Saturday, 25 February 2017

Fields of Dream

I was otherwise occupied missing the appropriate turnoff to Cranbourne and ended up hearing the last quarter in section 87B of the carpark, so thanks to intrepid reporter @daniel5faulkner who provided this guest review of yesterday's AFLW match

Hi everyone, most likely Dees fans but who knows... I'm here to cover the Dees vs Blues game in this historic AFL Women's competition. I've heard several negatives about the women's game which I simply don't get. The spectacle is amazing, brings so many fans that wouldn’t usually go and if you don’t believe there is passion you haven’t seen them sing the song. It's probably done with more gusto than you or I. But I am not here to calculate gusto levels, let's talk about the game.

If anything could describe this game in one moment, in one beautiful moment, it would be how Richelle ‘Rocky’ Cranston was left by herself inside 50 for the easiest goal of the game. Which also happened to be the decider, as for the previous four minutes the game had been deadlocked. What a beautiful but shocking sight for Blues fans, they'd recovered what seemed an unassailable gap at three quarter time to draw level before then.

That is the women's game, low scoring but not as long as even the shortened JLT Series matches. So we see these massive bursts, and in my opinion that's when the skills explode. One player who was there all day was Daisy, I recorded a few passage as the game went on and each included Daisy because she was dominant in the key moments. I'm very happy for her to represent the club going forward along with Jack and Nathan.

Before we got to the thriller the game didn't look like it was going to be exciting. The first quarter was one point to each side, with very few chances to either team. A mark at each end could have capitalised but was not to be. Although Melbourne seemed to have more chances it was Carlton that seemed to have the better chance near the end of the quarter with Nat Exon.

Both teams seemed to fire up in the second quarter. Within the first minute there was a quick clearance, and Cat Phillips passed to Elise O’Dea for a finely deserved goal. She was a Demon fan growing up so what’s not to love? After this were two 50/50 frees that went against us and ended in Carlton goals. "How Melbourne" I hear you yell, but both Kate Shierlaw and Darcy Vescio kicked terrific set shots. Sometimes you have to respect the skill despite the result. Get used to Darcy's name and quickly, she's a genuine star and been a favourite of mine thanks to her podcast ‘This AFL Life’.

From here Melbourne had a few shots at goal, one from Ainslie Kemp running into goal and not making the distance, and Alyssa Mifsud missing for a behind. But within a few possessions of the kick in Mifsud had another chance at goal and kicked truly. The next goal came from a beautiful passage of play where the ball went from Daisy Pearce, to Richelle Cranston, then Elisa O'Dea and finally Shelley Scott who who kicked the goal. It was a smooth, and it seemed that when there was a quick procession of play we'd get the goal.

Another quick passage of play from the centre featuring O’Dea, D. Pearce to Paxman didn't get the result. It shows the understanding the players have from their time at Darebin. Shortly after there was another of those fantastic moments, Lily Mithen, to Daisy Pearce, leading to a Mifsud goal. When the club starts running they start bolting.

One thing I've noticed in Dees women's matches are 50 metre penalties, which don't seem to happen anywhere but Melbourne. Two of these came within 30 seconds of each other, from the first encroachment 50 the Blues kicked a point before we got one and Deanne Berry kicked a goal. It wasn't clear what it was for, I tried to track it down on TV as well but it wasn't any clearer.

When you watch a women’s match you need to accept something. Daisy will tackle people… all day long. It’s just a fact that she wants the ball, and she's one of those unique footballers that wants it and doesn't expect it to be handed to her on a platter. It almost seems she doesn't like the easy ball. To top off her work she was involved in yet another passage of play, handballing to Mifsud who kicks a goal. At the start of the last quarter it was 36-17. Easy right? Game over. Surely. Not when they play in Melbourne colours.

With goals in order to Isabella Ayre, Bianca Jakobsson and Ayre again. The game was even. And that’s when it happened. Somehow Melbourne got it down to an unattended Cranston. And goal… if only every goal was that easy. Game over, Dees win. Our hopes are still alive to reach the final stanza.

2017 Debbie Lee Medal for Player of the Year
5 - Daisy Pearce
4 - Karen Paxman
3 - Alyssa Mifsud
2 - Elise O'Dea
1 - Lily Mithen

Leaderboard
16 - Daisy Pearce
12 - Karen Paxman
11 - Elise O'Dea
7 - Alyssa Mifsud, Lily Mithen
5 - Cat Phillips
4 - Alyssa Mifsud
2 - Lauren Pearce


How unreal is it that iSelect are making the women's banners? It read As kids AFL was make believe, now we're making kids believe. Dees win. 3-1 for the season.

Was it worth it?
I believe so. The women's game is something I think truly needs to be seen live.

Final thoughts
Demons dominated all stats bar Inside 50s, which are a rubbish stat in the women's game in terms of the long term view. Our women's team were always going to be better than expected, the midfield of Paxman, Pearce and O'Dea all played together at Darebin and Paxman should have been a marquee player. It helps that we've snuck a few players through that I think may have been hidden and/or recommended by the Darebin girls. Daisy is cleary the best player in the competition, but very much helped by a supporting cast.

1 comment: