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O’Dea ready for next big day out

Matt Burgan  March 12, 2018 12:06 AM

Hopefully we’ll take that momentum into next week and really prepare well for the Bulldogs, because they’re going to be a big force

ELISE O’Dea says the Demons are ready for their final home and away match of the season, with a spot in this year’s AFLW Grand Final now on the line.

O’Dea, who was brilliant in Melbourne’s 35-point win over Carlton at Ikon Park on Sunday, said attention would quickly turn to next Saturday night’s clash against the Western Bulldogs at VU Whitten Oval – given what’s on offer.

The scenario is simple for the red and blue: win and it will play in the 2018 AFLW Grand Final.

If the Demons lose, they must rely on GWS Giants and Adelaide Crows to lose, plus hope that the Brisbane Lions don’t overtake them on percentage.

So, really, a win is all that matters for Melbourne next week.

But the almost six-goal win over the Blues was a big confidence builder for the Dees, entering what shapes as a cracking encounter against the Dogs.

“It’s really good. Hopefully we’ll take that momentum into next week and really prepare well for the Bulldogs, because they’re going to be a big force,” O’Dea told melbournefc.com.au.

“It’s a massive danger game, but it was a terrific team win today and we’re looking forward to next week.”

O’Dea had a scintillating first term, winning 11 disposals and kicking three goals.

But she was humble in assessing her blistering start, which was pivotal in setting up Melbourne’s fourth win of the season.  

“It was a great team effort. We were really on from the start and we managed to kick goals early, whereas early in the season we might’ve kicked 2.5 … but it was nice to kick five or six goals straight and really put the scoreboard pressure on from the start,” she said.

“[My game] was good, but I just played my role. I found myself free and the girls looked for me and I managed to slot a few early, which was always good for a confidence boost,” she said.

“I was rapt to be able to convert and contribute, which was good.”

O’Dea was full of admiration for teammate Tegan Cunningham, who also booted three goals and fought back from a nasty head knock last week to be one of Melbourne’s best in round six.

“I think she’s terrific, because she just keeps leading up and making a contest – no matter what. It doesn’t matter if the ball comes in low or high – she manages to get her arm through and compete,” she said.

“It’s just so important, because then we can have our small forwards running onto it and creating scoring opportunities.

“She’s just really gutsy, especially after she copped that knock to her face last week. To then come out and throw herself at the ball all day – she’s just a terrific teammate.”

O’Dea also had her fingers crossed that teammate Mel Hickey (knee) would gain the best possible news and not have an anterior cruciate ligament injury, after she suffered the injury in the third term against the Blues.  

“I definitely hope Mel’s all right – that’s a bit of a worry, because you never want to see ice on the knee,” she said.

“You know Mel’s so tough, so when you see her limping off and grimacing in pain – it’s a worry.”