AFLW: Melbourne Demons vs GWS Giants
5:05pm 3rd February
Casey Fields, Melbourne
It’s Saturday night and I’m dressed up, but not for the footy.
The first party of Year 11 is scheduled tonight, kicking off the start of our two year VCE journey.
I’m torn. This is Round 1 of the AFLW competition and I’m wanting to be in two places at once.
I arrive, presents in hand, surrounded by everyone I love, but I’m eager to watch the Melbourne vs Giants twilight match that’s about to start at Casey Fields.
My mind switches to the game.
The Giants are ready to compete to the best of their ability against a determined Demons side, who are looking for redemption after their shock loss to the Giants that ruled them out of grand final contention last year.
Back at the party, we’re settling in for a long night; dancing, singing and just having fun, but I’ve slipped out.
I’ve emerged upstairs in the study, with the Foxtel remote gripped in my hand, tighter than my phone.
I tell myself that I’ll ‘only watch for five minutes’…
With seven debutants, including Renee Forth who missed all of the 2017 season with a knee injury, roaring to go at the first bounce, GWS get ahead early, making the most of their opportunities in front of goal.
The Giant’s Phoebe McWilliams kicks the first goal of the game at the 11-minute mark of the first quarter.
A scrappy first quarter sees GWS leading the Demons 12 to 8 at the first break.
While Melbourne were leading contested possessions 34 to 33 and controlling the ball in the middle, they simply couldn’t convert on the scoreboard.
I’ve analysed what I can, so I allow myself to become aware of my surroundings once more.
I can hear distinct voicing chanting Eminem’s ‘Lose Yourself’ and I think, ‘man, I really should be down there,’ but in a matter of seconds I am fixated on the sunset and the clash of the red and blue and grey and orange once more.
During the second quarter, the Giants shut down the Dees run and carry, forcing them to play heavily contested footy which works n their favour.
By shutting down Melbourne’s space, the Giants take control of the scoreboard and by halftime, lead 18 to 9.
GWS’ McWilliams was the stand-out player in the first half, ferocious in the forward line, kicking two goals. Gaelic superstar turned AFL footballer Cora Staunton kicked the Giant’s other goal.
I decide that it’s time to head downstairs back to the party. I’m in need of a halftime snack.
Luckily enough, I get my hands on the pizza and chat with the gang before slowly making my way upstairs again.
No one will notice, right?
Meanwhile, the Demons settle their nerves in the second half, outscoring the Giants and regaining control around the footy.
Melbourne’s intensity had risen, led by a ruthless Shelby Scott, who kicked two goals to put the Demons back in touch.
With scores level at 39 apiece with two minutes to play, Richelle ‘Rocky’ Cranston crumbs the ball to kick the match-winner and her third goal of the day. The Demons are going to hold on after all.
Melbourne played truly and took the win, by a mere six points.
The Dees pressure proved too much for the young Giants in the end, with star on-baller Daisy Pearce outstanding, collecting 19 disposals, including six tackles and four marks after a quiet first half.
Ultimately, the Demons experience willed them over the line.
And while they didn’t take away the four points, the Giants have a lot to be excited about.
Lead by captain Amanda Farrugia, with some vital cameos from Erin McKinnon and Jacinda Barclay, the Giants are rising.
Dominant forward Phoebe McWilliams might just win the AFLW goal kicking this year, with Irish import Cora Staunton alongside.
The GWS Giants are surely building and growing closer as time passes.
And I look around to see that my team are building too.
And while VCE will take a lot out of us, we’ve sure got a giant future to look forward to, together.
Melbourne 1.2 1.3 4.3 7.3 (45)
GWS 2.0 3.0 5.2 6.3 (39)
Melbourne: Cranston 3, Scott 2, Cunningham, Hore
GWS Giants: McWilliams 3, Barclay 2, Staunton
Umpires: Gibson, Johansen, Curtis
VOTES: Cranston (Melbourne) 3, McWilliams (GWS) 2, Pearce (Melbourne) 1