26/05/2024

Alyssa Bannan celebrates one of her two goals. (Photo: Womens.afl)

The Melbourne Demons have secured a place in the preliminary final after they used their speed to their advantage to come away with a 21-point win over Adelaide Crows.

The Demons were on the back foot early, with the Crows getting off to a strong start in the opening quarter, kicking three goals to the Demons’ zero. The Crows were able to stop the Demons’ handball game and get the ball out of the middle, sending it straight inside 50.

Melbourne came out of the first break with a point to prove, turning the game on its head winning the territory and putting pressure on Adelaide’s defence.

With Melbourne’s dominance inside its forward 50, it allowed its midfielders and defenders to push up the ground, any time Adelaide attempted to exit its defensive 50. 

Transition out of the Demons’ defensive 50 was made to look easy with the likes of Alyssa Bannan providing that outside run. Bannan was instrumental in the Demons’ comeback, able to use her speed to her advantage.

Bannan finished the game with nine disposals and was able to hit the scoreboard, kicking two goals.

Melbourne coach Mick Stinear was pleased with the way his side was able to get back into the game after a disappointing first quarter.

“It was really pleasing in the end,” Stinear said post-match.

“Adelaide is a really strong side and it brought its best around the contest and just overwhelmed us. It was pleasing at quarter time, the players were a little setback, it was a bit of a sharpen up but they weren’t panicked, we sort of knew it was going to take to get back into the game.

“Probably didn’t expect it to turn around so quickly in the second quarter but to come in at halftime and have addressed that part of our contest game, our backs just took a chance to settle and get some more time in our forward half that was really pleasing.

“To grind out the whole game and not give them an opportunity to come back in, they kicked one goal after quarter time. [I’m] really pleased with the group’s effort, tough physical game and I think we take a lot out of it, after quarter time but that quarter time lesson will be a good one. I reckon it’ll come in handy in the coming weeks.”

More AFLW News

‘It’s always really good to match up on the best’: Monique Conti on the battle against the Lions

‘I’ll be their number one supporter’: Zimmorlei Farquharson on her finals availability

Melbourne’s backline a Dee-light in season seven

Another player who had a strong game for the Demons was Sarah Lampard, who was instrumental on the wing, setting up plays from out of the defensive 50.

Lampard finished the game with 16 disposals and kicked two important goals to send her side to a preliminary final.

“Big smiles after the game, she’s [Lampard] been huge for us the season. Her ability to play halfback and wing, just [provides] that flexibility,” Stinear said.

“Shelly Heath started inside then we made a decision at quarter time to move her down back just to give us a bit more leg speed and that allowed ‘Lampy’ [Lampard] to play on the wing and Lily Mithen to go back inside.

“Her flexibility has been brilliant, she’s been working on her game for seven seasons now and you get to see what she’s capable of. [I] loved her efforts and her ability to finish, we were a bit wayward early so it was good that she took her moments.”

Despite being able to limit Melbourne’s run in the opening quarter, Adelaide wasn’t able to do it for the rest of the game, with coach Matthew Clarke saying that Melbourne had the better game after quarter time.

“We couldn’t have been happier with the first quarter, but in the end, Melbourne responded really strongly,” Clarke said.

“We were able to shut down that outside band a little bit in the first quarter, but after quarter-time, they were able to release it to their runners. They had the better of the game from then on.”

Despite a disappointing second quarter, a goal from Ash Woodland in the third quarter saw the Crows slice the margin back to three points. With the margin sitting at four points going into the main break, Clarke said despite a display from the Demons, they were still in the match until the last quarter.

“They played a great game, in some respects after quarter time it was better than their round one performance. We thought we were well in the fight up until three-quarter time, even though they clearly won the second and third quarters we were still well in it,” he said.

“They finished strong and ultimately deserve the win.”

Melbourne will have the week off before facing either Brisbane, Richmond, North Melbourne or Geelong for a place in the Grand Final. While Adelaide will face off against the winner of the elimination final between Collingwood and the Bulldogs to keep its season alive.

Subscribe to our newsletter!

About Author

Leave a Reply