MELBOURNE’S Daisy Pearce could not fault her teammates’ efforts on Saturday night, commending their bravery against Carlton at TIO Traeger Park.
The Demons, who fell 16 points short of the Blues and suffered just their second defeat of the season, were able to maintain their intensity for the majority of the game.
But a mix of missed opportunities and a fierce opposition did them no favours.
“They’re a quality side, Carlton, so we knew we were going to have to be up for a fight,” Pearce told Melbourne Media.
“I thought our effort was there all night, and that didn’t wane, even when Carlton came at us in that second half.
“We probably just missed a few opportunities that maybe would’ve made it a different game, if we had have put a few scores on the board early…but effort-wise, I thought we were right there.
“There’s nothing to be ashamed of in the effort department.”
Beaten by a quality side.— Melbourne AFLW (@MelbourneAFLW) March 14, 2020
Daisy Pearce talks through tonight's loss at TIO Traeger Park. ???? pic.twitter.com/83CSl6lUE2
Despite generating plenty of offensive pressure, Melbourne grappled with its accuracy all night.
The Demons kicked only three goals from its 28 inside-50 entries, with all majors coming in the first half.
But it was Carlton’s third-quarter dominance that ultimately became the deciding factor.
“There were in-game and in-quarter momentum swings it felt like,” Pearce said.
“We were probably on top of them in the first half and [in] the third quarter, they really came out and threw everything at us.
“We were under pressure for a long period in that third quarter. We weathered a bit of that storm, considering how many inside-50s they were getting.
“It’s credit to them. They’re a quality side [who then] just had a lot of power and run in that last quarter that we couldn’t really go with.
“I thought we were brave – we took the game on during that last quarter and tried to generate opportunities to get us back in the game, but they were just too good on the night.”
To rub salt into the wound, the Demons also added to their injury list, with Sinead Goldrick and Sarah Lampard helped from the ground.
Irish recruit Goldrick, who has provided a burst of energy for the Dees this season, was ruled out in the second term with quad soreness, while defender Lampard was stretched off in the third quarter with what looked to be a serious knee concern.
“It’s always no good to see your teammates go down and we’re crossing our fingers that it’s nothing major,” Pearce said.
“I think Goldy’s (Goldrick) was just a bad corky that she just couldn’t get going, despite trying her best.
“She’s a real competitor, so she wanted to be back out there, but it was just too sore – hopefully it’s nothing more than that.
“Lampy (Lampard), she’s hoping it’s just a hyperextension and not too bad, but you never know, so we’ll just keep our fingers crossed.”
Melbourne will now quickly regroup and shift its attention to Round 7 in the west.
The Demons are set to take on Fremantle next Sunday, in a match they are anticipating to be just as competitive.
“[Fremantle are] another good, quality side,” Pearce said.
“They play really fast, direct footy. Their pressure’s enormous.
“[Our focus will be] trying to tweak a few things that went wrong tonight, to get better at them and go again.”