GREATER Western Sydney has pulled off the upset of the NAB AFL Women’s season, all but ending Melbourne’s premiership hopes with a stirring 3.2.(20) to 1.9.(15) win at Blacktown International Sportspark in Sydney.
The previously winless Giants scored just 1.1 after the opening quarter, in which they registered 13 points, but it was enough to pressure the Demons who needed to win to maintain their pursuit of competition front-runners Brisbane and Adelaide.
The Demons were on a three-match winning streak, but their first venture interstate would prove disastrous. Despite a remarkable 29 inside 50s to 13, their tall forwards struggled in the wet conditions against the frantic Giants defence.
Melbourne scored 1.1 in the third quarter to bring the margin back to nine points.
The Demons then peppered the goals in the final term but failed to find the killer blow, and were forced to settle for five behinds.
Jess Dal Pos was a workhorse for the Giants, with 19 disposals and a game-high seven tackles. Karen Paxman and Daisy Pearce each had over 20 touches for Melbourne.
THE INSPIRATION: The foundation of the Giants’ win might have been laid on Tuesday, when men’s team star Phil Davis addressed the team about … well … losing. Davis spoke for 20 minutes about ways to stay focused and positive in the face of tough results. Coach Tim Schmidt said the team’s midweek training sessions were the best they’d had and Davis’ effect carried over against the Demons.
GOT THE JOB DONE: In greasy conditions, against a top-notch midfield, Jess Dal Pos was a standout for the Giants. The former Ivanhoe junior, who was part of the Women’s VFL Premiership-winning Darebin Falcons, wanted a new experience and approached GWS to play in Sydney. She was the key to the Giants’ win, registering 19 touches and a game-high seven tackles against the Demons.
THE MOMENT: In the fifth minute of the third term, with the Demons showing signs of getting back into the match, Rebecca Beeson showed great courage, putting her head over the ball and winning a free kick. She then calmly slotted the goal from 30 metres, opening up a 19-3 lead that was to prove insurmountable.
TRAVEL BLUES: The Demons’ first trip interstate was a tough one and coach Michael Stinear suggested it may have been one of the reasons his side started the game slowly. “But we’re going to need to learn to travel,” he added, “because it’s only going to get bigger in this competition.”
GREATER WESTERN SYDNEY 2.1 2.1 3.1 3.2 (20)
MELBOURNE 0.1 0.3 1.4 1.9 (15)
GWS: Barclay, Schmidt, Beeson
GWS: Dal Pos, Swanson, Collier, Williams, Barclay
Melbourne: Paxman, Pearce, Mithen,
Melbourne: A. Newman (corked)
Umpires: Barr, Garroway, Geddes
Estimated crowd: 2,000
“That one or two spot was in our control, but now we’re back with the pack a little bit. Now we’ve got to wait and see what happens with other results. It’s a brutal competition. You haven’t got too many times to make mistakes. - Melbourne coach Mick Stinear
“I thought our first half, in particular, was absolutely super and we matched them, if not beat them, in the contested area. … We held tough and kept our cool and just got over the line.” - GWS coach Tim Schmidt
The Demons hit the road again to play the league-leading Crows in Adelaide. The Giants also travel, heading to Melbourne to take on Collingwood.