Ice in the veins
Every kid grows up wanting to kick a match winning goal for their side.
Doing it in your club’s first ever final, with just 25 seconds to go, after trailing for the entire second half – now that’s something else.
Lily Mithen was faced with these circumstances after clunking an impressive overhead mark, and under the utmost pressure, rose to the occasion.
The 22-year-old, who had never kicked a goal in her 23 AFLW games prior to Saturday’s clash with the Giants, slotted her first major in the opening term, before doubling down with the final shot of the game.
Did she earn the GOAT emoji in this tweet? You be the judge.
A difficult equation
While Mithen will take all the credit, and rightfully so, there were some other key plays that guided Melbourne to its three-point Semi Final victory.
For much of the last quarter, the Dees didn’t have a sniff.
When Shelley Scott marked inside 50 with eight minutes to go, her side had just one goal on the board, trailing the Giants by 15 points.
The lead seemed insurmountable, but as the 32-year-old slotted the set shot, a glimmer of hope emerged.
Four minutes ticked by before Sarah Perkins got her moment.
And the top-up player, who isn’t even on the club’s list, stepped up to the plate, putting through a long-range goal to set up a finish to remember.
Dees off their game
By no means did Melbourne play the perfect game of footy.
In fact, for much of the outing, GWS was arguably the better side.
The two teams play different brands of footy, with the Dees winning it at the contest to force the ball forward, and the Giants using their run on the outside to create scoring opportunities.
In a game of momentum, the Demons hit the front at the right time, but it certainly wasn’t a polished four-quarter performance.
The AFLW rules state a side must name a squad of 23 players each week, with 21 girls to take the field.
Yet for Saturday’s game, the Dees had just 20 to choose from.
Injuries have savaged the club in 2020, but this created an opportunity for Perkins to play, as well as some young Demons who received some invaluable experience on the big stage.
And while one third of the squad was forced to watch on at home, they continued to ride every single bump with their teammates.
A finals debut
With openings in the side, Krstel Petrevski got her shot.
And what a time to do so.
After being selected with the club’s final pick in the 2019 AFLW Draft, the 18-year-old made her debut at GIANTS Stadium, receiving her guernsey from captain Daisy Pearce pre-game.
Singing the song with a twist
Social distancing has become very real, which means linking arms to sing the theme song is no longer an option.
Instead, the Dees girls displayed some fine dance moves on the field post-game.
This was Petrevski's moment to shine, impressing in the centre, but it was Eden Zanker who ended up stealing the show (top right of screen).
An abrupt end to 2020
Unfortunately, that spells the end of the 2020 AFLW season.
While Melbourne earned the right to advance to a Preliminary Final and play the Dockers in Perth, that game will no longer take place.
On the back of the COVID-19 crisis, the AFL had to make the difficult decision to conclude the women’s campaign without crowning a winner.