I Barrack for the Dees

 

Yeah, you read it right. I’m a Demons man. Why wouldn’t I be? I can damn well barrack for whoever I want. Hell, don’t forget, at one point Hawthorn made a vain attempt to hitch its wagon to the oldest football team in the known universe. If it had been successful I would have been a Melbourne Hawk in 1997.

 

Twenty years on from that fateful moment I have decided to renounce my allegiance to the mighty Hawks and … WTF … have the Russians raided my emails as well … I’m not quitting the Hawks (to quote Beyonce, “a winner don’t quit on themselves”). Shut down that silly notion right now.

 

For the record (and the Russians listening in) for the 2017 AFL season I will be wearing the brown and gold proudly. With the same pride that I wore it though high times and our most meagre years. Like any club, in the last 50 years there have been tough times. Four or five years in fact. 2004 and 2005 and ‘95 and ’97. Oh, and 1965. As I said, some tough times sprinkled among the decades of highs.

 

But this year I’m gonna barrack for Melbourne in the inaugural AFL Women’s Football League. It wasn’t a hard decision at all. As soon as I knew the Hawks weren’t fielding a team it wasn’t even a matter of looking across the eight teams that will make up the 2017 competition. I had my team. And I picked it the way any kid would. Because my favourite player, Daisy Pearce, plays for Melbourne.

 

Daisy plays for the Darebin Falcons, and due to chance and coincidence I know a little bit about the Falcons. I haven’t seen Daisy play for the Dees (except for on telly) but I have watched her play numerous times for the Falcons. You only need to watch her once or twice to understand what a brilliant player she is. She makes the game look effortless. She reads the ball so well that while other players are exerting the extent of their energy and grunt and skill Daisy waits for the exact moment to make the exact connection to set up the exact play that will best benefit her team. I’ve seen her do this across the ground, in defence, setting up an attack and going for goal. She is sublime. The consummate athlete. The development of the game called Aussie Rules is indebted to many great players and Daisy is one of the greats.

 

If the AFL Women’s Football League had kicked off three years earlier we would have witnessed Daisy at 25 years old playing the game at the highest level through the best years of her career. We will still get two to four years so mustn’t grumble. And we will see her tested by the best. As you know when the best are tested (Ablett, Dangerfield, Hodge etc) we see them rise to another level. This is what Daisy brings to 2017. Her record and awards at local, state and national level are beyond impressive. She captained the Victorian U19s side back in 2007. She played in the EJ Whitten charity match and Martin Flanagan wrote about her that same year. In 2016 she was named AFL Football Woman of the Year joining elite company of Peta Searle and Jan Cooper.

 

And here we are in 2017 with the AFL finally set to run a national Women’s Aussie Rules comp. Eight teams, four from Victoria, will battle it out across seven rounds, culminating in a Grand Final, from early February to late March.

 

The Demons have an impressive line-up. Daisy is joined by five other Falcons players, including Mel Hickey and basketballer, Lauren Pearce (no relation). The Footy Almanac, mainly through Callum O’Connor has been a key news-organ in the last few years reporting on the growth of the game and the best it has produced. In the following links you can read about Dees players Callum has profiled:

 

Pepa Randall

 

and

 

Maddie Boyd

 

It is the Dees youth that really stands out. Half a dozen of the team are barely 20 but each of these players were either captain or lead player in state, metro and regional squads. There will be plenty of run through the midfield, with the Falcons oldies providing a tough backline and Daisy commanding the troops across the field. True to a good team there are oddities as well. Melbourne have drawn players from other codes including basketball, soccer and um, Ultimate Frisbee.

 

There is also legacy lines. Laura Duryea hails from Ireland (her nickname is, of course, Irish) and is all too aware of Ireland’s relationship with the Dees, especially through Jim Stynes. Then there is Harriet Cordner (the eighth of the family to pull on a Melbourne guernsey). Her grandfather, Don Cordner is one of Melbourne’s greats, winning the Brownlow in 1946.

 

The coaching team is not too shabby. Mick Stinear hold the reins. Stinear will report to and be supported by the legendary Debbie Lee in her role as Women’s Football Operations Manager. Together they are expected to create a culture of high performance over the next three years as the Melbourne Women’s AFL team builds from the first list (draft) into a powerhouse of this exciting competition.

 

There are plenty of players across the eight teams who will bring the excitement. There are many players (from other states) that I am going to learn about real fast. But one player stands above them. From Round 1, on 5 Feb when the Dees take on the Brisbane Lions at Casey Fields, have your eyes glued to Melbourne’s captain, number 6, Daisy Pearce. A natural leader, whose game is co-piloted by instinct and knowledge, she is nimble and hard at the ball, skilful and graceful, and backs teamwork above the individual. Daisy is the complete package. You’ve got to love someone who when asked in a The Saturday Paper interview, why she plays the game, says, “Because it’s such a great sport”. And I’m gonna barrack for the Dees because Daisy is such a great sport.

 

exchange

 

Note from John Harms and Yvette Wroby:

 

We will be covering all of the women’s games here at www.footyalmanac.com.au with a view to compiling The Women’s Footy Almanac 2017. The project is being driven by Yvette Wroby. If you would like to write a match report on one (or more) of the women’s games please contact Yvette by email.

 

Here’s some more information on The Women’s Footy Almanac 2017.

 

 

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About Rick Kane

Up in the mornin', out on the job Work like the devil for my pay But that lucky old sun has nothin' to do But roll around Heaven all day

Comments

  1. Yvette Wroby says:

    Hi Rick, love the enthusiasm and of course, love the great Daisy Pearce. Melbourne also has gun St Kilda Shark players Meg Downey and Mia Ray-Clifford, so it’s quite a good team. My St Kilda Sharks are spread far and wide, GWS (Phoebe McWilliams), Collingwood (Moana Hope, Penny Cula-Reid, Jasmine Garner and Brittani Bonnicci, Carlton has Brianna Davies, Tilly Lucas-Rodd and Alison Brown and the Bulldogs has Sharks players Rebecca Neaves, Jess Gardner and Laura Bailey. It is terrific to know some of the women before the first bounce. So even though I am a Doggies member for 2017 Women’s AFL, I’ll be supporting the red, white and black throughout!

    Keep on writing. Excellent stuff

  2. Andrew Starkie says:

    Because Hawthorn’s house of cards has collapsed. As I said it would.

  3. Like you Rick I’m looking forward to the AFL Women’s Football League. Should be fun. From what I gather the Dees will be as good as any side.

    Also anticipating the reports on here too!

  4. I’ll be in Melbourne for Fremantle’s first game.

    That night I’m going to a performance of the rock and roll music.

  5. While I am not aDees supporter it’s thrilling to hear that a Cordner is pulling on the jumper of the Red and the Blue and keeping the dynasty alive . For the first time in my life it looks like I will be a “Theater goer ” until Geelong get a licence in the big league .Its a shame that I have to let theSt Kilda sharks go this season now the cats are in the women’s VFL but will always have a soft spot for the “Sharkies” feb 3 just can’t arrive quick enough More Footy Hooray !!!

  6. Rick Kane says:

    Practice match tomorrow morning at Princes Park, 10.30 against the Blues. See you there.

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