So close yet so far. It’s been the story the whole time for the Demons in the five previous AFLW seasons and one that Kate Hore is too familiar with.
Last year they fell to Adelaide in the Preliminary Final. Twice before they finished just outside the qualifying positions for the Grand Final when only the top two placed sides went through for the one-off Grand Finals in the first two years of competition.
This is why when the final siren rang out at the MCG and Melbourne had finally broken through to their first AFLW Grand Final. The oldest football club in the land had finally earned the chance to play off for football’s newest prize.
Speaking exclusively to The Inner Sanctum, Hore described the feeling as relief. Relief for herself and relief for the entire Melbourne group that has been together from the start.
” We’ve all been playing together for a number of years now. And I think over those years, we’ve we really have grown as a group and we’ve learned a lot of lessons,” she said
“We’ve been close before, but we’ve never actually got to this grand final week. So to finally get there it’s a big relief.
“Very exciting for our club”Embed from Getty Images
Hore has been at and with the Demons for two out of the three near misses.
The 27-year-old goal sneak hasn’t missed a game for Melbourne since she was signed as a rookie ahead of the 2018 season.
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While Hore is no stranger to stealing the headlines and the limelight herself with some of her own freakish ability on the football field (having taken out the goal of the year in 2020), she only has to look either side of her to marvel and have “the best seat in the house” to watch two of the competitions greats in Tayla Harris and Daisy Pearce work together in the forward line with her.
“I feel like I have front row seats to the best show in the business” Hore said
” Every time I play with her (Harris) I just have a smile on my face because she’s just an incredible athlete to watch and to play alongside as well.
“Playing footy with Dais is incredible. She’s just an amazing leader. She inspires all of us every day. It’s awesome to bounce ideas off her all the time. I learn a lot from her”
Getting back to the stage of playing off in the Grand Final hasn’t come without its challenges for the Demons. Not only two seasons ago after a couple of seasons missing finals, saw the club reset its list management strategy and acquire young talent through the draft.
After making the Preliminary Final in 2021 and adding Harris and Olivia Purcell through the last trade period, Hore believes that the current Melbourne playing group is as well placed and developed as any to follow the feat of the Melbourne men’s side and bring home the Premiership.
“We’ve obviously added some really nice players to our group this year, which have added really good dynamics and skills,” she said
“Tayla (Harris), Westie (Eliza West), Liv (Olivia Purcell), and then just getting another year of development in some of our young girls like Alyssa Bannan and Eliza McNamara. “
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