Ferguson, Wright and Shannon. The North key marking forwards Kate Shierlaw, Tahlia Randall and Emma King have been getting great supply from the midfield. This group will be a handful for Libby Birch and her crew. Only two weeks ago we learned how damaging strong goalscoring mids can be with Marinoff and Hatchard. O’Loughlin and Eddey and handy smalls. A huge challenge awaits on Saturday. Meggs view The weather forecast says gusty winds for Saturday and 16-18 degrees. It will be a fantastic battle between two of the elite AFLW midfields. If we can match their intensity and get our hands on the ball first and out to our runners, we should be able to kick a winning score. Meggs expects Irish player Erika O’Shea to pick up the in-form Alyssa Bannan. While both are speedsters, Erika is quicker so Banno will have to use her smarts as well as her skills. North rucks Kim Rennie and Emma King are top notch, and we should expect a great battle against the veteran Demon Loz Pearce and the young and emerging talent Georgia Campbell. Where we win this game is our forward craft overwhelming their strong backline. Containing our leading goal scorers Zanker, Hore and Bannan is a mighty challenge for North and they can only hope we suffer from inaccurate kicking. Another challenger to put to the sword. A big effort please. If we win and Brisbane beats Adelaide we go top of the ladder! Go Dees! Melbourne by 5 points THE GAME Melbourne v North Melbourne at Ikon Park, on Saturday 21 October 2023 at 7:15pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 5 wins North Melbourne 1 win At Ikon Park Melbourne 1 win North Melbourne 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 4 wins Crocker 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy, Kayo. Mobile – AFL Live Official App Radio – Check your local guides THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 5.3 (33) defeated North Melbourne 2.4 (16) in the Season Seven Preliminary Final at Ikon Park, on 19 November 2022 On a blustery Saturday afternoon where the conditions affected marking skills and the ball bounced unpredictably, the Mighty Dees stuck fat against a determined Kangaroos outfit to break away with two last quarter goals to none to win by 17 points. The winning margin was an all-time high between these two teams. From the outset the Preliminary Final was a fiercely fought contest with Melbourne unable to find the ball in space. North really amped up their one-percenters and tackling pressure and played an extra player behind the ball, making it difficult for Melbourne to score. With the Dees up by five points at the main break, North came out and dominated the third quarter holding Melbourne scoreless. The ball spent 82% of the time the Roos’ forward half but they could only muster 2 points. Bella Eddey had their best opportunity, but her reverse torpedo missed to the right. It was only 3 points the difference at ¾ time. With the game still in the balance, Daisy Pearce stunned the crowd with an amazing last quarter goal to book the Demons into consecutive grand finals, while simultaneously Deestroying the hopes of the North Melbourne supporters. MELBOURNE 2.0.13 3.1.19 3.1.19 5.3.33 NORTH MELBOURNE 1.0.6 2.2.14 2.4.16 2.4.16 GOALS Melbourne: Fitzsimon, Mithen, Sherriff, Hore, D.Pearce North Melbourne: Randall, E.King BEST Melbourne: Paxman, Mithen, Hanks, Heath North Melbourne: Kearney, Garner, Riddell, Wright INJURIES Melbourne: Harris (left shoulder) North Melbourne: Nil Reports: Nil Crowd: 5,592 at Ikon Park THE TEAMS NARRM B L Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick S. Heath M. Chaplin C B. Mackin T. Hanks E. McNamara HF A. Bannan C. Sherriff L. Mithen F E. Zanker K. Hore FOLL L. Pearce E. West P. Paxman I/C G. Campbell G. Colvin M. Gay A. Mackin O. Purcell EMG M. Fitzsimon R. Watt C. Wilson IN G. Colvin, M. Gay P. Paxman L. Pearce OUT M.Fitzsimon (omitted) S. Lampard (wrist) R. Watt (omitted) C.Wilson (omitted) NORTH MELBOURNE B E. Shannon J. Ferguson HB E. Kearney S. Wright E. O'Shea C A. Smith M. King T. Gatt HF B. Eddey A. O'Laughlin K. Shierlaw F E. King T. Randall FOLL K. Rennie J. Garner A. Riddell I/C J. Bruton T. Craven N. Martin L. Pullar R. Tripodi EMG H. Bowey L. Burke E. Gavalas No change Injury List: Round 8 Pax Paxman (concussion) available Tayla Harris (hamstring) test Maddie Gay (managed) available Loz Pearce (shoulder) available Gaby Colvin (Achilles) available Sarah Lampard (Wrist) 3 weeks
  12. In sunny and hot summery conditions, the rampaging Narrm in their magnificent Indigenous guernseys, turned it on in the second half while keeping the low flying Eagles scoreless to run away with a dominating 70-point win. The Dees have scored ten or more goals in every game this year except in the loss to Adelaide. With 527 Points for, they are up 59% on last year and 85% up on their 7-season average. The Narrm Offensive is in full flight. Alyssa Bannan starred with 10 score involvements, a career-best 5 goals and picked up the maximum Coaches Votes too. Eden Zanker leads the AFLW goalkicking table with 17, Kate Hore 16 and Bannan is now in 7th position with 12 goals for the year. Lots of fire power. Newcomer Aimee Mackin kicked her first goal in AFLW and just looks dangerous out there with her pace, poise and vision. And you know she’s just gonna get better. Younger sister, Blaithin, has rapidly become one of our Narrm stars with her 2-way running, natural footy instincts, and ability to break tackles. When Tyla Hanks went off in the first quarter we were worried but thankfully she played the game out well earning 2 coaches votes. Others to earn votes were Blaithin Mackin (4), Liv Purcell (4), Kate Hore (2), Eliza West (3) and Banno (10). Also, it was good to see some of the last week’s quieter performers emerge. Westy was prolific, Casey Sherriff got creative, and Libby Birch proved again that she likes playing against West Coast. In terms of the game: Q1 The Eagles started with intensity, and we did too. Hanks is tackled in the forward pocket, appears hurt and heads off. We hope she’s okay. Young Georgia Campbell doing well. Improving each week. Casey Sherriff using her smarts gets a handball to the electric Bannan for the first goal. The uber popular Rhi Watt is now out there now. Meggs was really impressed by her footy skills. Gillard gives away a 50-metre penalty which results in the Eagles first goal. More electricity and skill from Bannan as she breaks away for her second. Following one of Liv Purcell’s eight inside 50s for the day, Bannan marks and kicks her third. She’s on fire. The Mackin sisters are in everything today and Aimee kicks her first ever goal in AFLW from a ball up just outside the goal square. It’s a good start for Narrm. ¼ time: Dees 4.1.15 Eagles 1.0.6 Q2 The Eagles have their best quarter, kicking one goal and keeping Narrm goalless. A quarter highlight for Meggs was Heathy’s tackle on the members wing wrapping up Davison. Don’t mess with our Taekwondo champion. ½ time: Dees 4.3.27 Eagles 2.0.12 During the break it’s nice to hear from former Demon, Krstel Petrevski, who speaks about her Eagles indigenous jumper design. Q3 Bannan hits up Zanker who goes back and slots her first goal. The Eagles defensive switch comes unstuck and Hore taps it to Bannon for her fourth goal. We are well on top now. Our next goal is the quarter highlight with all our Irish contingent involved. Goldie to Blaithin to Aimee who uses her deadly left boot from the boundary to hit up Casey Sherriff directly in front for our seventh goal. Will Schofield, the ex Eagles player and commentator, is effusive in his praise for Aimee. Aimee involved in the next goal too with an assist to Kate Hore. ¾ time: Dees 8.10.58 Eagles 2.0.12 Q4 Lily Mithen kicks to Kate Hore, surprise surprise, and Kate slots the first goal of the quarter. Bannan misses a running goal opportunity but it was a thrilling point to watch. We then realise it’s 7-point play as the Eagles fail to clear the ball and Zanker marks and goals for her second. Bannan then marks in front and achieving a career best 5 goals. With less than 30 seconds left, Banno marks and cramps up. Kate Hore takes the shot but hits the post. The siren sounds and an indigenous language version of it’s a grand old flag is played on the public address system. A convincing 70-point win. Coaches and next week Narrm Coach Mick Stinear was really pleased with the energy of the inclusions of Rhi Watt, Maeve Chaplin, Charlotte Wilson and Georgia Campbell. Last week our high forwards didn’t adjust enough to Adelaide’s pressure. It was good to see improvement this week. Banno was brilliant. He praised the high-performance team for their work in building the fitness and strength of our team who embraced the hot conditions better than the Eagles. Eagles coach Michael Prior was unhappy with the AFL for scheduling (in a 10-week 18-team competition), the 2022 premiers against his 2022 Wooden Spooners. He is later forced to backtrack these comments. He felt they were in at half-time and thought Ella Roberts and Charlie Thomas were outstanding. Next week they take on the North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos at our second home ground, Ikon Park, on Saturday evening 21 October 23 at 7:15pm. What an epic battle this will be! Hope you’re getting a ticket. NARRM 4.1.25 4.3.27 8.10.58 11.16.82 WEST COAST EAGLES 1.0.6 2.0.12 2.0.12 2.0.12 GOALS NARRM Bannan 5 Hore Zanker 2 A Mackin Sherriff WEST COAST EAGLES Gibson Rowley BEST NARRM Bannan Hore Purcell Watt Hanks B Mackin WEST COAST EAGLES Thomas Roberts Gooch Hooker Lewis CHANGES NARRM Nil WEST COAST EAGLES Sarah Lakay replaced in selected side by Beth Schilling
 INJURIES NARRM Nil WEST COAST EAGLES Nil REPORTS NARRM Nil WEST COAST EAGLES Nil UMPIRES Hughes Laycock Wharton CROWD 1,232 at Mineral Resources Park Mineral Resources Park
  13. The last game of Indigenous Round 7 sees Narrm flying to Perth to take on the 17th placed West Coast Eagles at the Perth Demons home ground, Mineral Resources Park, starting at 5:05pm Melbourne time. After being comprehensively outgunned by the Crows in last week’s second and third quarters, Narrm responded brilliantly to get within three points in the last, but alas it wasn’t enough. Eden Zanker was unstoppable with five goals against the best defensive unit in the AFLW. Edo earned 8 coaches votes and is now top of the goalkicking table with 15 goals above Kate Hore with 14. Hanksy too was recognised with four coaches votes for her superior midfield exploits. With five wins and a good percentage we have a strong platform to reload our season heading into finals and we must aspire to secure a Top 2 position and the double chance. This all means they must make short work of West Coast on Sunday. AFLW ladder crystal ball gazing fun Looking at the draw for the final four rounds, Meggs expects the Dees to have percentage boosting wins against West Coast and Fremantle (at Casey in Round 9). The blockbusters against North (Round 8 at Ikon) and Brisbane (Round 10, grand final rematch in Ipswich) will help determine the shape the Top Four. The Brisbane game may well decide who wins the McClelland Trophy. If the Demons win all four matches, we are certainties to finish Top Two. Drop 1 game and other results and percentage come in to play. North has gimme games against Port Adelaide and Western Bulldogs, but Meggs expects North to lose to Melbourne (Round 8) and Adelaide (Round 9 in Adelaide). Adelaide will continue winning, but Brisbane might outperform at their home ground in Round 8 and cause an upset. This leaves Melbourne finishing as minor premiers by percentage from Adelaide and four teams on 28 points. Meggs has Carlton, Richmond and Fremantle finishing outside the 8 on 20 points. It looks like it could be a very exciting finish to the home and away season. Irish players Aimee Mackin and Sinead Goldrick both suffered lateral ankle sprains against Adelaide. The AFLW Head of High-Performance said that “if all things go to plan, they should be okay” to play on Sunday. Unfortunately, Loz Pearce suffered an AC sprain and is still sore so she will likely be replaced by Georgia Campbell. Paxy will miss again due to concussion protocols. Mick Stinear commented in the post-match presser that there are 3 or 4 non-playing squad members putting their hands up for selection. After witnessing a lot of quiet performances last week, he may well select some fresh names. Ivey, Chaplin, Wilson, Johnson, and Watt are a few experienced names available. Our opponents, West Coast The Eagles squad is similar to last season with no new key signings. Captain Emma Swanson is a consistent performer leading her team and is supported in the midfield by the capable Isabella Lewis, Irish player Aisling McCarthy and Dana Hooker. Defenders Charlotte Thomas and Belinda Smith are important high possession players. West Coast had a nice win against the Power in round 5 but have been otherwise one of the competition’s weakest opponents. Carlton beat them by 53 points in round 3 at Sunday’s venue. Meggs view Megg’s is anticipating a four quarter effort, where we maintain the contested footy rage, apply early scoreboard pressure and fly home with the four points. (plus a nice percentage boost). That’s not too much to ask? Kate Hore, Tyla Hanks and Eden Zanker continue to play starring roles each week but a key strength of Narrm remains the depth and versatility of this playing group. We’ll miss Paxy again of course but we know that Liv Purcell, Lily Mithen, Eliza West and plenty of others will step up. Last week Mick set Goldie and Blaithin Mackin midfield duties and they both excelled. Time to reload and get back on the winners list. Go Dees! Narrm by 48 points THE GAME West Coast v Narrm at Mineral Resources Park, Perth, on Sunday 15 October 2023 at 5:05pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Narrm 2 wins West Coast 0 wins At Mineral Resources Park (Lathlain Park) West Coast Eagles 0 wins Narrm 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 1 Prior 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy, Kayo Mobile – AFL Live Official App Radio – Check local guides THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 11.13 (79) defeated West Coast 0.1.1 (1) at Casey Fields, 29 October 2022 Daisy’s Dees scored a huge 78-point one-sided win against West Coast in challenging windy and wet conditions at Casey Fields in Sarah Lampard’s 50th game. The match was the final round of the home and away season but the huge win felt more like a 1-point loss because one extra point would have secured the Season 7 minor premiership and the potential for a home grand final. But with 9 goal kickers and a dominant midfield there were no complaints about finishing Top 2 from the Coach Mick Stinear. Besides, only a few weeks later, we won our inaugural premiership so joyously on that sunny afternoon in Springfield. MELBOURNE 3.5.23 5.8.38 7.12.54 11.13.79 WEST COAST EAGLES 0.0.0 0.1.1 0.1.1 0.1.1 GOALS MELBOURNE Hore Zanker 2 Paxman Fitzsimon Purcell Bannan Mackin Hanks Heath WEST COAST Nil BEST MELBOURNE Paxman Purcell Birch Hore Mithen WEST COAST Thomas Roberts McCarthy Lackay INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil WEST COAST Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil WEST COAST Nil CROWD 726 at Casey Fields THE TEAMS WEST COAST B Z. Wakfer S. McDonald HB B. Smith E. Gooch C. Thomas C J. Britton A. McCarthy C. Rowley HF K. Gibson E. Roberts S. Davison F A. Franklin D. Hooker FOLL S. Lakay I. Lewis E. Swanson I/C (from) K. Bartlett E. Elkington E. Hartill E. Humphries A. Schmidt J. Sedunary E. G. Smith L. Wakfer, IN E. Elkington A. Franklin E. Humphries S. Lakay J. Sedunary 
OUT S. Goranova (knee) M. Western (omitted) NARRM B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick M. Chaplin S. Heath C B. Mackin T. Hanks E. McNamara HF A. Bannan M. Fitzsimon C. Sheriff F E. Zanker K. Hore FOLL G. Campbell E. West L. Mithen I/C (from) G. Colvin G. Gall J. Ivey S. Lampard A. Mackin O. Purcell R. Watt C. Wilson IN G. Campbell M. Chaplin G. Gall J. Ivey R. Watt C. Wilson OUT M. Gay (soreness) T. Harris (hamstring) L. Pearce (shoulder) MILESTONE 50 club games – Libby Birch (Narrm) Injury List: Round 7 A Mackin (ankle) test S Goldrick (ankle) test L Pearce (Shoulder) test P Paxman (concussion) 1 week
  14. 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 Fields
  15. Big Guns, Melbourne and Adelaide, the two remaining undefeated teams in Season Eight, take battle on Saturday afternoon at Casey Fields, with the winner to go four points clear at the top of the ladder. We can’t wait to see how this potential grand final preview unfolds. Melbourne has been rocketing along this season as the highest points scorer and has the best percentage. Some questioned its opponents to date, but putting Geelong to the sword by 49 points at its home ground last week was super impressive. Offensively in the five games this season, the Demons have scored 58 goals kicked by 16 different goal scorers and the Crows have 49 goals from 14 different players. Defensively this season each have had 18 goals kicked against so there’s not that much in it. Over the nine matches played between the Demons and the Crows since 2017: • Total points scored - 285 to 289. • Wins – 5 to 4 • Finals – 1 to 2 • Casey Fields – 2 to 1 (combined scores 15.17.107 to 16.11.107, equal points) Again, not much in it. Mick Stinear has coached the Dees since inception in 2017 and Matthew Clarke joined the Crows from 2019. Adelaide has 3 premierships (2017, 2019, Season 6, 2022) and Melbourne has 1 (Season 7, 2022). Two teams 5 zip and in ripping form, it’s going to be a cracker of a game. Hopefully the notorious Casey wind will behave more akin to a zephyr this week. More recognition during the week for Demons skipper Kate Hore who made the Round 5 Team of the Week. Kate leads the Season 8 goalkicking tally on 14 goals and heads the all-time AFLW scorers on 67 goals. Selection this week Tayla Harris is a test this week on her hamstring. They won well last week without Tay but her first 4 weeks were full of team first contributions. Sammie Johnson also has a test, on her calf. Adelaide has defensive duo Steve-Lee Thompson returning and possibly Najwa Allen who has a hamstring test. Our opponents, Adelaide Any team that can win well when missing 3 quality premiership defenders in Sarah Allan, Steve-Lee Thompson and Najwa Allen, has great depth. In their absence Adelaide has shown us the defensive abilities of Zoe Prowse, Chelsea Biddell and Sarah Goodwin. While the Demons have such a dangerous quality and breadth of forward talent, the Crows possess a really strong defensive group and so the matchups will be critical to who wins this match. Usually, it starts in the middle and Adelaide have the outstanding Ebony Marinoff (10) and Anne Hatchard (33) who dominate contested footy but have ruck depth in Jessica Allan, Montana McKinnon and Caitlin Gould and a host of fast smalls in Martin, Waterhouse, Charlton and Kelly. Forward-wise the dangerous Danielle Ponter, winger Eloise Jones, ruck Gould and Rachelle Martin have been snagging majors this year. Our defenders will have their work cut out. Meggs view Thankfully no rain is forecast for Saturday. He is heading down the Monash and hoping for a super contest and senses a big margin this week is unlikely. It will be likely we won’t see the recent higher scoring due to sustained four quarter pressure. Both teams are super fit. On matchups Meggs thinks that, if Tayla Harris is available, we can better stretch the capable Crows defence. Gold Coast’s Lucy Single lined up on Marinoff and kept her quiet somewhat. Heath has been great at executing all tasks set her so maybe another ‘run with’ role awaits. A key power of our playing group is versatility, it’s such a strength. Expect Mick to confidently make positional moves during a match to improve outcomes. Edo Zanker and Kate Hore were super last week. Liv Purcell, Tyla Hanks, Lily Mithen and Eliza West were strong in the contest and will need to be physical again versus Adelaide. Watch out for the run of Paxy, Lize and the Mackins and our trademark handball chains. Another four full quarters please. Let’s smoke ‘em in this season defining top of the ladder battle of the Big Guns. Go Dees! Melbourne by 8 points THE GAME Melbourne v Adelaide at Casey Fields, on Saturday 7 October 2023 at 3:05pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 5 wins Adelaide 4 wins At Casey Fields Melbourne 2 wins Adelaide 1 win The Coaches Stinear 3 wins Clarke 4 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy, Kayo. Mobile – AFL Live Official App Radio – Casey Radio 97.7 fm from 2:35pm. THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 7.6 (48) defeated Adelaide 4.3 (27) at Ikon Park, 4 November 2022 The Dees convincingly overcome the fast-starting reigning-premiers Adelaide to win by 21 points in a fiery Qualifying Final match at Ikon Park. Adelaide jumped out of the blocks in the first quarter kicking their first goal inside 20 seconds and finished with 3 goals to nil. At the quarter time break Mick moved Shelley Heath to the dangerous Ponter and Sarah Lampard to a wing. Great moves. Lampy impressed everyone with her 2 goals and Heath was in everything laying 7 hard tackles, as she does. He matched up Goldie on 4-time AFLW most courageous player award winner, Adelaide skipper Chelsea Randall and kept her to 7 possessions for the game. A highlight of the second quarter was Bannan’s 6-bounce sprint down the wing while midfield ace Liv Purcell (BOG) and Tayla Harris were outstanding. Blaithin Mackin had 15 disposals and, along with Banno, sold lots of candy during the match. The Dees kicked the last 3 goals of the match to put the result beyond doubt. The final goal by Eden Zanker was a nice way for her to finish her ‘50 dazzling games’. MELBOURNE 0.2.2 3.4.23 4.6.30 7.6.48 ADELAIDE 3.2.20 3.2.20 4.2.26 4.3.27 GOALS MELBOURNE L Bannan Lampard 2 L Pearce Purcell Zanker ADELAIDE Gould 2 Ponter, Woodland BEST MELBOURNE Purcell Lampard Bannan Mithen Hanks Harris ADELAIDE Marinoff Allan Gould Ponter Hatchard INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil ADELAIDE Randall (head knock) REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil ADELAIDE Nil CROWD 2555 at Ikon Park THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Gillard M. Gay S. Heath C B. Mackin T. Hanks McNamara HF A. Bannan L. Mithen C. Sherriff F T. Harris E. Zanker FOLL L. Pearce O. Purcell K. HoreI/C G. Colvin M. Fitzsimon S. Lampard A. Mackin E. West EMG G. Campbell M. Chaplin J. Ivey IN M. Fitzsimon T. Harris OUT G. Campbell (omitted), P. Paxman (concussion) ADELAIDE B C. Biddell Z. Prowse HB S. Thompson N. Allen S. Goodwin C N. Kelly A. Hatchard M. Newman HF Y. Bonner C. Randall E. Jones F C. Gould D. Ponter FOLL J. Allan E. Marinoff T. Charlton I/C A Ballard R. Martin K. Mueller H. Munyard J. Waterhouse EMG M. McKinnon B. Smith B. Tonon IN N. Allen S. Thompson 
OUT M. McKinnon (omitted) B. Tonon (omitted) Injury List: Round 6 Tayla Harris - hamstring | Test Sammie Johnson - calf | Test
  16. There was no setting sun to ruin the spectacle this week, just the rising moon over the brand-new empty GMHBA Stadium in Moorabool Street. It was a perfect evening for footy on a pristine surface with an enthusiastic crowd building. Children dressed in Demon colours formed a Guard of Honour as the reigning premiers ran through the raised Demon banner declaring: MELBOURNE & GEELONG, A NEW CHAPTER IN THE OLDEST RIVALRY. The strong travelling group of Demons fans who gathered en masse behind the #DeeArmy had plenty to cheer about as the Dees proved once again, they are the team to beat in Season Eight. At the ground you could see and hear the intensity from both teams. Geelong did their best to challenge with high class mids Nina Morrison (who had a game-high 30 possessions and kicked an excellent goal), Amy McDonald, and Georgie Prespakis strong all night. Irish recruit, Aishling Moloney was a Cats standout, taking four contested marks and kicking three goals, in only her fifth game of AFLW. Kate Hore led her team with 20 disposals, five tackles and four goals making it 14 goals for the year to be leading goalkicker. There is a wonderful support cast at the Dees. Liv Purcell was her usual ferocious self, contesting strongly and Tyla Hanks, Lily Mithen, Paxy, and Westy helped maintained that pressure for four full quarters. Our defence must be doing something right. Melbourne has not conceded a Q4 goal for 14 games. In the last quarters of this season’s matches we have scored 20.14 (134) to 0.4 (4). Incredible! Our players commented how they felt the match was much closer and were surprised by the 49-point margin. No injuries were reported but there would be a few bruises for sure. In terms of the game: Q1 We heard that Geelong were fast starters and yet to concede a first quarter goal this season. Well, that record was never going to last long against the Dees. With 4:20 left on the clock Paxy wins a free kick in front of goal and duly converts. From the next centre clearance Liv Purcell kicks long to Loz Pearce who marks and hands off to Kate Hore for her first goal. The Cats’ first goal comes from an Aishling Moloney mark inside 50. ¼ time: Cats 1.0.6 Dees 2.1.13 Q2 Kate gets her second goal following a trademark run and carry from the wing. This team is so great to watch. Geelong’s Meg McDonald kicks across half back allowing Alyssa Bannan the opportunity to beat two Geelong defenders, whipping up some magic and kicking to the goal square for Zanker to run onto. Edo has her first. An inspiring solo goal from Nina Morrison for the Cats before Aimee Mackin impresses the Dees fans with a little cameo run directly in front of us. Wow. Kate Hore marks inside 50 and kicks her third goal. ½ time: Cats 2.0.12 Dees 5.4.34 Q3 Another tight contested quarter where the teams score two goals each. Melbourne fails to clear the ball and Moloney marks and kicks her second goal. Morrison gets caught holding the ball in front of goal and Hanksy converts straight over the umpire’s head. Big Max pops up on the screen. Lots of cheers. One club! Moloney, making our defenders nervous, marks and goals again for a 16-point game. Demons seem to be getting on top with a few Cat fumbles creeping in now. Paxy’s long bomb deep inside 50 is converted by Edo for her second goal. ¾ time: Dees Cats 4.1.25 Dees 7.5.47 Q4 The banner celebrated Maddi Gay’s 50th game but it was also her birthday. So, Kate Hore honoured Maddi’s lead so she could mark and kick a goal to celebrate. The genesis of the next goal was by Casey Sherriff who intercepted a handball basketball style and commenced a chain of passes which ended up being Kate Hore’s fourth goal. Exquisite footy. This team is a joy to watch. Demons are well on top now. The big screen spots Daisy in the crowd. The commentator asks which team is she supporting? Paxy marks and kicks a great goal from difficult angle and Lily Mithen kicks the final goal following a 50-metre penalty. The Cats have been ill-disciplined at times, they’re probably not enjoying the footy lesson. The siren sounds and Melbourne breaks the record for the highest score by any team against Geelong. Cats 4.1.25 Dees 11.8.74. Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear commented that the Cats have really strong mids and it was an even battle, but our midfield depth helped us. He highlighted Eden Zanker’s performance in the absence of Tayla Harris. Cats coach Dan Lowther was a little disappointed that they were not able to put on scoreboard pressure after winning the clearances. He felt the second half effort was an improvement on the Kangaroos game. Next week is a top-of-the-table clash against the Adelaide at Casey Fields on Saturday October 7 at 3:05pm. What a massive clash to look forward to!!!! MELBOURNE 2.1.13 5.4.34 7.5.47 11.8.74 GEELONG 1.0.6 2.0.12 4.1.25 4.1.25 GOALS MELBOURNE Hore 4 Paxman Zanker 2 Gay Hanks Mithen GEELONG Moloney 3 Morrison BEST MELBOURNE Hore Purcell Paxman West Gillard Hanks GEELONG Morrison A Moloney Amy McDonaldPrespakis Webster INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil GEELONG Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil GEELONG Nil CROWD 4,312 at GMHBA Stadium 
  17. Shadows form over Middle-Earth as the two oldest football clubs in the land Melbourne and Geelong take battle for the very first time for 4-points, down at Kardinia Park (aka Mordor). If you dare, come venture down the highway and support our talented team. Melbourne’s Season Eight form line is 4 zip and we’ve been playing some scintillating footy. The fanbase is growing. It needs to be said that our opponents so far have hardly been top shelf: Collingwood sits 12th on the ladder with one win and a percentage of 74.7%, Hawthorn (15th, 1 win, 56.5%), Western Bulldogs (16th, 0 wins, 58.3%) and GWS Giants (17th, 0 wins, 45.0%). Geelong on the other hand have beaten Western Bulldogs, the Swans and Power (both good wins away), and only lost to North at Mordor after leading well at half time. Lord Dan Lowther has his charges coming out breathing fire, they are fast starters. No team has scored a goal against the Cats in first quarters this season. Let’s spoil that party on Thursday! In comparison, no team has scored a last quarter goal against the Demons this season (actually not since Round 4 Season Seven, 2022). Meggs was pleased to see that Libby Birch, who has been building slowly this season, was named in the backline for the Round 4 Team of the Week. Other TOTW Melbourne inclusions were our superstar leaders Tyla Hanks and Kate Hore. Nice recognition girls. It’s Maddison Gay’s 50th this week (including 7 games for Carlton). Congratulations and Happy Birthday Maddi! Selection this week Gaby Colvin will play her first game back since her ACL and Maddi Gay was rested lasted week to be primed for this vital clash. Maeve Chaplin and the injured Tayla Harris (hamstring soreness) will make way. Meggs expects Tahlia Gillard (190 cms) to help Loz out in the ruck against the Cats beanpole Erin Hoare who is 194 cms. Tahls played well in the ruck during the 2023 VFLW season. Geelong reported no injuries last week. Our opponents, Geelong The Cats have elite young midfielders in Georgie Prespakis and Nina Morrison who have great support from the bullocking Becky Webster and Amy McDonald. Bowen and Crockett-Grills provide speed and pressure from the wings. The Cats’ defence is led brilliantly by Meg McDonald, with support from former Dee Chantel Emonson who takes the kickouts using her neat skills. Watch out for defenders, Claudia Gunjaca, a strong intercept mark, and Georgie Rankin. Chloe Scheer is equal second on the AFLW goalkicking table with 10 goals, equal with Captain Kate. While Ex Dee Jacqui Parry is equal 4th with 8 goals, alongside our girl Eden Zanker. Meggs view Expectations are high for an entertaining twilight match and a much closer contest than the Demons have seen so far in Season Eight. The Cats' home ground is narrow like last week at Frankston so hopefully that experience helps us. They are strong on every line and have several match winners. However, in their Round 4 top of the table clash against North only nine Cats players managed more than 10 possessions. Stopping Prespakis and Scheer would surely be gameday planning considerations. Heathy and or Hanksy to Georgie P, maybe Goldie runs with Chloe Scheer. Birch a likely option for the one-paced Parry or even the super competitor Gaby Colvin now that she’s back. Mick Stinear has shown us the power of versatility with this playing group. If gameday demands action, then expect Mick to shuffle his team and conjure moves. Our forward line is our ace. We have clever, talented goalkicking players everywhere you look. It will challenge the Cats backline, especially given our mid field support and trademark quick ball movement. It won’t surprise if Geelong lead at some point but our resilience and trust in #demonspirit is strong. Let’s bring the pressure over four full quarters like we have each game this season and, if so, Meggs is confident we can win the Battle of Mordor. Go Dees! Melbourne by 13 points THE GAME Melbourne v Geelong at GMHBA Stadium, Wadawurrung, on Thursday 28 September 2023 at 6:15pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 0 wins Geelong 0 wins At GMHBA, Geelong Melbourne 0 wins Geelong 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 0 wins Lowther 0 wins MEDIA TV - Fox Footy, Kayo. Mobile – AFL Live Official App Radio - check your local guides. THE LAST TIME THEY MET This is the first meeting between the two clubs. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick M. Gay S. Heath C B. Mackin T. Hanks E. McNamara HF C. Sherriff O. Purcell A. Bannan F E. Zanker K. Hore FOLL L. Pearce P. Paxman L. Mithen I/C G. Campbell G. Colvin S. Lampard A. Mackin EMG M. Chaplin M. Fitzsimon J. Ivey IN G. Colvin M. Gay OUT M. Chaplin (omitted) T. Harris (hamstring) GEELONG B M. Bragg C. Gunjaca HB C. Emonson M. McDonald G. Rankin C M. Bowen G. Prespakis N. Morrison HF K. Surman J. Parry D. Moloney F C. Scheer A. Moloney FOLL E. Hoare R. Webster A. McDonald I/C J. Crockett-Grills K. Darby Z. Friswell R. Garing Ab. McDonald EMG G. Featherston I. Houtsma B. Plummer IN J. Crockett-Grills Ab. McDonald 
OUT R. Kearns (knee) B. Plummer (omitted) Injury List: Round 5 Sammie Johnson - calf | Test Tayla Harris - hamstring | 1 Week
  18. In the twilight at Frankston Oval, for the first ever match between Melbourne and Hawthorn, the Demons were clinical winning by 59 points and remain undefeated in Season Eight. The Melbourne team ran out to a wonderful #DeeArmy banner paying tribute to Ron Barassi, ‘a football legend, the greatest Demon’. So true! Meggs was super excited to see Irish recruit Aimee Mackin playing her first game. Aimee quickly showed us that she belongs out there with composure, game sense and footy skills. She even outshone her li’l sister in the disposal count (13/11). Our competition-leading forwards group just got a bit better. Vice-captain Tyla Hanks starred again amassing 26 disposals, 3 clearances, 10 contested possessions and 10 score involvements, surely another 10 coaches’ votes. Eden Zanker (14 disposals, 8 marks) was a shining presence in our post-Daisy forward line and delivered a purple patch in the third quarter kicking a career-high three goals in as many minutes. Superstar Edo! Tayla Harris has been awesome this season with her 1%ers and contested marking. Her strength at the contest must lift her teammates. Other mentions include Pearce and Campbell who won the ruck contest, game-high possession winner Liv Purcell (29) was everywhere, as was Mithen, Westy, McNamara and Paxy. Hore and Heathy continue their fine seasons too. Thirteen players on the ground had less than ten disposals for the match but only two of them were Demons. Such an even team contribution makes us difficult to stop. The setting sun was playing havoc with TV camera people, commentators, coaches, and players. Presumably this timeslot was scheduled to suit the Men’s Preliminary Final. Not ideal. The Hawks had taken some learnings from their earlier practice match against us by winning the tackle count (79/57) and the inside 50s (31/30) but ultimately the Demons were unstoppable. The Hawks midfield group including Bates, Lucas-Rodd, Kashy, and young Fleming got their hands on the ball enough and tried to unsettle the Dees at times with great pressure. Irishwoman Aine McDonagh impressed with her goal and Stratton took a couple of forward 50 marks but one goal for a match won’t win you many games. In terms of the game: Q1 With under 5 minutes left to play, the Demons using their trademark run and carry, take the ball from deep in Hawthorn’s forward 50 all the way to the goal square where resting ruck Lauren Pearce kicks the opener. Meggs’ favourite bit of this play was Georgia Campbell bumping Hawk midfield maestro Bates out of the contest so she loses control of the footy, allowing Maeve Chaplin to intercept and kick downfield. Hanks then artfully directs this play (with three handballs), and Westy, Zanker, B Mackin, Sherriff and Banno are all involved. Scintillating stuff. Then two minutes later, that sibling moment! A Mackin traps the ball, baulks, and left foots it toward goal and B Mackin is waiting near the goalpost. We all think the ball will bounce through for a goal but it’s a Sherrin and has its own ideas. No probs for Blaithin who controls the footy under pressure from two Hawks and finishes off her sister’s good work. ¼ time: Dees 2.4.16 Hawks 0.1.1 Q2 Mithen hits up Hore who goals. How many times has Lil passed to Kate? (And vice versa?) Another end-to-end Demon goal results in a Bannan major. Casey Sherriff is down with what looks like a corkie but Banno’s ankle seems fine. A goalless first half by Hawthorn. Defenders doing well. ½ time: Dees 4.6.30 Hawks 0.3.3 Q3 Tyla Hanks hits up Kate Hore on a nice lead inside 50. Kate then passes to Eliza Mac directly in front. Lize goals and celebrates in her unique dancing style. Number 22 is a joy to watch. Hawthorn’s Aine McDonagh wins a free kick and slots a lovely left foot goal from the boundary line. Next is that hat-trick of goals by Eden Zanker. The last one features a ‘don’t argue’ from Hanksy, a brilliant defensive smother by Loz Pearce who recovers and handballs to Hore who kicks to the top of the square to Edo. We are blitzing them. Interestingly our ¾ time score of 8.7.55 was the same as it was against the Bulldogs last week, but the Bulldogs had scored 5 more goals. ¾ time: Dees 8.7.55 Hawks 1.5.11 Q4 No one scores a goal against Melbourne in last quarters (well not for a long time). This game was to be no different with the Hawks failing to even score a point. Kate kicks one goal and Tayla the other (after some nice work from the busy Liv Purcell). The siren sounds and it’s a convincing 59-point win. Dees 10.10.70 Hawks 1.5.11. Coaches and next week Melbourne Assistant Shae Sloane was the matchday coach. She was pleased with how her team was able to stay calm with ball in hand under heaps of Hawthorn pressure. Hawks coach Bec Goddard was pleased with her team’s pressure and happy the Hawks won the inside 50 count. Next week Melbourne take on Geelong at GMHBA Stadium on Thursday September 28 at 6:15pm. The Cats will be a much stiffer opponent, especially at home. MELBOURNE 2.4.16 4.6.30 8.7.55 10.10.70 HAWTHORN 0.2.2 0.3.3 1.5.11 1.5.11 GOALS MELBOURNE Zanker 3 Hore 2 Bannan Harris B. Mackin McNamara Pearce HAWTHORN McDonagh BEST MELBOURNE Hanks Purcell Paxman Zanker Heath Mithen HAWTHORN Bates Lucas-Rodd McDonagh Wales Eardley Fleming INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil HAWTHORN Nil REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil HAWTHORN Nil UMPIRES Bailes Dore Talbot CROWD 2,917 at Kinetic Stadium, Frankston
  19. Meggs asks is it time to heave ho the melodies and words of yesteryear and update Club theme songs with some Australian composers and singers? What prompted this reflection was the discovery that this week’s combatants’ themes were written by the same early 20th century American composer, George M. Cohan. Cohan’s melodies The Yankee Doodle Boy and You’re a Grand Old Flag have been used by Hawthorn since 1956 and Melbourne since 1912. Even earlier, the club themes of Brisbane (French National Anthem) and Geelong (Bizet’s Carmen) were written during the 19th century by two disparate Frenchmen. Meggs can’t see the connection to Aussie rules. A discussion for another time perhaps. This week Melbourne takes on Hawthorn at Kinetic Stadium in Frankston at 5:05pm. Get excited, it’s a brand new venue for the Dees to exploit and break records. So far in Season Eight Melbourne is undefeated with three convincing wins against Collingwood, GWS and the Western Bulldogs and are premiership favourites. By way of comparison, Hawthorn defeated the Western Bulldogs in Ballarat but has lost to Essendon and Fremantle. Mick Stinear would have to be pleased with his forwards. They have the highest points for (255), nine goals more than any other team, and are second on the ladder by percentage (271.3%). Kate Hore tops the all-time AFLW goalkickers list with 61 goals, while Tayla Harris sits third on 59. Enough stats. Last week’s match demonstrated the depth of Melbourne’s midfield, led by Hanksy, Purcell, Mithen, Paxy and Westy with support from Mackin, Hore and Heathy (trying to slow the Blackburn train). Isn’t McNamara building brilliantly into the season! Selection this week Alyssa Bannan is listed as a test on her sprained ankle. If Banno misses, then expect housemate Megan Fitzsimon (also listed as a test) to be her replacement. Go Fitzy. Hawthorn reported that Stephenson will be unavailable due to concussion. Our opponents, Hawthorn Hawthorn’s experienced coach Bec Goddard knows her footy. The practice match loss to Melbourne by 64 points will have provided plenty of learnings for her team. Meggs expects the Hawks to be prepared and much more competitive in this match. The key question is, can they match Melbourne’s fitness and pressure over four quarters? Watching them play the first three rounds you can see they have recruited a strong group of senior players from around the competition. All Australians Emily Bates and Greta Bodey from Brisbane, Aileen Gilroy and Kaitlyn Ashmore from North and their skipper Tilly Lucas-Rodd have been fantastic additions and are leading the team in 2023. The Hawks have a couple of young rucks, one is Lucy Wales (from Casey Demons), who should test our girls. Irishwomen Aine McDonagh and Bridie Hipwell have both impressed around goals. Meggs view The Demons are heavy favourites this week. The forward line should be too talented for the Hawks’ backline to control, especially with the mid field support and pressure applied over the four quarters. The evenness of talent and skill under pressure will be telling. It is hard to see Bates, Lucas-Rodd, Kashy, Gilroy, young Fleming et al sustaining the rage but they have looked good at times this year and applied lots of pressure in our pre-season game. That said, Meggs thinks we are humming and on song while the opposition will not be a happy team at the end of the night. Go Dees! Melbourne by 33 points THE GAME Melbourne v Hawthorn at Kinetic Stadium, Frankston, on Friday 22 September 2023 at 5:05pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 0 wins Hawthorn 0 wins At Kinetic Stadium, Frankston Melbourne 0 wins Hawthorn 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 2 wins Goddard 0 wins MEDIA TV - live free on 7mate. Foxtel, Kayo. Mobile – AFL Live Official App and AFLW Official App Radio - check your local guides. THE LAST TIME THEY MET This is the first official meeting between the clubs but they met last month in a practice match at Casey Fields with Melbourne winning a one-sided affair 8.16.64 to 0.6.6 (19 August 2023). It was a good chance for Mick Stinear to trial new strategies and test his team’s fitness under the new rules of longer quarters and interchange limits. He welcomed back Eliza McNamara and Gaby Colvin from long term injuries. Sherriff looked to be playing forward this year and Kate Hore was setting herself up for a great season. Georgia Campbell has played only one game mainly as a forward but went ok in the ruck and took a strong grab. Eden Zanker kicked four goals, looked confident and set for a big year. Missing players included Gay, Gall, Fowler, Ivey, Aimee Mackin and Watt. THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B T. Gillard L. Birch HB S. Goldrick S.Lampard S. Heath C B. Mackin T. Hanks E. McNamara HF A. Mackin L. Mithen T. Harris F K. Hore E. Zanker FOLL L. Pearce P. Paxman O. Purcell I/C A. Bannan G. Campbell M. Chaplin G. C. Sherriff E. West EMG G. Colvin J. Ivey R. Watt IN A. Mackin OUT M. Gay (managed) HAWTHORN B E. Everist M. Eardley HB C. Brown J. Richardson C. Baskaran C K. Stratton T. Lucas-Rodd T. Smith HF A. McDonagh B. Hipwell G. Bodey F T. Luke S. Locke FOLL L. Wales A. Gilroy J. Fleming I/C K. Ashmore E. Bates B. Deed L. Elliott T. Fellows EMG M. Breed C. Dumont A. Kemp IN B. Deed T. Fellows OUT A. Makur Chuot (managed) L. Stephenson (concussion) Injury List: Round 4 Alyssa Bannan (ankle) test Megan Fitzsimon (back) test Sammie Johnson (calf) 1 week
  20. The Demons withstood a spirited challenge from the Western Bulldogs in the 10th anniversary of the Hampson-Hardeman Cup to run away with it in the last quarter and take their unbeaten run to 12 wins on the trot, an AFLW record. The Doggies were tenacious and their losing score of 6.5.41 was the highest score against Melbourne since their last loss against Brisbane in Round 4 on 18 September 2022. With the sad passing of AFL football legend Ronald Dale Barassi, champion player and coaching maestro, and Friday night’s shattering 2-point semi-final loss to Carlton by the men’s team, we Demon supporters needed something to lift our spirits. Meggs hopes our star AFLW team’s 42-point, entertaining, hard-fought victory at the Field of Dreams, Casey Fields, was cathartic for you too. Our key leaders Kate Hore and Tyla Hanks continue their weekly displays of sublime footy nous and skill execution. Improvement builds across the entire playing group and our depth of personnel and elite fitness levels are the envy of the league. Coach Mick mentioned there is some work to do on our defence. Some would agree. The Bulldogs were terrific with their endeavour, led by star captain Ellie Blackburn and trailed by only eight points midway through the third quarter. Melbourne’s system, fitness and ability to execute our trademark run and carry game style saw the Dees win easily in the end. It was a physical game and the notorious Casey windy conditions made skill execution difficult. Melbourne had 16 players with more than ten possessions displaying the even spread of contribution whereas by comparison the Bulldogs had only ten players. Too many positives to mention everyone but a few: Eliza McNamara is building nicely in her comeback from injury. Loz Pearce has started this season very strongly and her ruck support, young Campbell, looks promising. Tayla Harris had a terrific game and Macken keeps learning, starting at a few centre bounces. The Dees remain second on the ladder after three games on percentage and take on the Hawks away next week. Melbourne will start favourite, but the problem with building a winning streak is the implied pressure of an unbeaten run. In terms of the game: Q1 From the outset such intensity from the Bulldogs.The Dees win a contested ball in the centre and then execute their trademark run and carry. Harris Hore, Purcell and finally Hanks involved, who side steps and pinpoint passes to Mithen. Lily goes back and goals for Melbourne’s first score. Moments later Hore gets high-tackled in front of goal and kicks our second from her freekick. Next Mackin kicks deep inside the 50 to Bannan, who instinctively moves to her right to score but is then tackled by two ferocious Dogs, her shot goes wide but now she’s down in pain. Sadly, Bannan’s day is done. On the last play of the quarter Eliza Mac puts Hore under pressure with her handball and Deanna Berry picks it up and slams it through from 40 metres. Nice goal, she had missed with her two previous attempts. ¼ time: Dees 2.3.15 Dogs 1.2.8 Q2 Again, real intensity from the Bulldogs. Ellie Blackburn leads her team well. Halfway through the quarter Hanksy wins a free and passes to Paxy in a better position who goals. Repeated forward entries and Sherriff kicks a nice opportunist’s goal. Dogs keeping up the effort and stalwart Kirsty Lamb kicks a lovely left foot goal from a throw in. Mick has moved Heath on to Ellie B. Tough gig. Young Rylie Wilcox takes a ripper mark over Eliza Mac and kicks a nice goal. ½ time: Dees 5.7.37 Dogs 3.3.21 Q3 The Bulldogs team intensity continues. Kirsty Lamb, without looking, kicks a miracle goal and it’s a 10-point game. Harris kicks long to Gay who goals. Gillard drops a mark she should have taken, McLoed then runs into an open goal and it’s an 8-point game. From the ensuing centre bounce the Dees win the clearance and Zanker gets on the end for a quick reply. We make it look easy at times. Some more magic from our new forward, Maddi Gay, who gives and gets from Sherriff to kick a rippa goal on the run, her second for the day. Some more confusion from our backs allows McFarlane to run on to a bouncing ball and kick a Dogs goal. ¾ time: Dees 8.7.55 Dogs 6.5.35 Q4 Lily Mithen kicks a nice goal on the run to begin. That’s 2 today. Go Lil. Next Eliza MacNamara kicks a ripping inside 50 low drop punt to hit Kate Hore, lace out. It’s Tayla Harris’ turn to pinpoint Zanker inside 50. Edo bananas a goal on her leftie. Dogs are tiring, the team intensity has waned. Dees running away with it. Hanksy finds Paxy who long bombs her second goal. The siren sounds and it’s a convincing 42-point win. Three zip in 2023. Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear was pleased with the win in tricky conditions. We were able to execute our run and carry game to put on good score. He noted there were defensive lapses during the match, with the Dogs scoring more freely than he would have liked. He said Alyssa Bannan has a sprained ankle. Optimistically she’ll be right for next week, at worst 1-2 weeks. Bulldogs coach Nathan Burke was proud of his team’s four-quarter effort and intensity around the contest. He feels Melbourne are the best team going around by a fair way. He highlighted that pre-season injuries have affected the Dogs overall match fitness but sees promising signs ahead. Next week, the Demons take on the Hawks at Kinetic Stadium (Friday, September 22 at 5:05pm).  MELBOURNE 2.3.15 5.7.37 8.7.55 12.11.83 WESTERN BULLDOGS 1.2.8 3.3.21 6.5.41 6.5.41 GOALS MELBOURNE Gay Hore Mithen Paxman Zanker 2 Hanks Sherriff WESTERN BULLDOGS Lamb 2 Berry McFarlane McLeod Wilcox BEST MELBOURNE Hanks McNamara Hore Pearce Gay Paxman WESTERN BULLDOGS Blackburn Lynch Lamb Pritchard Wilcox INJURIES MELBOURNE Bannan (ankle) Gay (hip) WESTERN BULLDOGS Wilcox (knee) REPORTS MELBOURNE Nil WESTERN BULLDOGS Nil CROWD 1,457 at Casey Fields
  21. The Western Bulldogs and the Demons have history. Prior to the creation of the AFLW league, the AFL ran four years of exhibition matches featuring our two teams between 2013 and 2016. The winner holds the Hampson-Hardeman Cup, in honour of two women who were founders of the national women’s football competition. After 13 games the Demons hold nine wins, four losses record and currently hold the Cup after trouncing the Dogs last year by 64 points. The exhibition games were a precursor to formation of the AFLW league. Eight teams were granted licences including the Dees and the Dogs and thus began the national women’s football league. The Dogs rose early with a premiership cup in 2018 in Season Two. However, lately they have stalled, and their alumni of lost dogs includes some of the league’s most impressive names: Kearney, Conti, Brennan and our own Libby Birch. Bonnie Toogood has moved to Essendon. Hard names to replace and less than a handful of players remain from their premiership team. Selection this week The injury report suggests everyone is available, so Paxy comes in for sure. It will be interesting to see whether they bring Fitzy straight back too. Wilson will likely be the unlucky one to miss out. Bulldogs reported nil injuries last week and have Brit Gutknecht and Millie Brown listed as test. Our opponents, Western Bulldogs All Australian star Ellie Blackburn is clearly their matchwinner and there are other good role players such as stalwart Kirsty Lamb, Jess Fitzgerald, Sarah Hartwig and Deanna Berry. One improver is their ruck Alice Edmonds who, after leaving Richmond, has flourished at the Dogs under Nathan Burke and earned All Australian honours last season. The Western Bulldogs have only played at Casey Fields once and that was last season’s 64-point drubbing. Meggs view Another big score is on the cards this Saturday afternoon. Last week the Demons were again exciting when they were able to the win the ball and execute to outside runners. We are fantastic to watch, and Mick has the team firing early in the season. Loz Pearce was great last week and her battle with Alice Edmonds will be good to watch. Stinear last week praised our multi-faceted, versatile forward structure. It is amazing we have such a dynamic group and expect it will be a real headache for Nathan Burke on Saturday. The marking power of Tayla Harris and Eden Zanker, the speed of Alyssa Bannan, the sublime footy nous, and skills of Kate Hore, and our mids rolling forward to snap goals like Liv Purcell, Sarah Lampard, Blaithin Mackin and Lily Mithen did last week. Our opponents have lost their opening two games to Geelong by 48 points and to expansion side Hawthorn by seven points and have a percentage of 50.5%. On the other hand, the Dees have beaten contender Collingwood by 42 points and GWS away by 77 points to be second on the ladder with a percentage of 324.5%. Hope it’s a pleasant afternoon with not too much wind to hinder the skills. Go Dees! Melbourne by 45 points THE GAME Melbourne v Western Bulldogs at Casey Fields, on Saturday 16 September 2023 at 3:05pm HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 9 wins WB 4 wins At Casey Fields Melbourne 1 win WB 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 3 wins Burke 1 win MEDIA TV - live free on 7mate. Foxtel, Kayo. Check your local guides. Mobile – AFL Live Official App and AFLW Official App Radio - check your local guides. THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 10.13 (73) defeated WB 1.3 (9) at Casey Fields, 9 October 2022 This Season Seven Round Seven clash was all one-way traffic with the Dees earning a percentage boosting win and consolidating themselves in the Top Four. Other than an accidental clash of heads between Paxy and Loz Pearce it was simply a case of Melbourne’s system overwhelming anything the Dogs could muster. West and Purcell were instrumental in gaining control of the footy. Excitement machine Banno kicked three goals, with Harris putting her hand up for mark of the year and Zanker doing well too. Goals Melbourne: Bannan 3, Zanker 2, Harris 2, West, Hore, Duffy Western Bulldogs: Hartwig Best Melbourne: Paxman, West, Goldrick, Purcell Western Bulldogs: Blackburn, Ferres, Edmonds, Grant Injuries Melbourne: L. Pearce (head knock), Paxman (head knock) Western Bulldogs: Nil Reports: Nil Crowd: 2,154 at Casey Fields THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick M. Gay S. Heath C E. McNamara T. Hanks S.Lampard HF A. Bannan L. Mithen T. Harris F E. Zanker K. Hore FOLL L. Pearce E. West O. Purcell I/C (from) M. Chaplin G. Campbell B. Mackin P. Paxman C. Sherriff EMG J. Ivey R. Watt C. Wilson IN P. Paxman OUT C. Wilson (omitted) WESTERN BULLDOGS B I. Grant K. Lynch HB E. Georgostathis K. Coyne M. Gorham C R. Wilcox K. Lamb I. Pritchard HF C. Moody G. Newton G. Lagioia F S. Hartwig D. Berry FOLL A. Edmonds E. Blackburn J. Fitzgerald IC D. Carruthers A. Smith B. McFarlane K. McLeod H. Woodley EMG R. Cranston N. Ferres B. Hunt IN M. Gorham H. Woodley A. Smith OUT D. Bateman (omitted) N. Ferres (omitted) B. Hunt (omitted) Injury List: Round 3 Megan Fitzsimon (back) test Paxy Paxman Chaplin (quad) test
  22. No Paxy, no problems, as Melbourne kicked the equal third highest score in AFLW history to romp home against Greater Western Sydney (GWS) in Canberra by 77 points. Paxman had played in all the Demons previous 65 games but was a late withdrawal due a quad injury. Speedy recovery Paxy. Our Giant Killer, Captain Kate Hore was awesome with 23 disposals, 420 metres gained, 6 tackles and 5 goals 2 behinds. Her confidence in her ability to win the ball seems sky high and she plays all over the ground with such aplomb. When all the AFLW captains were asked ‘if you could recruit another player from any AFLW club who would it be?’, three captains chose our number 10. They know what they’re talking about. Clearly the longer games and rotation cap is advantaging teams like Melbourne and North Melbourne. The Dees slammed on seven goals in the last quarter and the Roos kicked five goals in theirs. We will continue to see more goals this year, across the league. Gold Coast matched the Dees kicking 99 points too. The forward line was really strong on Sunday and always looked dangerous. As for the defenders, Chaplin did well in her first game back while Goldie, Gillard, Birch and crew appeared more confident this week. Our best players Hore, Lampard, Hanks, Pearce, Purcell were well supported by an even team effort. Our list management has been meticulous, and we have managed to keep and develop our players at Melbourne. There are 16 players with 30 AFLW games or more of which 8 players have over 50 games. Melbourne now has a historical win loss ratio of 75.8%, the highest in the competition. It really was an outstanding performance by the team. So many contributors which highlights our even spread of talent and that versatility to which Mick Stinear often refers. The Dees are second on the ladder after two games with the Top 4 looking strangely like Meggs predicted, that is North Melbourne, Adelaide, and Geelong. All teams have percentages over 200%. In terms of the game: Q1 GWS win the first centre clearance and goal within 20 seconds. Impressive start but weren’t we going to open with higher intensity this week? Spoke too early. Within a minute our skipper had kicked two wonderful goals, one from a contested mark and the other was a nice snap. Zanker snags another for the Dees before Doyle marks and goals for the Giants’ second. Goldie finds Hore directly in front who kicks her third goal. What an impressive quarter by Kate. ¼ time: GWS 2.1.13 Dees 4.1.17 Q2 Within 2 minutes of the restart Mackin has kicked another goal. Hanksy’s skill level is on another plane. Her precision by hand and foot is sublime Her pass to Bannan is perfectly weighted and she outsprints her opponents and to kick a nice goal. We are getting on top. Hanks then hits up Harris inside 50 on the boundary line. Tayla then centres to Lampard who marks and duly converts. Our number 8 is having a good game. ½ time: GWS 2.1.13 Dees 7.5.47 Q3 GWS come out a bit stronger after halftime and it’s an arm wrestle for the quarter with each team scoring just the one goal. One from the experienced GWS campaigner Eva but the Dees‘ goal deserves a special mention. Kate Hore marks inside 50 from a well-weighted long pass from Liv Purcell. Kate knows this shot looks close to the edge of her kicking distance. As the ball heads straight towards goal, Tayla first bumps tall defender Cambridge McCormick to her left and then solidly bumps Pepa Randall to her right to clear a path for Kate’s kick to sail through at head height. Nice one Tay! ¾ time: GWS 3.3.21 Dees 8.7.55 Q4 A seven goal to nil last quarter was a procession but still entertaining to watch. Well fun for Dees fans anyway. A botched kick in by GWS results in a nice snap by Purcell for her first goal. Bannan gets her second, the result of a Lauren Pearce forward 50 entry. Loz is playing really well today. Purcell and Lampard both score their second goals. 57 points up. Another forward 50 entry by Pearce results in a goal from a free kick after Lily Mithen was tripped. Banno gets her third goal from a clever snap from the pocket. The last goal was created by Dees keeping the ball alive and aptly it’s Kate Hore who gets on the end of the good play to score her fifth goal. GWS have only kicked a solitary point in this half while the Dees have managed 44 points in the final term alone. It’s a convincing 77 point win and 99 points is Melbourne’s second highest all time score. Full time: Dees 15.9.99 defeated GWS 3.4.22 Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear said GWS played a good brand of contested footy. A taxing game. Versality is a strength of our playing group. He was happy to earn the four points on the road. GWS coach Cam Bernasconi was disappointed with Melbourne’s seven last quarter goals which created a ‘sour ending’ to the night for his team. He felt GWS was still in the game at ¾ time. Next week we take on old rivals, the Western Bulldogs at Casey Fields on Saturday September 16 at 3:05pm. MELBOURNE 4.1.25 7.5.47 8.7.55 15.9.99 GWS GIANTS 2.1.13 2.1.13 3.3.21 3.4.22 GOALS MELBOURNE Hore 5 Bannan 3 Lampard Purcell 2 Mackin Mithen Zanker GWS GIANTS Doyle Eva Garnett BEST MELBOURNE Hore Hanks Purcell Lampard Pearce GWS GIANTS Barr Eva Evans Parker Beeson INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil GWS GIANTS Nil LATE CHANGES GWS GIANTS Annalyse Lister (calf) replaced in selected side by Caitlin Miller MELBOURNE Nil
  23. The reigning AFLW champions dee-stroyed contender Collingwood last week, to open the 2023 season with a third-term masterclass and confirmed their premiership contender credentials. It was such an exhilarating and satisfying match to watch. We witnessed the Eliza Mac comeback, Heathy versus the goliath Davey, new captain Kate starring, Banno and Edo kicking goals, an exciting new tall unearthed in Campbell and our fleet of mids were everywhere especially in that third quarter. And what about those repeated pinpoint deliveries into the forward 50 arc? This weekend the team flies to Canberra for their first ever game at Manuka Oval against fellow foundation club Greater Western Sydney on Sunday at 5:05pm. In a pre-match interview last week Scott Gowans, the Swans coach, described GWS as the worst performing foundation club. Before this match no expansion team had defeated a foundation team. Thus, GWS should have been well motivated, but it was the Swans who backed up their coach’s words with a stirring victory at North Sydney Oval. GWS started well, being 25 points up mid-way through the third quarter but a Chloe Molloy inspired comeback led the Swans to a 5-point historic first ever win for the expansion side. This Sunday evening GWS will encounter a whole new level of dangerous forward line against the Dees talls, speed, and (fingers crossed) accuracy. If we match their intensity, we have the defensive structure to take control and kick a winning score. Selection One change: Maeve Chaplin returns from concussion and will add steel and strength behind the ball. Her ability to attack the contest and deliver a booming kick will be welcomed back. Megan Fitzsimon has been omitted due to injury. Defenders Colvin and Wilson along with Rhi Watt are the emergencies. While our best players were duly lauded for last week’s win there were couple of teammates who we hope will improve their performance this week: Fitzy was quiet (possibly injury impacted), Westy was in and out, and the defensive group Birch, Gillard and Goldrick seemed a bit rusty. At the MFC AFLW launch Meggs asked the coach how Gaby Colvin (named as an emergency) could break into such a strong defensive team, and he was at pains to emphasise what a competitor Gaby is. He is bullish on her so there is certainly pressure on that backline to perform. GWS has named an unchanged line up. Our opponents, GWS Watching their game last week GWS has a sprinkling of experience across the group with Alyce Parker, Alicia Eva, Chloe Dalton, Bec Beeson, Nicola Barr (who plays her 50th game) and a group of tall defenders in Pepa Randall, Grace Hill and Cambridge McCormick. Tall forward Georgia Garnett was lively kicking two nice goals and small Haneen Zreika can play. They will be smarting from their loss last week so expect them to come out strongly. Meggs’ view Last Friday, you could see that the Pies were intense and got on top in that first half led by Bri Davey and Brit Bonicci. Girls let’s start stronger this week. Watching the GWS game our general field kicking and handball skills appear a level above, so if we work hard enough we will overrun them early in the match and secure a big win. The new 60 cap interchange rule is advantaging Melbourne as we have many quality fit midfielders such as Hanksy, Liv Purcell, Westy, Lily M, Paxy plus running machines B Macken and Eliza Mac on the wings and Kate Hore and Heath have gameday midfield roles at certain times. This advantageous depth allows the Dees to share the load, unlike many teams such as GWS who have really only a couple of strong quality mids at their disposal and who will likely tire during the new regime of extended matches and rotation cap. During the recent Casey VFLW season both Fitzy and Goldie had turns on the ball and did well. If GWS star mid Alyce Parker is getting on top at any point expect Coach Mick to throw Giant slayer Shelley Heath on to her. Hore, Harris, Zanker and Bannan are all stars in our forward line and Meggs struggles to see how Pepa Randall and her GWS defensive cohort can contain their collective brilliance. The full ground defence is supported by a strong structure of well drilled teammates setting up and responding to ball movement. Of course, it doesn’t work as well when there is quick ball movement like Collingwood were able to do last week so expect GWS to try and unpick our systems. Good luck with that Cam (GWS coach Bernasconi). Last week Georgia Campbell kicked a nice goal, nicely celebrating her birthday and her first win. Our number one looks the goods as a ruck/ forward and will be tremendous support for Loz Pearce. If Georgia continues to develop, she shapes as a likely successor. Tomorrow’s weather looks fine. Feeling confident this week. Us Dees supporters need some good news this weekend and Meggs expects our champion AFLW team to deliver in Canberra and find our voice. Go Dees! Melbourne by 35 points THE GAME Melbourne v GWS at Manual Oval, Canberra, on Sunday 10 September 2023 at 5:05pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 4 wins GWS 1 win At Manuka Melbourne 0 wins GWS 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 0 wins Bernasconi 0 wins MEDIA TV - live free on 7mate. Foxtel, Kayo. Check your local guides. Mobile – AFL Live Official App and AFLW Official App Radio - check your local guides. THE LAST TIME THEY MET Melbourne 6.8.44 defeated GWS 1.1.7 at Casey Fields in Season 6 Round 6 - 12 February 2022 This Season 6 clash was one way traffic with the Dees handing GWS their biggest defeat of the season at Casey Fields, Melbourne’s fortress. If not for the notorious windy conditions, the Dees could have won by more as the forwards had issues converting. The defenders including Ali Brown, Libby Birch and Gaby Colvin were miserly, racking up intercepts and only allowing GWS one solitary goal, late in the game. The Coach sent Shelley Heath to GWS’s star Irish forward Cora Staunton and kept her goalless. What an impressive list of tagging victims Heathy has accumulated over the years. Our star midfielders Lily Mithen, Paxy Paxman, Tyla Hanks and Eliza West all gathered 20 or more disposals for the day and Tayla Harris and Kate Hore kicked two goals each. GOALS Melbourne Harris Hore 2 D Pearce Scott GWS Giants Doyle BEST Melbourne Hanks Mithen West Paxman GWS Giants Randall Parker Eva Dallaway THE TEAMS GWS B J. Hicks P. Randall HB C. Dalton G. Hill T. Evans C J. Doyle N. Barr M. Brazendale HF Z. Goldsworthy H. Zreika A. Parker F G. Garnett B. Mowbray FOLL F. Davies A. Lister A. Eva I/C (from) T. Cattle A. Dallaway T. Germech J. Grierson C. McCormick C. Miller K. Smith IN T. Cattle J. Grierson C. Miller OUT MELBOURNE B L. Birch T. Gillard HB S. Goldrick M. Gay S. Heath C S.Lampard T. Hanks E. McNamara HF T. Harris L. Mithen A. Bannan F E. Zanker K. Hore FOLL L. Pearce E. West K. Paxman I/C (from) G. Campbell M. Chaplin G. Colvin B. Mackin O. Purcell R. Watt C. Wilson IN M. Chaplin G. Colvin C. Wilson, R. Watt OUT M. Fitzsimon (Injured) Injury List: Round 2 Saraid Taylor (foot) test Maeve Chaplin (concussion) test
  24. Are you not entertained? Wow, that was some second half by the Dees. Our skill level and delivery into the forward 50 was the best we’ve seen. And 10 goals to boot! Not surprisingly, the Hot Pies came out with physicality across the board. Star captain Bri Davey threw her weight around like a gladiator racking up 35 positions to be best on ground. Brit Bonicci was coming back from an ACL too and she racked up 17 possessions to also be influential. You could tell at ground level we were not quite matching their intensity and that led to skill errors. Mike Stinear rued those early missed gettable goals which put us on the back foot. Collingwood were up by 14 points midway through the second quarter and Meggs was thinking, is this what a premiership hangover looks like? But no worries. Mick Stinear resets the group at half-time, some astute positional moves, a ratcheting up of the intensity meter, and voila! A scintillating 5-goal third quarter to none, to run away with the 4 points and be top of the ladder. It was inspiring to watch. Yes, entertained. A secret strength seems the evenness of our playing group. Collingwood had 5 players who had more than 10 possessions whereas Melbourne had 13 such players. Remember that quarters have been extended to 17 minutes plus time on, with rotations restricted to 70 so fitness is another factor, especially late in quarters. Special mention: Shelley Heath with 11 possessions and 11 tackles, ran with and limited Bri Davey’s influence in the second half and helped herself to 2 opportunistic goals. What a star! Other mentions: Kate Hore was everywhere with 6 marks and a Captain’s goal. Lily Mithen was full of energy around the ground, Purcell, Paxy and Mackin too. Eliza MacNamara’s second half for her first game for a year was super. She nailed an incredible inside 50 bullet pass to Hore for her goal. Our tall forwards provided lots of great leads and marked well with Bannan (3 goals), Zanker (2.3) and Harris (1.2). Harris also had 7 marks and got to many contests competing well. Ikon Park always has such a nice vibe. Arriving early, you could see the ground steadily filling, eventually with 8,412 people. It was great to see Kate Roffey and Daisy Pearce there to unveil the Demons Season 7 premiership flag and then we were sung to by Australian legend Missy Higgins. Kate promised big things for Melbourne in Season 8 and thanked all supporters with special praise for the DeeArmy. Their banner celebrating vice-captain Tyla Hanks’ 50th game was amazing. Hanksy played her part too with her usual gameday awesomeness and celebrating her milestone with a crushing win. In terms of the game: Q1 Kate Hore wins the toss. Good omen. We notice Razor Ray is out there with his whistle. Awesome. Melbourne has the better of the opening minutes and a couple of near misses from Harris, Zanker and Sherriff. Highlights reel Alyssa Bannan gets the opening goal of the match with a nice assist from Eliza Mac. Collingwood pushing forward. Our defenders look under pressure. Purcell is adjudged to be holding the ball and Makala Cann kicks truly for the Pies first goal. Davey, Bonicci, Brazill are getting on top, laying some big tackles and the Pies get another goal via Tarni Brown. ¼ time: Dees 1.4.10 Pies 2.0.12 Q2 Within 2 minutes of the start of play the Pies get another goal off the back of a thumping inside 50 entry from Davey when Morris-Dalton kicks it off the ground. Moments later Sabreena Frederick for the Pies has a snap in the goal square but kicks it like Joe Daniher and somehow misses the unmissable. A lucky break for the Dees! Davey then earns a holding the ball free kick in the goal square and duly converts. Pies up by 13 points and getting on top. Mick sends Kate Hore to defence, and she immediately marks and repels a Pies forward entry. Eliza James, a Collingwood forward, is off with an ankle injury. Unfortunately, she doesn’t return. Second-gamer Georgia Campbell takes a contested mark in the goal square and converts. She was a Father-Daughter selection with pick 41 in the 2021 AFLW draft and her Dad, Adrian, played 2 games for the Dees in 1993. ½ time: Dees 2.7.19 Pies 4.3.27 Q3 Melbourne starts brightly with some fast ball movement where Zanker takes control of the footy in the goal square and nicely executes an overhead kick for a goal. That’s how you do it Sabreena. Next a scintillating passage of play begins deep in the backline and ends up with Shelley Heath running into an open goal. The Dees are in front as teammates gather around Heathy. Eliza Mac then intercepts and hits up Kate Hore with that sublime inside 50 pass and Captain Kate goes bang, slotting it perfectly above the goal umpire’s head. Momentum is with the Dees as now as Harris intercepts an errant Magpie handpass to kick the fourth goal of the quarter. Under two minutes now and Harris takes another contested mark in the inside 50 and centres her kick where Banno takes a Mark of the Day and goes back and goals. Banno can now add contested marking to her impressive bouncing, goal scoring and celebrating CV. Less than 30 seconds to go and Hanks steals the ball from Davey to hit Harris on the lead but in an anticlimax, her after-the-siren shot hits the post. No matter. The Dees have turned the pie warmer off and the Pies have gone cold. They’re no chance from here. Collingwood coach Steve Symonds said the Pies missed the ‘run’ of their injured first choice defenders Ruby Schleicher and Lauren Butler. Our tall forwards have certainly dominated. ¾ time: Dees 7.11.19 Pies 4.4.28 Q4 The Pies only score 3 points for the quarter as the Dees dominate and kick 3 goals 2 points. Heath creates something from nothing from a ball up for her second goal. What a game she’s having! Zanker then marks strongly and goes banana on her left foot for her second goal. Sherriff marks inside 50 and then unselfishly handballs to a running Banno for her third goal. It’s game over. Full time: Dees 10.13.73 defeated Pies 4.7.31 If you’re one of those people who say women’s footy is not skillful or entertaining enough for you, please watch the highlights of the third quarter and see if you still feel that way. Coaches and next week Melbourne Coach Mick Stinear said the group started well but didn’t convert early and became concerned when Collingwood got on top. He felt it was an attractive game to watch with both teams having ascendency at various times. When asked, he said Melbourne was conservative with the new AFLW rotation rule limit of 60 interchanges. Collingwood coach Steve Symonds said Melbourne was a really good team last year and have gone up another level this year. When their pressure dropped off, Melbourne was able to get their run-on gaming going and they’re hard to stop. He is a fan of the longer quarters. Next week we take on GWS at Manuka Oval, Canberra on Sunday September 10 at 5:05pm. MELBOURNE 1.4.10 2.7.19 7.11.53 10.13.73 COLLINGWOOD 2.0.12 4.3.27 4.4.28 4.7.31 GOALS MELBOURNE Bannan 3 Heath Zanker 2 Campbell Harris Hore COLLINGWOOD Brown Cann Davey Morris-Dalton BEST MELBOURNE Hanks Bannan Purcell Zanker Heath Hore COLLINGWOOD Davey Bonnici Rowe Cann Morris-Dalton Brazill INJURIES MELBOURNE Nil COLLINGWOOD James (ankle) Brazill (nose) UMPIRES Chamberlain Devenish Simmonds CROWD 8,412 at Ikon Park
  25. Friday Night Footy, and the only game in town, is the Mighty Dees up against the Hot Pies at our second home, IKON Park. And as a bonus Missy Higgins will sing to us before the match and (hopefully) Eliza Mac is back! Before the match the Demons will unfurl their 2022 AFLW Premiership Flag and spectators are encouraged to be there from 6:30pm. Princes (IKON) Park is a popular ground choice by our players. It offers elite facilities, wind shelter from the grandstands, and a high-quality playing surface. Most importantly the players say they can hear and feel the crowd supporting them which they can feed off. It is a great venue for fans too with easy viewing, transport and parking. Dees supporters have really warmed to IKON especially since we’ve had some brilliant recent wins there (including finals) and it’s not as remote as Casey for Meggs and others. Remember that Collingwood and Melbourne were part of that initial cohort of 8 clubs that began the AFLW back in that 2017 first season. Interestingly our first ever game against Collingwood was at Princes Park (Round 2 2017). The Dees came away victorious that day by 19 points and a certain D Pearce from Melbourne was the game high disposal gatherer with 16 possessions and 7 laid tackles. While this is our first ever ‘Season Opener’, Collingwood will have played in 6 out of the 8 season openers. Selection this week Coach Mick Stinear says we are at ‘ground zero’ following our reaching of the top of the mountain with the 2022 AFLW Premiership cup and Tyla Hanks, our newly minted vice-captain, has echoed these comments. So how does the last season’s statistically best defence and second-best offence improve in 2023? We’ll see on Friday night but there are some questions first. How will the team cope with the loss of Daisy? In the practice games Eden Zanker starred as a marking forward but who else comes in? Gaby Colvin is back from her ACL and working toward selection, but who would she replace? Tahlia Gillard was a revelation in 2022 at full back and a vital cog in our defensive group and Libby Birch one of the best marking interceptors. Maddie Gay is very important in gelling our the backs too. Eliza MacNamara is a running wing but who does she displace? Blaithin Mackin just improved week on week last year so who takes the other wing? Meggs thinks Mick has some selection headaches. Yes It was good to see we have some developing ruck support for Loz Pearce with Georgia Campbell (1) impressing in practice games and working her craft during the VFLW season with Casey. Given the injury report and that only 2 players from the grand final are not playing (i.e. Daisy and Maeve Chaplin), we await selection news with eager anticipation. Dees list changes Saraid Taylor (28), a young tall from Richmond and Georgina ‘Chook’ Fowler (12), a forward from GWS with a Rugby7s background have joined the Dees. Blaithin Mackin’s (31) sister, Aimee who has impressed everyone with her Gaelic Football videos must be over her hamstring concerns and available but it’s Mick’s call whether she plays. Sammie Johnson is also back training after giving birth to son Luca and featured in the Hawthorn practice game. It’s only 4 months since she gave birth! Our opponents, the Pies Former Collingwood co-captain Steph Chiocci has moved to St Kilda along with experienced mid Jaimee Lambert. A huge loss was gun forward Chloe Molloy to Sydney, to be their co-captain. The Pies do see the return from ACLs of experienced stars Bri Davey and Brit Bonnici, and we’ll see on Friday how well these two have recovered. The Pies also recruited onballer Tarni White from St Kilda who we expect will play. Gun defender Ruby Schleicher is listed on their injury as a ‘test’. Ruby would be a loss for them. Meggs view We have a settled playing group with a strong contested midfield group led by Hanks, Purcell, West, Mithen, and Paxy. Our main ruck Pearce has support from Campbell, Harris, with Zanker and Gillard too. The defence has Birch, Gillard, Gay, Goldrick, Heath, and someone comes in to replace Chaplin. Maybe Wilson. Our forward group has star power in Hore, Bannan and Zanker. The 2023 NAB AFLW Season opener promises to be a typically tight and contested game. Expecting Collingwood to come out really strong so we need to match them in contested footy. Our balanced depth is our strength, and our mix of forwards create difficult matchups for the Pies. Our practice form was a bit scratchy with wins over Blues by 21 points and Hawks by 58 points. Neither opposition team is expected to make finals. At least the cobwebs have been blown away. The Pies lost at home to Geelong by 14 points and away to Fremantle by 1 point. Over 8 years our coach has jointly shaped our club and family environment at Melbourne FC which is a launchpad for another successful season ahead. The Dees don’t get too ahead of themselves, they live in the moment, and embody the #demonspirit. The players know they’re back at ground zero, they will follow the process and the results will manifest. Expecting big things in 2023. Isn’t it a great time to be a Melbourne supporter with our women, reigning champions and opening a new AFLW season and less than a week later the AFLM are playing a Qualifying Final at the G. Meggs has tickets to both games and is highly optimistic of successful pie nights. Go Dees! Melbourne by 19 points THE GAME Melbourne v Collingwood at Ikon Park, on Friday 1 September 2023 at 7:20pm (Melbourne time) HEAD TO HEAD Overall Melbourne 3 wins Collingwood 2 wins At Princes Park Melbourne 1 win Collingwood 0 wins The Coaches Stinear 0 wins Symonds 1 win MEDIA TV - live on 7 and Kayo. Check your local guides. Radio - check your local guides. THE LAST TIME THEY MET Collingwood 7.7 (49) defeated Melbourne 1.8 (14) at Victoria Park, 28 February 2021 Collingwood stamped itself as one of the AFLW 2021 premiership favourites after disposing of the wayward Demons by 35 points in Indigenous Round 5 in 2021. Star forward Chloe Molloy (now with Sydney) was unstoppable with 3 goals. Collingwood kept Melbourne goalless until late in the third quarter until ruck Loz Pearce kicked a great goal on the run. Magpies ball magnets Brittany Bonnici and Jamiee Lambert (now with St Kilda) had days out with dominant displays in the midfield. GOALS Melbourne: L Pearce Collingwood: Molloy 3, Davey 2, Sheridan, Cann BEST Melbourne: Hanks, Paxman, Scott, L.Pearce, Hore, Mithen Collingwood: Molloy, Davey, Bonnici, Livingstone, Lambert, Schleicher THE TEAMS MELBOURNE B L.Birch 9 T.Gillard 17 HB S. Heath 30 M.Gay 3 S.Goldrick 23 C S. Lampard 8 O.Purcell 2 E.McNamara 22 HF T. Harris 7 L.Mithen 14 A.Bannan 16 F E.Zanker 29 K.Hore - C 10 FOLL L.Pearce 15 T.Hanks 5 P.Paxman 4 I/C B.Mackin 31 G.Campbell 1 E.West 11 C.Sherriff 18 M.Fitzsimon 24 EMG G.Colvin 32 C.Wilson 20 S.Johnson 25 New faces: None
 Notable absences: Maeve Chaplin (concussion) Jordi Ivey
 Milestones: Tyla Hanks - 50 games COLLINGWOOD B S.Casey 22 S.Livingstone 12 HB S.Sansonetti 16 S.Karlson 20 A.Brazill 10 C J. Allen 6 B.Davey - C 3 T.White 29 HF G.Campbell 13 E.Morris 21 E.James 2 F N.Morris-Dalton 17 S.Rowe 7 FOLL S.Frederick 1 M.Cann 25 B.Bonnici 8 I/C A. Porter 9 E.Fowler 15 L.Brazzale 24 T.Brown 26 A.Sheridan 14 EMG I.Barnett 4 C.Blair 28 E.Smith 33 New faces Grace Campbell Selena Karlson Eleri Morris Nell Morris-Dalton Tarni White 
Notable absences Lauren Butler (foot) Jo Lin (foot) Ruby Schleicher (foot) Injury List: Round 1 Maeve Chaplin (concussion) Saraid Taylor (foot)
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