AFLW Round 1 – Melbourne v GWS: Getting voted off Demon Island

Melbourne v Greater Western Sydney

5.05pm, Saturday 3 February 2018

Casey Fields, Cranbourne

By Joseph Ryan


My Demon-supporting mates aren’t very happy with me at the moment.  As readers of last year’s Women’s Footy Almanac will recall, I’ve adopted the GWS Giants in the AFLW.  Why?  Well, a friend of ours, Phoebe McWilliams, is playing for them.  She won the Giants leading Goalkicker Award in 2017 and is back for more in 2018.


Why is this a problem?  Well, I’m a lifelong Demons supporter.  Nobody cared that we were backing our friend last year at the Giants games in Melbourne against Carlton and Collingwood.  It’s easy for Melbourne supporters to adopt anyone against those teams!  But when the Giants knocked off Melbourne on a rainy Friday night in Blacktown in 2017, I was on my couch in sunny Melbourne, alone, where none of my friends could see me cheering against the Demons.  I got away with it then.


The gang’s all here!


That wasn’t the case on Saturday!  My wife and I donned our Orange jumpers and headed to Casey Fields, meeting friends I have previously accompanied to the MCG to watch the Melbourne Men.  I posted pics of our little group on social media and tweeted my reactions to the game.  A Dees fan responded by asking all of his followers “Should we vote Joe off Demon Island? Y/Y”.  This was not being received well!


Both teams had made significant recruiting moves over the off season and I was keen to see the impact.  The Dees had plenty of the ball early but a Giants fast break led to the opening goal (and at the end we were seated at so we got a good view!).  The Dees replied through Paxman who had been involved in everything during the first quarter before an injury, before new Irish hero Cora Staunton goaled to give the Giants the quarter time lead.  Her around-the-corner style of set shot kicking learned from her years of Gaelic Football success certainly stood out from the rest!


With the Demons kicking with the wind in the second quarter they were favourites to reclaim the lead, but the Giants scored first through a goal to our favourite, McWilliams.  I jumped up and yelled “GO GIANTS” pointing to the #3 on my back.  My mate Cat, who has come with me to Dees men’s games for at least 15 years, berates me and says “It’s SOOOO weird you’re going for a different team!”


Meeting a footy at the footy…


You couldn’t help but laugh when the Dees fireworks guy let off some explosions for a point which brushed the inside of the goal post.  As if daytime fireworks weren’t already inadequate, mistakenly celebrating a point was even worse!  The Giants were up by 9 at the half having repelled the Dees attacks with the wind.  But after the half the Dees clicked into gear.  Three goals in a row gave them the lead.  The Giants scored a couple of late goals to reclaim the lead going into the final break but once again it was a question of whether the defence would hold up as the Dees had the wind advantage.


The final quarter was a tense affair.  Despite ruck McKinnon’s efforts playing loose in defence and moving more like a rover than a ruck, the Premiership Favourite Demons seemed to be asserting themselves, with Pearce in particular finally breaking Tully’s tag and setting up teammates.  Cranston scored to put the Demons in front and then another goal forced the lead out to 7.  A behind to the Giants brought it back within a kick and the game was not lost.  We squinted to see what was going on at the other end of the ground as the Giants tried to break through.  Then a whistle.  What was that for?  It was a free kick to the Giants!  Right in front!


A player emerges with the ball – it was no.3 – Phoebe had a kick to level the scores! She made no mistake (well, it didn’t come off the boot well, narrowly sneaking in past the point post, but it was a goal all the same!  You can call me biased but she played a ripping game and I’m giving her my votes!).


Could the Giants hold on?  The ball returned to our end of the ground and the Dees messed up a couple of chances to take a shot.  Enter Richelle “Rocky” Cranston, who takes the ball from a stoppage and kicks at the goals from an angle.  We were side on to the goals and the Goal Umpire’s reaction and slow walk to between the goal posts was a death march for us and a cause for celebration for the Red and Blue.  It was almost like the Dees were deserving winners but the giants didn’t deserve to lose.



The Cranston fan club.


The Dees took their time but switched into gear at the end of the game.  The Giants showed plenty of promise and attacking flair which will hopefully attract a few spectators to their first Sydney based game on Friday.  My disappointment at the end of the game showed that I am truly on the Orange bandwagon and I’m really looking forward to seeing how far they can step up this season.


To the Melbourne based Giants crew, we’ll see you in two weeks for the game against Collingwood.  I’m sure my Demon supporting mates won’t mind that I’m cheering for the orange team that day!


And Dees fans, I’ll see you in Men’s round 1…


Or in the AFLW Grand Final?


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, Hore, Cunningham 1.

GWS: McWilliams 3, Barclay 2, Staunton 1


Melbourne:  Cranston, Pearce, O’Dea

GWS:  McWilliams, Barclay, Farrugia.


Melbourne:  Paxman (back)

GWS: Nil

Reports: Nil


Umpires: Gibson, Johansen, Curtis

Official crowd: 5100 at Casey Fields

Votes: Cranston (MEL) 3, McWilliams (GWS) 2, Pearce (MEL) 1.

About Joseph Ryan

Lawyer, amateur sportsman, and full-time sports-watcher. Follows Melbourne Demons and Melbourne Storm and is trying to be better at golf.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Great work Orange man. Love the tension and it was a terrific game.

  2. Kasey Symons says

    Excellent write up Joseph – love your tale of the complication of supporting a different AFLW team than your AFLM team, but what a player to change your allegiances for – McWilliams is a star!

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