AFLW Round 2 – Melbourne v Adelaide: Crows on the Canvas


Melbourne v Adelaide

2.10pm, Saturday 10th of February
Casey Fields, Cranbourne, Victoria

Ron Barton



Unlike 41,975 other Western Australians, I’m not heading to the Freo-Collingwood game at the new stadium. I’m also not jumping on the bus for my own Masters footy club (think Auskick for old farts) and their preseason bonding session/pub crawl.


Instead, I find myself parenting. I won’t call it babysitting, as others do, because they’re my own children after all. My wife is off on a night out with friends, so it’s the kids and I crowded around my iPad watching my beloved Crows take on the Melbourne Demons.


We’ve had a poor start to the season. I can cop the preseason loss to Freo (we did the same thing last year and look where that got us) but the loss to Brisbane was poor. The two goal margin flattered us; we were held scoreless for three quarters.


So, what I’m hoping for today is some fight. But I’m nervous. Maybe it’s the presence of Daisy Pearce, who is the most recognisable face in women’s football, but I see the Dees as the powerhouse club of AFLW. There’s that aura about them – one that suggests that they won’t tolerate a lack of success. They were unlucky last year, finishing with the same win-loss ratio as Adelaide and they look the real deal in 2018.


The siren sounds and the scrap I’m looking for is glaringly absent as Melbourne begin with an immediate clearance and a shot at goal.


It seems to take the Adelaide players at least five minutes to realise the game has actually started and they’re already on the back foot. The defenders are under the pump and up the field they’re rushing their kicks and turning the ball over.


Melbourne, on the other hand, are composed and controlling the game. Karen Paxman is on fire early but the highlight (for the Dees fans or impartial observers among us!) is Aliesha Newman’s running goal. It’s a remarkable achievement and an early contender for goal of the year.


It seems to wake the Adelaide players and, with five minutes to go, the Crows are pressing but they can’t capitalise until “Tex” Perkins’ crumbing kick falls into the lap of Abbey Holmes. A 50 metre penalty to Dayna Cox provides another opportunity but it’s a wasted forward entry for Adelaide.


When the siren sounds, Melbourne is again pressing and the one point margin flatters the Crows.


I make a coffee at quarter time but when I return to the iPad I’m the only one still watching the game.


The second quarter starts in the same way as the first, although it’s not as clean. Still, it’s Melbourne attacking and the Crows players lumbering behind. The Demons are breaking tackles and dishing off releasing handballs – it would be beautiful to watch if I wasn’t tearing my hair out.


The commentators mention a few basketballers and, seconds later, Melbourne cherry pick their way to a goal. A ludicrously high tackle leads to another Melbourne goal, this time through Richelle Cranston. Then, through the brilliance and persistence of Alyssa Mifsud, The Demons score their fourth.


It seems all doom and gloom but then Adelaide scores their second goal and it’s just as miraculous as their first. Lady Luck might just be on our side. Without Phillips and Cramey we need her. Noticeably, we’re missing Phillips’ leadership, class and energy – which Melbourne seem to have in spades. The Crows were blessed last year but they’ve started this year with players missing and others under injury clouds and/or with limited training.


Melbourne are 20 points up at half time.


It’s déjà vu all over again at the start of the third. Melbourne work harder for the clearance this time but they’re rewarded with a goal from a long kick by Melissa Hickey.


Melbourne appear buoyed by their efforts into the wind during the second quarter and have started the third in a flurry.


Co-captain Chelsea Randall is trying to rally the troops from half back but it’s half forward where the Crows appear to be falling down. It’s not just that the Crows aren’t kicking goals, they’re not scoring at all.


Half way through the third and it’s a stalemate but Melbourne don’t really need to do much from here. Adelaide manage to score, maintaining their goal a quarter record, but the Dees push their lead out to 28 points.


In women’s footy, a margin of this size at this point in the game is pretty much insurmountable. Again, all I’m looking for is some effort and energy and, initially at least, it appears I’ve got it. Adelaide actually break the trend of the first three quarters but only in part. Despite the opening clearance, they still can’t clear half forward.


Melbourne are playing in front all over the ground and when Bianca Jakobsson takes a juggling mark while lying down I know that Lady Luck has swapped jumpers – she’s obviously been watching too many EJ Whitten Legends Games with comedian Russell Gilbert.


Paxman appears to be done for the day and, with only 7 mins to play, the question is whether she can hold on to the three votes. She can’t.


Jakobsson takes a wonderful pack mark and, when she lands, she’s got the ball and Paxman’s votes in her hands.


With one minute left, Adelaide manage to score so at least there’s been no scoreless quarters this week. I don’t think coach Bec Goddard will be happy with 16 scoring shots to 4, however. I’m not.


Melbourne finish a 32 point win but it’s more than that, it’s a statement to the competition.


Melbourne       1.1       5.2       7.4       8.8       (56)

Adelaide          1.0       2.0       3.0       4.0       (24)


Melbourne: Cunningham, Newman 2; Scott, Cranston, L. Pearce, Hickey.
Adelaide: McCormick, Hewett, Holmes, Wallace.


Melbourne: Paxman, Jakobsson, Hore, D. Pearce, Cunningham.
Adelaide: Randall, Cox, Marinoff.

UMPIRES         Gibson, McGinness, Heffernan.         CROWD 3,800

OUR VOTES     Jakobsson (Melb) 3, Paxman (Melb) 2, Cunningham (Melb) 1.



About Ron Barton

Published poet, blogger and teacher - Ron Barton works with words.


  1. Yvette Wroby says

    Nice report Ron, covers the game nicely. It was very unlike ‘Adelaide’ and it is like the spine of the team has gone and they are all wobbly bits. One of the things I’ve noticed in this round is that most of the ‘stars’ have been well held. One season in, and Vescio, Hope, Perkins etc have been mugged and bullied and are unable to do what they did so well. Midfielders are having more luck and injuries are telling. Before season ones and now the ‘too many’ we have all to manage over this season.

    Hopefully, Adelaide will collect themselves but I think their season may be cooked. They are just a shadow of their 2017 selves. Even Coach Bec Goddard seems deflated.

  2. Mark 'Swish' Schwerdt says

    I was there Ron, at least you got a coffee. Well summed up.

    I’d predicted a 30 point loss, but at 1/4 time I thought that our defence had held up well considering the gale that was blowing to the right of screen.

    Melbourne were superb in the second, Adelaide less so. We wouldn’t have beaten them if we had three of Erin Phillips. Crows just had no zip and were seldom first to the ball.

    It was the same old names in the BPs, but I liked the work of Sarah Allan, she’s a good ‘un.

    The seven week season doesn’t help anyone especially without an extra week of finals as you can now rule a line through three or four teams already.

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