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Melbourne Football Club

AFLW: Round 7 Recap with Lily Mithen


MELBOURNE had its season on the line in Round 7 when it faced the Crows but failed to come up with the four points at Casey Fields.

The Demons headed into the game requiring a 26-point victory to qualify for the Conference A finals, but failed to fire in a tough contest on Saturday afternoon.

Adelaide was too good from the get-go, running all over the Dees and keeping them scoreless for the entire first half.

The Crows were dominant around the centre, continuously pushing the ball forward and blowing the game wide open to take a 53-point lead into three quarter-time.

It took the Demons four quarters to slot a major, with Chantel Emonson kicking her first career goal in the final term to give the red and blue one positive on a disappointing day.

Star midfielder Lily Mithen has been a consistent performer for Melbourne this season, and she recaps the Demons final game of 2019 below.

The numbers

DISPOSALS: O’Dea 21, Cordner 19, Paxman 16, Mithen 16, Gay 15, Downie, Emonson 14

GOALS: Emonson

Midfield battle

“To Adelaide’s credit, they’ve got really strong clearance players in (Erin) Phillips, (Ebony) Marinoff and (Anne) Hatchard, and they beat us around the footy. They beat us in clearances and contested ball which we’ve prided ourselves on all year, so they definitely came away with the upper hand in that.

“It was disappointing that we couldn’t rectify that from the start and have a real presence through the midfield battle. That’s where the game starts and unfortunately we weren’t good enough to win that battle which meant they got a lot of inside 50s and were winning a lot of the footy.”

The benchmark

“They’re a really consistent and well-balanced side. They have competitors all across the ground and rely on 21 players to play their role. In patches we play similar to them, so I think if we had’ve been more consistent we definitely could’ve brought it to them, but unfortunately that wasn’t the case for us.

“In terms of benchmark, they’re probably the best in the competition at the moment. So we will aspire to be somewhat like them but at the same time just go about our business and continue to work on the game style we’ve got over the off-season and hopefully it brings success in 2020.”

Pain of missing out

“It’s obviously very disappointing. It’s not the way we wanted to go out and unfortunately not playing finals is not where we want to be. We wanted to be a real contender this year and we believe we had the side to do so.

“To get knocked out was a bit of a shock to the system I think, so the girls have been pretty disappointed, but we’re just enjoying one another’s company now and we’ll reflect on this.

“It’s not a very positive thing to have hanging over our heads for 12 months but I guess that’s the reality of it.”

The season as a whole

“We’ve come a long way in 12 months and we’ve been building a really strong program for three years. It’s been a successful season in one way, just with how we’ve been able to develop individual players and play a really nice brand of contested footy that relies on teamwork and everyone playing their role, so it’s been really special to be a part of.

“Unfortunately it didn’t end the way we wanted it to, but I am proud of the group and we were led by great coaching staff who have put an enormous amount of effort into the group. I think we will benefit from the learnings this year and take them into the future and make sure we have a strong off-season before ramping up for a big 2020.”

Long off-season

“We’ll have contact with the footy club for the whole off-season. A lot of the girls will play at Casey Fields so we’ll have the same access to a lot of the resources that we currently do. Everyone will get together and stay in contact with the coaching group to make sure everyone is building on their own individual game and aligning it with the game style we’ve got at Melbourne.

“There is still plenty of contact time and everyone will be working hard to build on what we’ve already built, so hopefully we can continuously get better and prepare for next season.”