28/02/2024

Lily Mithen, Kate Hore, and Daisy Pearce celebrate the Demons' win against North Melbourne in Round 8 last season. (Image: Melbourne AFLW/Twitter; Design: Will Cuckson)

Coming away from a loss in its first ever Grand Final, Melbourne will be looking to go one step further in season seven of the AFLW competition by securing its first premiership.

Last season:

Second (Nine wins, one loss)

It was a strong season overall for the Demons, securing their first ever AFLW Grand Final appearance, although falling short in the end. Their only loss in the home and away season came against the Crows, who they also eventually lost to in the big dance.

This could very well light a fire underneath them when it comes to season seven, with a desire to come out on top in what is the biggest AFLW season to date.

Melbourne worked really well as a unit last season, with seven players making the All-Australian initial squad of 40, and captain Daisy Pearce was at the forefront.

The 34-year-old picked up her third best and fairest award for the club in a brilliant season, and will be hoping to lead her team to a premiership win as she enters the later stages of her footballing career.

What to look forward to:

With a strong and experienced core group of players, there is no reason that the Demons can’t fight for premiership glory once again this season.

Many other AFLW sides were picked apart in the sign and trade period, so Melbourne would be happy with how it managed to keep the majority of its Grand Final side together for season seven.

That consistency will hold the Dees in good stead when the season heats up, and they should hope to claim a top four spot once again.

As always, their All-Australian veterans will be extremely important, with the aforementioned Pearce winning her third best and fairest, Tayla Harris finishing equal second in the goalkicking chart, Libby Birch being as influential as ever down back, and Lauren Pearce having a stellar season in the ruck.

Aside from these four, Tyla Hanks, Shelley Heath, and Kate Hore each finished in the initial squad of 40, after solid seasons. They will all be hoping to carry their form into season seven, and give Melbourne its best shot at premiership glory.

Biggest unanswered question:

There are zero questions when it comes to personnel for the Demons, as it’s clear their list has what it takes to compete with the best sides in the competition. However, the only question for the club now given the way last season ended for them is, can they get the job done when it counts?

As previously stated, Adelaide was the only team they lost to last season. The Dees know they can cut it against every other team in the league at the very least, and will be hoping to exact some revenge on the Crows in Round 1.

After that point, if they make it all the way again only to fall at the final hurdle it would be terribly frustrating.

Melbourne will definitely be keen to come out swinging, and try and find an answer to this question come season’s end.

It’s a big year for:

Moving across from Carlton, Charlotte Wilson could be an extremely important piece in Melbourne’s backline this season.

The 21-year-old was highly rated by Carlton fans, who were sad to see her leave the club. While she only played three games last season, Wilson has still been developing really well and will look to continue this development at the Demons by attempting to break into a very strong best 21.

With the ACL injury suffered by Gabby Colvin that will see her miss the entire season, and the loss of Brenna Tarrant to the Sydney Swans, there is a place that needs to be filled in defence.

Wilson has a strong case to claim that spot, possessing all the qualities that could see her become a dominant defender in the very near future.

More AFLW Season Previews:

AFLW Season Seven Preview: Brisbane Lions

AFLW Season Seven Preview: North Melbourne Tasmanian Kangaroos

AFLW Season Seven Preview: Fremantle Dockers

Fixture highlights:

Look no further than the first round of the season to find the highlight of Melbourne’s AFLW fixture for season seven. The Grand Final rematch against Adelaide will set the tone for the year, with the Crows looking to replicate their victory from the final day of last season.

However, the Demons will come out firing, and a win in Round 1 would give them some huge momentum moving forward given the Crows were the only team in the league to beat them last season.

As always, Melbourne’s clash with the Western Bulldogs in Round 7 will definitely be one to watch. The two original clubs of the competition have forged quite a significant rivalry over the last few years.

The Hampson-Hardeman Cup has become a notable fixture in the AFLW season, however it has never taken place at Casey Fields. You would imagine that the Demons will come out firing at home and it will be a great contest between the two sides, as always.

Full fixture:

R1: vs. Adelaide, August 26 (Norwood Oval) 

R2: vs. North Melbourne, September 2 (ETU Stadium)

R3: vs. St Kilda, September 11 (RSEA Park)

R4: vs. Brisbane, September 18 (Casey Fields)

R5: vs. Carlton, September 23 (IKON Park)

R6: vs. Fremantle, October 2 (Fremantle Oval)

R7: vs. Western Bulldogs, October 9 (Casey Fields)

R8: vs. Gold Coast, October 15 (Metricon Stadium)

R9: vs. Essendon, October 23 (Casey Fields)

R10: vs. West Coast, TBC (Casey Fields)

Ins/Outs:

Ins: Charlotte Wilson (Carlton), Jordan Ivey (Geelong), Rhiannon Watt (St Kilda), Maeve Chaplin (Casey VFLW), Samantha Johnson (Casey VFLW), Georgia Gall (Melbourne Stars).

Outs: Lauren Magee (stepping away), Jackie Parry (Geelong), Krstel Petrevski (West Coast), Shelley Scott (Geelong), Issy Simmons (West Coast), Brenna Tarrant (Sydney)

Inactive: Eliza McNamara (Back), Gabby Colvin (ACL), Rhiannon Watt (ACL)

Predicted Round 1 Line-up:

Ladder range:

First-fourth

After such a successful season last year, and with most of the Grand Final squad staying on board, it’s hard to see Melbourne falling away any time soon. The Dees’ premiership window is well and truly open, and they will be itching to finally complete their climb to the top of the AFLW mountain.

With last year’s Grand Final being the Demons’ first, they now know what it takes to get there. Not to mention, the loss will motivate them even more. Time will only tell if they can make it once again, but the pieces are certainly in place.

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