24/04/2024

The Demons came so close to AFLW glory in 2022 (Photo: Melbourne/Graphic: Will Cuckson)

The Demons lived up to the hype this season however, unlike the men’s side, they stumbled at the final hurdle.

The Demons lived up to the hype this season however, unlike the men’s side, they stumbled at the final hurdle.

Finishing Position: 2nd (Nine wins, One loss)

What worked?

There were plenty of positives for the Demons this year, with one being their deadly accuracy in front of the big sticks.

Melbourne kicked the second most goals in 2022 (74), but they also converted nearly half their chances and only kicked 75 behinds.

Their attacking style on the run was also enthralling at it’s best, with the Dees scoring the second most points in the home and away season (470, 47 per game).

They also had plenty of possession in most games, averaging the third most disposals per game (234.5) behind only the Kangaroos and the Blues.

What didn’t?

Not a whole lot went wrong for Melbourne this year, however they would consider themselves unlucky to have faced the Crows twice this year, once in Round 4 and then on the final day of the season.

On both occasions they faced them at their Norwood Oval fortress and at Adelaide Oval on Grand Final Day. Despite playing them over in SA on both occasions they still put up great fights and only went down by 14 and 13 points respectively.

When they did face Adelaide they exposed their weaknesses, unlike against other eventual finalists, and didn’t allow them to keep that running attacking style going for the entire match.

Who impressed?

Several Demons players impressed this year, including the returning Tayla Harris in her first full season in red and blue.

The star forward was awarded a place in the All-Australian side at full forward after kicking a career-high 18 goals this year. She also averaged a league-high two contested marks per game as well as 3.3 marks, 3.8 score involvements and 8.1 disposals per game.

Daisy Pearce continues to age like a fine wine. This past season though she excelled in a new role as Harris’ partner in crime up forward.

Also named at a half-forward flank in the All-Australian side and winning the Demons Best and Fairest, Pearce kicked 13 goals and also averaged 10.8 disposals and 3.8 score involvements per game.

The other Pearce (Lauren) was also named at ruck in the AA side after a career season, averaging 13.5 hitouts, 13.1 disposals, 5.1 clearances (team-high), and 10 contested possessions per game.

And another of their experienced stars Libby Birch was named at full back in the AA side after a strong showing last season. She averaged 5.9 intercepts (team-high), 12.1 disposals, 77.9 per cent disposal efficiency, 165.7 metres gained and 3.1 marks per game.

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Highs and lows

One of the greatest highlights not just for the club, but for the AFLW, came when Melbourne became the first side to break the 100-point barrier against the Dockers at Optus Stadium.

The Dees piled on 16 goals on the day, with Daisy Pearce being the leading goalkicker on the day with five (only two off Brooke Lochland’s record of seven).

A couple of weeks later they also were one of the first sides to play on the MCG in their preliminary final vs Brisbane, going on to win by four points and book a spot in the Grand Final.

In what was their first ever AFLW Grand Final, it ended in disappointment for them as they went down to Adelaide once more in front of 16,000 at Adelaide Oval.

Who’s on the move?

Again it’s been a rather quiet start to the offseason so far for the Demons. However it’s recently been reported that youngster Brenna Tarrant is set to request a trade to expansion club Sydney.

Despite rumours of potentially retiring as a player throughout the season, Daisy Pearce has decided to stay on for next season.

What’s next?

Next season is yet another chance for the Demons to push for that elusive AFLW premiership.

It’s a list chock-full of talent led by those All-Australian players and including others such as Kate Hore, Sarah Lampard, Karen Paxman, Tyla Hanks, Eden Zanker plus plenty more.

Whilst they might lose Tarrant it is still a side that can take it up to each team week in and week out and challenge for a premiership.

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