Four Dees debut
Saturday afternoon was a special one for the Dees, in more ways than one.
Four girls had the opportunity to pull on the red and blue for the first time, before singing the song in the centre of the circle after the thrilling win.
Libby Birch slotted seamlessly into Melbourne’s defensive unit after coming across from the Dogs, while Casey Sherriff, Sinead Goldrick and Gabby Colvin all looked at home in their first game on the AFLW stage.
A special moment for our four debutants. ?— Melbourne AFLW (@MelbourneAFLW) February 8, 2020
Go into the rooms + watch as @LibbyBirch18, Casey Sherriff, @Goldieface + Gabby Colvin are presented with their Melbourne jumpers. ?#GoDees pic.twitter.com/db0FzLO7cY
A wind-affected affair
Casey Fields is renowned for being a wind tunnel, and it lived up to that on the weekend.
The Round 1 hit-out against North Melbourne was controlled by a howling breeze, with just one behind managed at the opposite end of the field.
Although the Dees conceded two majors in the first term, they were competitive in both of their disadvantaged quarters and set themselves up for victory with a strong defensive effort.
Hore’s big quarter
Trailing by 13 points at the first change, Melbourne needed to make the most of the second quarter breeze, and Kate Hore did just that.
The 24-year-old booted consecutive goals to shift the momentum of the game and hand her side the smallest off buffers at half-time.
In the absence of Lauren Pearce, the Dees needed to find a replacement ruck, and Harriet Cordner stuck up her hand.
Cordner, who has been a key defender for Melbourne over the past three seasons, took on the challenge and provided a boost for her side around the ball.
With the margin never exceeding one straight kick in the second half, Cordner was crucial in keeping the Demons in the game.
Taking it in her stride. ??— Melbourne AFLW (@MelbourneAFLW) February 8, 2020
Harriet Cordner was sent into the ruck today + she didn't miss a beat.
Despite heading into the final term with a deficit, the girls had the breeze on their side and knew they could get the job done.
After a few opportunities went begging early, Eden Zanker found herself in space, running onto a well weighted Ainslie Kemp pass to steer her side home.
Zanker’s goal, with just 10 minutes remaining, gave the Demons a lead they could cling to for the remainder of the afternoon.
Saturday’s clash with the Kangas was certainly a physical one.
It was a contested match that saw girls throwing their bodies at the ball, and in a brutal last term, the Dees came out on top.
It was one of the biggest individual build ups to an AFLW game in history, and rightfully so.
Daisy Pearce made a remarkable return to the field after giving birth to twins just 12 months prior, and the skipper didn’t miss a beat.
Playing in a role across half-back, the 32-year-old gathered 12 disposals, but it was her kids, Sylvie and Roy, who stole the show post-game, storming onto the field to enjoy the celebrations.
The Dees are now set for three Friday night games in a row, with the Western Bulldogs their next assignment at Whitten Oval.
Since the inaugural AFL Women’s match in 2013, these two pioneers of the game have developed a rivalry that will be celebrated in Round 2.
The game will also feature Birch's return to her former home where she won a premiership in 2018.