AFLW Round 1 – Melbourne v GWS: A Giant Future

AFLW: Melbourne Demons v GWS Giants


5:05pm 3rd February
Casey Fields, Melbourne


Anna Pavlou


While it wasn’t all rosy for the GWS Giants in their first game of the AFLW season, it sure wasn’t all doom and gloom.


After a dismal inaugural 2017 season, the Giants competed to the best of their ability against a determined Demons side, who were looking for redemption after their shock loss to the Giants that ruled them out of grand final contention last year.


A swaying clash ensued, with dominant periods from the Demons and the Giants throughout the twilight match at Casey Fields on Saturday.


With seven debutantes, including Renee Forth who missed all of the 2017 season with a knee injury, roaring to go at the first bounce, GWS got ahead early, making the most of their opportunities in front of goal.


The Giant’s Phoebe McWilliams kicked the first goal of the game at the 11-minute mark of the first quarter.


A scrappy first quarter saw GWS leading the Demons 12 to 8 at the first break.


While Melbourne were leading contested possessions 34 to 33 and controlling the ball in the middle, they simply couldn’t convert on the scoreboard.


During the second quarter, the Giants shut down the Dees run and carry, forcing them to play heavily contested footy which worked in their favour.


By shutting down Melbourne’s space, the Giants took control of the scoreboard and by halftime, lead 18 to 9.


GWS’s McWilliams was the stand-out player in the first half, ferocious in the forward line, kicking two goals. Gaelic superstar turned AFL footballer Cora Staunton kicked the Giant’s other goal.


The Demons settled their nerves in the second half, outscoring the Giants and regaining control around the footy.


Melbourne’s intensity had risen, led by a ruthless Shelby Scott, who kicked two goals to put the Demons back in touch.


With scores level at 39 apiece with two minutes to play, Richelle ‘Rocky’ Cranston crumbed the ball to kick the match-winner and her third goal of the day. The Demons then held on until the final siren, victors by six-points.


The Dees pressure proved too much for the young Giants in the end, with star on-baller Daisy Pearce outstanding, collecting 19 disposals, including six tackles and four marks after a quiet first half.


Ultimately, the Demons experience willed them over the line.


And while they didn’t take away the four points, the Giants have a lot to be excited about.


Led by captain Amanda Farrugia, with some vital cameos from Erin McKinnon and Jacinda Barclay, the Giants are rising.


Dominant forward Phoebe McWilliams might just win the AFLW goal-kicking this year, with Irish import Cora Staunton alongside.


Coach Alan McConnell was pleased that his team rewarded itself with multiple goals, after a lean 2017.


The GWS Giants are surely building.


And as their banner read as they ran onto Casey Field; season one was historic, but season two will seriously be epic.


Bring it on.


Melbourne 1.2   1.3   4.3   7.3 (45)
GWS            2.0   3.0   5.2   6.3 (39)


Melbourne:  Cranston 3, Scott 2, Cunningham, Hore
GWS Giants: McWilliams 3, Barclay 2, Staunton


Umpires: Gibson, Johansen, Curtis
Crowd: 5,100


VOTES: Cranston (Melbourne) 3, McWilliams (GWS) 2, Pearce (Melbourne) 1


About Anna Pavlou

Anna 'Pav' Pavlou is a current student and a born and bred Melburnian who has a passion for sport and sharing people's stories. She is an intern journalist for AFL VICTORIA and writes for The Roar, the Victorian Amateur Football Association (VAFA Media), the Mongrel Punt and is a Melbourne Cricket Club contributor. She also appears on North West FM 98.9 radio show. Most winter weekends you'll find her down at the Ross Gregory Oval in St Kilda, supporting Power House FC, who play in Division 2 in the VAFA. She works as the Division 2 writer for the VAFA. She completed work experience with 3AW Radio and has been published in The Age as well as with Carlton FC and Geelong Cats. Check out her website below for more sport pieces!


  1. Kasey Symons says

    Great report Anna!

    I thoroughly enjoyed watching this game – Rocky was explosive and McWilliams’ game has really developed. Was a shame to see Paxman go down though, she could have been really damaging hopefully she’s fighting fit for Round 2!

  2. Yvette Wroby says

    Great work Anna. It was a captivating, exciting game and the experience of Melbourne’s seniors steadied the ship. And Daisy Pearce – unbelievably strong. Was an epic game that could have gone either way. GWS are coming!

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