IF THERE is ever a time to kick your first career goal, a final is it.
Add to that a second major, to put your team in front with 25 seconds to spare, and you have got yourself a pretty good story.
Melbourne midfielder Lily Mithen can now add such tale to her name.
Having never slotted a goal in her 24 AFL Women’s career games, she picked Saturday afternoon’s Semi Final clash against the GWS GIANTS to make her mark.
The 22-year-old struck gold in the second quarter at GIANTS Stadium, sending her set-shot goal home, before kicking a fourth-quarter winner.
And she was pretty excited by her efforts.
“I think everyone’s worried about the size of my head at this stage,” Mithen told Melbourne Media.
“To never have kicked one and then to get a couple today – it’s a nice feeling.
“It’s a bit of weird one, because we only just snuck away with the win – we definitely didn’t play our best footy but that’s what finals throw up.
“I guess we just held on late and just a little bit longer than GWS. They were a super side today but we’re just very grateful that we could put some good footy together towards the end.”
The Demons battled against the Giants on their home deck, finding themselves 14 points down at the final change.
Three goals were required, and with everything on the line, the word from the coach was clear.
“The message [was], ‘it’s now or never’,” Mithen said.
“Our processes were going okay, but not great. We were just lacking a bit of energy.
“We’re all responsible for our own energy so it was just a matter of everyone stepping up and doing the little things a little bit better.
“We started to connect a little bit better inside 50 and kicked a couple late.”
It has been a whirlwind of a week for the Dees, who have never featured in an AFL Women’s Finals Series before.
The pioneers of the competition have narrowly missed out in recent years, making this one all the more special.
“It’s crazy,” Mithen said.
“It’s pretty well-documented the last few years we’ve just missed out and to sneak in in this fashion, where the world has gone a bit crazy…and there’s lots of things going on.
“Even the fact that we’re playing footy – it’s a privilege to play the sport we love.
“Lots of people are losing jobs and what not, so we know we’re in a really privileged position at the moment to be playing footy.
“To be here from the beginning and to be able to play in a final today is super exciting.
“It’s what we’ve been working towards and hopefully it’s just the beginning of a great couple of weeks.”
Melbourne will now take on Fremantle in a Preliminary Final, with details of the fixture still to be confirmed.